Ausome Team

The Ausome Team

Liisa Vexler
Executive Director

Liisa is the co-founder of Ausome and has been executive director since its inception in 2015.

Prior to Ausome, she spent 15 years working in health research and communications. Liisa has a B.Ed. in physical education and an M.A. in exercise physiology. When not watching her kids play one sport or another, Liisa enjoys practicing yoga, running, reading or planning her family’s next adventure.


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Anna Whyte
Director of Operations & Training

Anna is a caring, energetic, skilled, autism behaviour therapist with years of clinical intervention experience.

Since her youth, she has been involved with children, either babysitting, coaching, camp counselling, or volunteering around the world. Her passion to see children meet their full potential is the foundation for Anna’s involvement with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Recently, she saw a need to expand her role beyond the clinical environment, and is currently providing a service to support children in various community settings.


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Julia Albert
Director of Communications

Julia is a freelance graphic designer, former teacher, and mom of 3 kids and two feline fur-babies.

With first-hand experience dealing with autism and sport (her eldest is on the spectrum and loves most athletic endeavours — especially hockey), Julia embraced the opportunity to join the Ausome team in the spring of 2016. Between taking kids to tennis, hockey, skiing, parkour, and more, Julia likes going to her Body Pump class, reading, meditating, cooking (to loud & cheesy dance tunes), being outside, and doing design jobs around the house.


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Alix Alldridge
Director of Programs

Alix has been apart of our Ausome Ottawa Team from the beginning. She started out as an Ausome Volunteer, supporting the children and the volunteers during every event.

Her understanding and encouragement of our Ausome kids helped her advance to one of our Program Directors over the last year. She brings with her 9 years of experience working with children with Autism in clinics, at home and in schools. Her dedication to our programs along with her energy and enthusiasm for each child is demonstrated at all of our events. Alix is looking forward to meeting each child and watching them grow and succeed within our programs!


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Allison Sadowski
Director of Community Engagement and Business Development

As a lifelong volunteer and fundraiser, Allison is passionate about building strong and engaged communities 

 She has come a long way since elementary school bake sale fundraisers – but her mission continues as she helps organizations raise much-needed funds to ensure the world is a better place! She joins from working with health charities where she recruited, cultivated and stewarded relationships with new and existing community donors, volunteers and sponsors. Allison believes every dollar can make positive changes in the lives of others. Outside of the office you will find her hanging out with family and friends, reading, and almost always drinking tea. 


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Anya Pelot
Program & Volunteer Coordinator

Along with her radiant personality, Anya brings a wealth of experience — including 8 years of dance studio administration in addition to several more as a dance instructor and dancer.

She has a keen interest in working with children with autism, and has experience working as a behavioural instructor therapist in a clinical setting. Anya believes that every child should have an equal opportunity to learn, play and grow, and feels honoured to be part of each child’s journey through Ausome programs!


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Rebecca Kaell
Volunteer Manager

Rebecca is a passionate and caring educator who has been lucky enough to work in the fields of education and volunteer management  over the past 10 years.

She first got involved with Ausome Ottawa as a volunteer in 2016 and transitioned into the volunteer manager role in 2018. She has enjoyed every moment of her experience with Ausome and loves encouraging each athlete to reach their full potential. Rebecca is a certified teacher and divides her time between teaching at OCDSB schools and working at Ausome. When she is not working, she loves to travel, read, play sports and stay active outdoors with her puppy. Rebecca is looking forward to welcoming each wonderful volunteer to our Ausome volunteer team!


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Rachelle Jessome
Program Supervisor

Rachelle first got involved with Ausome as a volunteer in 2016 while completing the post-graduate certificate in Autism and Behavioural Sciences at Algonquin College.

She has always worked with children in various settings and truly believes that every child can accomplish their full potential given the proper support and resources. Originally from Saskatchewan, Rachelle transferred to the University of Ottawa in 2011 to complete her B.A with specialization in psychology and linguistics. Rachelle currently works as an Instructor Therapist in a center that provides ABA/IBI services to children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and tutors students with various learning difficulties during her evenings. When she is not working Rachelle loves staying active by playing various sports and discovering new hiking trails in the surrounding areas or she’s planning her next travelling adventure.


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Kayla Garvey
Senior Support Staff

Kayla is studying Biomedical Sciences at the University of Ottawa and is on a journey to becoming a pediatric surgeon.

She played and coached competitive basketball for many years and is a certified Level 1 basketball coach with the National Coaching Certification Program. Kayla is caring, full of energy and passionate about children. She believes that every child deserves the same opportunities; that is what has driven her commitment to Ausome Ottawa since we first opened our doors.


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Alannah Webber
Senior Support Staff

Alannah was first connected with Ausome Ottawa though her placement as an Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy Assistant student in March, 2018.

