YOUNG PROFESSIONALS BOARD
Audra’s life drastically changed when her mom was diagnosed with young-onset Alzheimer’s in 2018 at age 56. When the diagnosis hit, her family felt like there was nowhere to turn, that no one truly understood the pain and complications of a diagnosis at such a young age. Since then, Audra has made it her life goal to spread awareness and find resources for other families that struggle silently. She is currently working in IT for a Civil Engineering Firm and caring for her mom a few days a week. Audra is also involved with a Maryland-based non-profit, YES (Young-Onset Dementia Education & Support), and has found a platform to share her storywith her mom on TikTok (@audpod06).
Atzin Villarreal Sosa is a law student at Duke University School of Law. Prior to law school, Atzin attended Williams College and worked at M&T Bank in Buffalo, NY. After law school, Atzin plans to return to Chicago to start his career. Outside of school Atzin is a big fan of the Chicago Bulls, Chicago White Sox, Buffalo Bills, and Star Wars. He also enjoys politics and sports podcasts and collects Star Wars Lego sets.
Curious and creative by nature, Ayal is driven by his fascination of solving meaningful problems through communication, collaboration, and design thinking. His degree in Cognitive Science from McGill University has led him to a wide range of work experience within healthcare, nonprofits, and other industries. Having been a caretaker in his early 20s, Ayal has a profound reverence for the practice of showing up and choosing to love in the face of illness and loss.
Becca has several professional pursuits including dance, teaching fitness, sales, and serving as the Young Professionals Outreach Coordinator at Lorenzo’s House. She studied Dance and Communication at the University of Arizona and has since traveled the world performing. When Becca’s Uncle Lorenzo was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s and Lorenzo’s House was created, she knew she needed to get involved in any way she could. She hopes that the Young Professionals Board will help advance the overall mission and give families with a younger-onset diagnosis a place to call home.
Lorenzo’s House holds a place near-and-dear to Brian’s heart, as his father has early onset. Brian hopes to further Lorenzo’s House’s mission and improve the lives of those impacted by Alzheimer’s and dementia diagnoses. Brian is a corporate attorney in New York City. He received his law degree from Boston University School of Law and his undergraduate degree in business from Butler University’s Lacy School of Business. In his free-time, Brian enjoys playing and watching sports, being outdoors, reading and spending time with friends and family. Lorenzo’s House holds a place near-and-dear to Brian’s heart, as his father has early onset. Brian is a corporate attorney in New York City, having received his law degree from Boston University School of Law.
Casey Pax is an art therapist who graduated from the School of the Art Institute in 2019. She has worked as a full-time art therapist at the Mather, a life plan community in Evanston Illinois for the last three years. Not only has she been driven to provide art-based programming to process grief and loss, diagnosis, and build community, she also has experience working as a caregiver for multiple families navigating diagnosis and support in their homes, witnessing the impact of diagnosis on families first hand. Working across all levels of the aging continuum, her passion lies in advocating alongside families and older adults experiencing dementia, grief, and existential concerns. She strongly feels that through compassion, and a strengths-based approach, we can support older adults in living a creative and empowered life especially in the face of change. Casey is currently making the transition into private practice work in hopes of further supporting families and caregivers as they navigate diagnosis and provide art-based engagement and strategies for communication and connection.
Constance M. Brasher is a healthcare professional with nearly 15 years of experience and work with older adults in a multitude of settings, including adult day service, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing facilities, and adult psychiatric hospitals. Her training and specialized skills are in Therapeutic Recreation, operations management, activity consultation, and dementia care training and consulting. Constance’s primary mission is to serve from a place of passion and dedication, ensuring that high quality person-centered care is the foundation of the work that supports all she serves. Constance received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from The University of Illinois at Chicago and a Master’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation from The University of Iowa. In addition, Constance is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP), and a Certified Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Trainer (CADDCT).
My name is Elizabeth and I am a Neuroendovascular Surgery/Stroke Nurse Practitioner and Nursing PhD candidate at Emory University. As a clinician-researcher, my passion is integrating the best scientific evidence and clinical expertise to improve the lives of patients and families navigating neurological conditions. My doctoral work focuses on adolescents' experiences of parental young-onset dementia, including their involvement in caregiving and how their experiences shape their developing self-identity. I was first introduced to Lorenzo’s House by a parent whose teenager participated in my study, and I am honored to have the opportunity to serve this community alongside them. When I am not seeing patients or working on my research, I enjoy going to Orange Theory, trying new recipes, and spending quality time with friends and family.
Erica Steiner became her mom Robin’s sole, full time caregiver following the unexpected passing of her dad in 2020. Since then, Erica has documented their dementia journey to educate, entertain and help others learn how to tackle a terrible disease with lightheartedness and humor. Through caregiving webinars and her TikTok account, @badasscaregiver, Erica supports other caregivers by showing them how to laugh their way through dementia.
Eric was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs and now lives in Chicago and works at a law firm as a banking and financial services attorney. Eric attended law school at the University of Illinois College of Law and before that he received his bachelor's degree in International Relations at Michigan State University. When he's not working, Eric enjoys biking, running, hiking and pretty much anything you can do outdoors, and is a big Cubs and Michigan State Spartan sports fan. Lorenzo's House is a special cause for Eric as his father, Michael, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's and he hopes to help Lorenzo's House cultivate a space for and bring light to other individuals with loved ones suffering from Alzheimer's and dementia.
Giovanna Manson-Hing BSPH, MAG, CDP is a Certified Dementia Practitioner and currently works as the Deputy Director at the Youth Movement Against Alzheimer’s (YMAA). She is an aspiring dementia expert with nearly a decade of professional caregiving experience assisting hundreds of older adults with activities of daily living in the comfort of their homes. Giovanna finds joy in intergenerational connections and in improving the health and well-being of everyone around her. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Health from California State University of Los Angeles (CSULA) and her Master’s in Gerontology from the University of Southern California (USC). Constance received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from The University of Illinois at Chicago and a Master’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation from The University of Iowa. In addition, Constance is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP), and a Certified Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Trainer (CADDCT).
Luis Cordero graduated from Davidson College, obtaining his B.S with Honors in Neuroscience with a minor in Gender & Sexuality Studies. From a young age, he was the primary caregiver to his late mother, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia and later with early-onset Alzheimer's Disease. His grandmother was also diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease soon after he left for college. Both of these experiences fueled his passion for understanding innovative models of care and accessibility. He is currently pursuing a Watson Fellowship before returning to America, where he travels to different countries to learn about different models of care. He hopes to gain an international perspective on eldercare in the hopes of reimaging the care systems put in place to provide more dignified care. Upon returning to America, he will conduct clinical research on Alzheimer's Disease. During his free time, Luis enjoys baking banana bread or working out.
My name is Patti and I had the opportunity to be the care partner for my Mom, Linda. We were meant to be. She adopted me when I was a baby and I have had the amazing opportunity to care for her as she lived with dementia and type 1 diabetes. I cared for her full time for 3 years in my home and my goal was to find joy every day as her care partner. It is a true partnership between us and you could find us creating, singing, laughing and loving together every day! My background is in Elementary Education and I was a Kindergarten teacher for the last 9 years. My true understanding that behavior is communication allows me to maintain patience and love with my Mom as we navigated this disease. In addition, I have had many opportunities over the last couple years as my Mom’s care partner to share my story and have recently started volunteering for the Alzheimer’s association and Dementia friends doing community outreach. I also run a monthly informal support group for Young Caregivers of Loved Ones with dementia on Facebook and am a fan of connecting with other care partners. I am excited for the opportunity to be part of the Young Professionals Board!