Ausome People

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 Programs & 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 squash, 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 Milk
Camp & Program Director

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
Ausome 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 and Program Lead

Rebecca is a passionate, caring, energetic educator who has been working with children for over 15 years in educational and recreational settings.

She first got involved with Ausome Ottawa as a volunteer in late 2016 and has enjoyed every moment of her experience. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to now be working with this organization. Rebecca is a certified teacher and divides her time between teaching at OCDSB schools and working as a program manager at a local charity. When she is not working she loves to spend her time travelling, reading, playing sports and staying active in the outdoors. Rebecca is looking forward to meeting each child and assisting them to reach their true Ausome potential!


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Rachelle Jessome
Program Director

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
Program Lead

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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Ben Madore
Program Support

Ben is a Georgian College grad working in the electrical utility industry. Ben joined the Ausome team as a volunteer in 2017and fell in love with the program.

Ben has 5 years experience with working with children in a variety of age groups. He believes sports are crucial in development in children’s character. He is passionate about sports and giving every child the opportunity to compete, have fun and improve on their skills!


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Alyssa Gaerke
Program Support

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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Alannah Webber
Program Support

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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Sarah Parks
Program Support

Sarah is a licensed children’s attorney and former educator. She first became involved with Ausome when she volunteered with the Ottawa Titans to assist Ausome with the waterpolo program.

 Since then she has been staff for PD days and has continued to volunteer with the waterpolo program. She and her family moved to Ottawa in 2014 and has two teenagers; one of whom has been diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Sarah’s other interests include swimming, running and traveling. 


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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

Nicole is a mother of two beautiful children, communications expert, entrepreneur, wife and advocate for special needs families.

Her daughter Summer has a rare disease SYNGAP1 and is on the autism spectrum.

Nicole has volunteered with the not-for-profit organizations Breast Cancer Action and Kanata Youth Basketball Association; and has been a member of the board of directors for the Katimavik Co-operative Nursery School and the Kanata Hockey Minor Association.

Part of her parenting philosophy is to focus on what Summer does well – Summer loves gymnastics, basketball and swimming and therefore Nicole is excited to be part of an organization that promotes growth through activities.

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Katherine Kacew

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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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 Ottawa’s parks and playgrounds with her three active boys and values the power of sport and exercise for the whole family. Julie has watched her son’s confidence, skill and enjoyment of sport soar as he’s 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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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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Anne Jovanovic

Anne, mom and step-mom to two beautiful boys, is a a federal public servant as well as a staunch advocate for special needs families.

Her son, Mica, has a diagnosis of severe autism, is functionally non-verbal, and successfully attends public school full-time in an integrated and supportive setting, plays piano and loves to play soccer and swim.

Her expertise in governance and political economy was honed through postgraduate studies at London School of Economics. Anne is excited to be part of an organization focused on enabling kids in accessing much-needed sports. She is committed to enabling access for others to the kinds of activities Ausome Ottawa designs so that others can experience the love of sport and the joy of socializing with peers in a supportive and sensory sensitive environment.

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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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Adora Quah

Adora is a CPA candidate with a passion for health and fitness. She believes in the benefits of an active lifestyle and in Ausome’s mission.

In addition to her financial experience with start-up/young businesses, she played on the varsity women’s rugby team at the University of Ottawa and has since participated in various activities such as salsa dancing, ballet, kickboxing, yoga, boot camps, skating, and volleyball. When she’s not doing that, she loves travelling the world and spending time with friends and family.

Successfully passing the 2018 CFE, Adora expects to earn her CPA designation in 2019. With her studies completed, this young professional is excited to use her extra time and strategic mindset to contribute to Ausome Ottawa’s growth while learning more about the autism community.

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Suzanne Jacobson

Suzanne is the grandmother of two young boys, Alexander and Nathan, both of whom have been diagnosed with autism.

In early 2008, Suzanne founded QuickStart-Early Intervention for Autism which incorporated and became a registered Canadian Charity in 2010. Suzanne brings to Ausome a wealth of experience working with families living with autism, as well as experience building a registered charity from the ground up.
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Shana Levin

With over 20 years’ experience in the entertainment industry, Shana Levin is Vice President of Broadway Across Canada.

In her role, Shana leads the company’s Canadian operations and subscription series in major markets across the nation, including Ottawa’s National Arts Centre.Throughout her career, Shana has successfully promoted some of the most beloved productions of all time including Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, The Book of Mormon, Chicago, Cats and Rent—all with the objective of making theatre a critical part of our Canadian culture fabric. While Shana’s responsibilities are national in scope, her home and heart reside in Ottawa, the city that started her career and where she continues to champion the arts for future generations.
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Susan Ternan

Susan has a broad background in soccer, yoga, and swimming, and enjoys spending time with her family and friends on the field and in the water.

She has completed her Bachelor of Mathematics and Economics at Carleton University and is currently working on her Master of Economics. She is employed at Statistics Canada and has prior experience as a board member of Enpross Inc. Susan appreciates the value of sports and athletics in the a child’s development, specifically in the values learnt and the development of life and behavioral skills. Susan hopes to contribute in providing opportunities to make sports accessible to all children.
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David Baker

Stay tuned for David’s profile…