Today, 47 million people live with a dementia. That number is set to double by 2030 and triple by 2050. These staggering numbers are exactly why educating the public about Alzheimer’s is so important, and why it’s such a crucial part of Purple Elephant’s mission.
What began as a teenage promise to her grandmother to help others be kinder to older people led to a career spanning 35 years as a healthcare executive. Gloria’s extensive background in health policy, administration and managem ent is focused primarily on care of older adults with multiple, complex problems particularly those individuals compromised by dementia. She is known for her strong leadership, creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit in the development of specialized geriatric services in a variety of institutional and community settings. Her innovation was a key factor in the design of the world’s first elder abuse strategy. She has a proven track record in leading large-scale projects focused on health system changes. Fascinated by the enormous potential of information and communication technologies she launched two knowledge-sharing platforms for healthcare professionals. The effect of these platforms was to help professionals collaborate, leverage collective experiences in order to create more effective and efficient solutions faster. Currently, Gloria serves as CEO for Ewart Angus Homes Incorporated which includes Cedarhurst a small alternative housing setting specializing in the care of people with dementia.
Renee (Crosbie) McGrady’s aim, both professionally and personally, is to lend a helping hand to others. For the past five years, Renee has worked in the not-for-profit sector. Currently a manager with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario, she leads a team who provide program support to incoming students. Renee takes a hands-on approach to serving students and strives to help them with the same kindness, respect, and attentiveness she would extend family and friends.
Renee became involved in the fight against Alzheimer's disease after spending five years as a young caregiver to her late father, Grant Crosbie. In his honour, Renee and her mother recently celebrated the opening of The D. Grant Crosbie Family Lounge in Support of Caregivers at the new Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital, a space specifically designed for families faced with this disease. This year, Renee and her husband are expecting their first child and they both hope he will grow up in a world where Alzheimer’s is a thing of the past.
Aras Azadian is a Corporate Development professional and entrepreneur with experience in a variety of industries, but specializing in Healthcare.
Aras' unique experience has included leadership roles as a corporate development director, president, and serving as a board member. Aras leads international corporate development, and capital markets for Panacea Global Inc., a Biotechnology company focused on diagnosis products in oncology. He is responsible for the commercialization of a novel Cancer diagnostics technology, in addition to the management of the company's capital markets route. Aras was a part of the founding team for Purple Elephant, where he was and continues to be instrumental in the development of the organization's operations and strategy. Aras has a bachelor’s degree in economics from York University and an MBA from EADA Business School in Barcelona, Spain.
Kathy has been in the communications field for almost a decade, having worked with companies in the tech, food and non-profit industries. Throughout her professional career, various multinational brands have trusted her to tell their stories. She has achieved this through her entrepreneurial spirit, strong collaborative ability and empathy for her clients.
She is currently at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies and is responsible for the day-to-day management of the School’s marketing and communication operations, projects and initiatives. Most recently, she has served as the PR Manager at TVO, with eight years at PR agencies preceding that role. Kathy has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Toronto and a Postgraduate PR Certificate from Humber College.
Alzheimer’s disease had an impact in her teenage years on a personal level, and as such was drawn to volunteering for Purple Elephant to be able to help tell its story to the world.
Andrew has over 10 years of experience in the public sector, working at the city, regional, provincial and federal levels of government. Andrew has held a variety of roles where he has honed his policy development and project management skills. Andrew is currently working in the Ministry of Community and Social Services and Ministry of Children and Youth Services, where he specializes in organizational development, health, and excellence. Andrew has his Masters in Public Policy and Administration (MPPA).
Andrew has been a long supporter of Alzheimer’s research. Andrew watched as both his grandparents suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and witnessed its effects first hand on family and friends.
Derek currently works as the Policy Analyst for the Toronto Public Library system where he is responsible for handling the corporate policy needs of the organization including those in finance and human resources. A lawyer by training, Derek has served previously on the boards of two community legal aid clinics. Apart from the Library, Derek has worked at eight different public service positions at the provincial and federal levels including articling at the Superior Court of Justice, mediation at the Ontario Human Rights Commission and policy analysis at the Ministry of Education where he specialized in school board governance. A member of Maytree’s “DiversCity OnBoard” program, Derek is obtaining a Business Foundation certificate from Wharton online. In addition to a law degree and a certificate in public policy from the University of Victoria, Derek obtained his BA from Queen’s University in Political Studies. Derek was drawn to volunteering for the Purple Elephant as a result of the impact Alzheimer’s disease has had on his extended family.