She loved the experience of pairing and working with children, and was thrilled to joined the Ausome team with their programs and summer camps. A Carleton grad and a current Algonquin College student, Alannah hopes to one day work with children as an Occupational Therapist. Alannah is passionate about helping children reach their goals and build their confidence, and having fun! When she’s not studying or working, Alannah likes hiking, singing in the car (badly & loudly), baking, and adventuring!


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Alyssa Gaerke
Senior Support Staff

Alyssa, a Biochemistry student at the University of Ottawa, started volunteering with Ausome in May 2017. She enjoys sports and plays ultimate frisbee

 and ringette. She has also been known to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the clarinet. Alyssa loves Ausome because it is a place where the kids feel confident, comfortable and have a great time playing sports with others.  She loves seeing those qualities shine through every week.


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C.C. Van Aert
Program Support

 C.C. (formally known as Selena) is currently a student at the University of Ottawa. She loves working with kids, which is why her career goal is to become a teacher.  

 C.C. was a professional figure skater with Disney On Ice for three years. Now, she is pursuing coaching to continue her involvement in skating. Other than being on the ice, she really enjoys rock climbing, running, yoga, and ballet. C.C. began volunteering with Ausome in January of 2019. She thoroughly enjoyed playing sports with her Ausome buddies during Summer Camp, and she can’t wait to hang out with new and old friends during the sports programs this fall! 


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Elena Arambasic
Program Support

Elena is a Carleton University student studying Health Science with hopes to one day have a career that incorporates her love for childcare into her field of study.

 She enjoys playing and coaching volleyball as well as occasionally refereeing after completing her referee training last spring. Elena was introduced to ausome last summer for our summer camp and absolutely loved it. She is passionate about children and enjoys seeing their personality’s shine through as they become more confident and successful each week. 


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George Liu
Program Support

George joined Ausome as a volunteer when he heard a presentation at the University of Ottawa. He jumped on the opportunity

 to connect with children and youth with autism  through sports. He believes that sports play a major role in the development of self-confidence, work ethic and team building skills. He is currently studying Biomedical Science at the University of Ottawa.


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Vanessa Levy
Program Support

 Vanessa is a Biology and Psychology student at the University of Ottawa and wants to pursue

 a career in neuropsychology. She found out about Ausome through the university’s Community Service Learning  and fell in love with the program through volunteering. Vanessa enjoys working and bonding with children on the autism spectrum. She also volunteers as a first responder with University of Ottawa Student Emergency Response Team. She loves to read and play musical instruments whenever she has time. 


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Want to join our Ausome Board?

Yay, we want to hear from you! Ausome Ottawa is always looking for energetic, committed members who believe in sport and recreation for all.

To learn more, send us a quick message.

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Our Ausome Board of Directors

Nicole Dauz
Co-Chair

Nicole is a mother of two beautiful children, entrepreneur and advocate for special needs families.
Her daughter Summer

has a rare disease SYNGAP1 and an Autism diagnosis.

Nicole has been a member of the Ausome Board since 2017 and is proud to be part of an organization that offers recreational programs to kids with autism – regardless of their abilities.

She has previously volunteered with the not-for-profit organizations Breast Cancer Action, the Kanata Youth Basketball Association and the Katimavik Co-operative Nursery School.

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Katherine Kacew
Co-Chair

For over 15 years Katherine has worked as a Director in various Montessori schools in the Ottawa area and abroad.

She graduated from Algonquin College with her diploma in Early Childhood Education (ECE) in 1998 and, in the following year, completed her international AMI Montessori Diploma in London, UK. Katherine then taught in England and the US before returning to Ottawa where she taught Montessori Casa while completing a B.A. in Sociology at Carleton University. The following year, in 2004, she co-founded and ran an AMI Montessori school in Barrhaven where she taught in the bilingual Casa Program. She closed the school in 2010 to focus on raising her own children. Currently, Katherine continues to enjoy her family time while teaching at OMS Montessori School and serving on the Board of the Montessori Society of Canada.
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Shannon Glenn
Secretary

Shannon is the mother of a beautiful, brave and fun-loving boy on the spectrum, as well as a long-time civil servant working on

economic issues.

Currently working in government relations for a bank dedicated to serving entrepreneurs, earlier responsibilities in government have included science and technology and innovation policy, automotive industrial support, as well as climate change and clean air, serving in three economic departments and the Privy Council Office. Prior to joining government, Shannon was a Senior Manager at Deloitte, working on environmental risk management with clients in the resources and financial sectors. She has enjoyed contributing to Boards for organizations dedicated to water management, sustainable transportation and conservation.

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Trina Watters

Trina, a 2012 Carleton graduate, is a practicing CPA designated accountant and registered yoga teacher.

Sports have played a significant role in her life both as an athlete and a supporting fan. When not in the office or studio, you can find her either in the pool, on the bike or out for a run with her eyes set on becoming an Ironman.

She strives for balance not only on the books but in every aspect of her life, believing that an active lifestyle supported by a resilient sense of humour can truly endure all.

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Tori Hammond

Tori is a professional actor and voice artist working in Canadian television, film, theatre and radio for over 25 years.

She is also a musician in Ottawa funk/r+b band “Nobody’s Fool.”

Being an actor, she’s also juggled a wide variety of jobs, including having worked at Bruce House in a fundraising/event planning position; on the Wakefield Steam Train tourist attraction as a banjo-playing entertainer; reception and administrative positions, and as a Standardized Patient for both the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Medical Council of Canada.

Tori has a wonderful, curious 10 year old son on the spectrum. As a community advocate, she often meets with newly-diagnosed families to offer support, as well as guidance on how to navigate the system.

She is thrilled to be a part of the Ausome board and looks forward to a year of amazing new initiatives and opportunities for the Ottawa autism community.

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Julie McIsaac

Julie McIsaac is a child development specialist with an interest in joining children and parents to problem solve and connect through play.

She has a Masters degree from Tufts University and is completing her PhD in Infant and Child Development. Certified in the DIR/Floortime relationship-based framework, Julie has found that her most meaningful work is supporting parents to better connect with their children. Julie enjoys exploring Ottawau2019s parks and playgrounds with her three active boys and values the power of sport and exercise for the whole family. Julie has watched her sonu2019s confidence, skill and enjoyment of sport soar as heu2019s able to access sport, feel supported with social and to feel a sense that he belongs. Julie is very proud to support Ausome Ottawa.
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Todd Luckasavitch

Todd is an executive level Human Resources leader with over 23 years of experience in all facets of HR in both the private, public and

not-for-profit sector.

Todd has a B.A. in Economics from Carleton University and a B.Comm. from Ryerson University in Human Resource. His experience spans across recruitment system and process design, succession planning, career and leadership development, compensation, as well as organization design and change management. Todd has strong leadership experience having managed numerous large-scale HR programs, initiatives and system related projects at a country and global level. He is currently the General Manager of Business Sherpa Group, a business management solutions firm that brings together virtualized resources and teams to support Small and Mid-sized Enterprises.

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Katie Russell

With a background in research and fundraising in the non-profit sector, Katie Russell believes in inclusive communities that

allow for the full development of all children. As a parent with four children, Katie also knows that achieving that full development begins at home with a loving, supportive family environment for children on the autism spectrum. A vital link between support at home and support in the community are organizations that can work with families, educational and health professionals as well as policymakers to build programs and support initiatives that focus on the child and their future.
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Tina Hill

When she’s not driving her kids to one sporting activity or another, Tina Hill works as a litigation lawyer at Greenspon Granger Hill.

She started practicing law in 2002, after obtaining a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in Psychology from Carleton University and an LLB from Queen’s University. Prior to her current position, she worked as a mediator/arbitrator from 2012 to 2016 and as a litigation associate at a national firm from 2002 to 2012. Tina believes in giving back to the community. She has volunteered for several organizations in Ottawa, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Distress Centre, the Mission and Pro Bono Law (as a volunteer mediator).
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Eddie Edward

Eddie is a family oriented, former professional soccer player that is born and raised in Ottawa.
Over the course of his professional

soccer career, Eddie was fortunate enough to travel to many places across the world. Finishing his career at home with the Ottawa Fury, one thing that was important to Eddie was to give back to the community that raised him. Recently retired, Eddie continues to stay passionate with youth engagement and sport. Eddie added “with Ausome, I always thought the kids were supposed to learn from me when in essence, I always learn from them”.

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Paul Sammut

Paul is a Senior Manager in KPMG’s Risk Consulting practice, based in Ottawa, working with a range of clients including the Tech sector,

Crown Corporations and Non-Profit organizations.
Paul moved to Canada with his family in 2018 as part of a global transfer. Paul has previously volunteered for organizations such as the Brownlee Foundation in the UK, helping to enable school children to take part in mini-triathlons.
Paul’s passions include music, cycling, snowboarding and soccer, whilst also learning to like ice hockey.
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Brian Beehler

Brian is a Digital Communications Specialist for Canadian Blood Service, based in Ottawa, using his expertise to design

and develop new digital communication mediums for the organization. Brian has lived in Ottawa all his life and has been part of the sporting community for the past 30 years. Brian is a volunteer baseball coach for the Ottawa Knights Baseball Club where he leads the 14U AAA club. When not coaching he enjoys spending just as much time with his two fabulous kids!
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