Haley is a Masters of Health Administration student at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation. While continuing her studies, Haley has had the opportunity to create a primary care market entry strategy for Think Research, a private health care IT organization and worked with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in developing policy and operations in their Primary Care Branch. She has significant experience building client relations and working in a leadership role in the health care field.
Haley has worked in both the private and public sector of health care ranging from client relations to leadership roles. She has worked extensively within healthcare on program planning, communications, and quality improvement initiatives. She has volunteered her time with the United Way and with building leaders of tomorrow through the Moonshot event planning committee and her membership with Emerging Health Leaders. She has dedicated her time to improving our health care system for our aging population.
Angelo Della Rossa
Angelo Della Rossa is a business professional and entrepreneur with experience in both Finance and Operational Management.
He holds both CPA (CGA) and CTP designations. In 2010, he also completed a MBA from Laurentian University. He has worked in a number of industries including Architecture, Real Estate, Construction, Property Management and Healthcare Services.
He has held various senior finance roles such as Controller and Director of Finance, and he is currently the CFO of RN Design. Having worked for both public and private companies, he draws on his many experiences to provide financial guidance and operational management impact at the strategic levels.
Angelo has seen the impact of Alzheimer’s disease first hand while working for a retirement home operator and within his extended family. He is driven to help close the gap in both the stigma of Alzheimer’s and how family members support loved ones when affected by the disease.
With more than nine years of experience in the healthcare sector, Caitlin has proven leadership in advocacy, community outreach, and the design and development of innovative programs for the aging population. Caitlin believes in technology-based solutions and products that support memory and aging.
As an advocate and speaker for people living with Alzheimer Disease, she continues to build her knowledge on the latest brain health research advances across the globe. Over the past 3 years, Caitlin founded Purple Elephant, a nonprofit organization whose two-fold mission includes changing the way young people think about Alzheimer Disease on a global scale; and developing an innovative approach for the delivery of in-home caregiving relief for young people whose lives have been impacted while caring for their loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.
Caitlin is also Project Manager for Cogniciti Inc., a for-profit joint venture between Baycrest, the world’s healthcare leader in the study of memory and aging, and MaRS, Canada’s premiere innovation center. In this role, she leverages her collective expertise to bring science-based brain health solutions to people, businesses, and governments around the world. While working with Cogniciti she has helped to build the World’s First Online Brain Health Assessment and is currently working on building North America’s biggest Brain Health Registry to help advance volunteer recruitment around the globe.
Dr. Ivonne Suridjan
Dr. Ivonne Suridjan is a neuroscientist and a member of interdisciplinary biomarker discovery team at the Hurvitz Brain Sciences Program at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center. At Sunnybrook, she is working with thought leaders in dementia to develop and implement strategic research plans that optimize early diagnosis and treatment of cognitive disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Ivonne receives her PhD from the Institute of Medical Science at University of Toronto in November 2014. Her work has focused on the discovery and development of biomarkers that allow early detection of abnormal changes in the brain, which typically occur long before symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease become noticeable. She conducted the first brain imaging study in Canada that used a novel imaging molecule to visualize and quantify brain inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease. The findings from this seminal work was published in the journal of Molecular Psychiatry, the #1 highest impact journal in Psychiatry. She has won numerous research awards including the prestigious CIHR Charles Best and Banting Award and research grants from the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada and the Weston Brain Institute.
Within the last 5 years, she has authored 29 peer reviewed publications including 13 original articles in top peer-reviewed journals. She has been invited to speak in numerous scientific meetings and conferences attended by thought leaders in Neurology and Psychiatry. In her capacity as a clinical researcher, she enjoys interacting and providing educational and emotional support to patients with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. She is excited to be working with Purple Elephant, which shares her passion and interest in promoting brain health through education and community engagement.