Board of Directors

Cheryl Perera,
Co-Chair, OCC

Cheryl has been a dedicated member of OCC for 12 years, Chair of OCC for over 3 years and, since the fall of 2020, Co-Chair. Prior to becoming Chair of OCC, Cheryl led the Awareness and Communications Working Group for many years. As a caregiver herself, Cheryl is passionate about OCC’s work to help advocate for more supports for family caregivers in Ontario.  Cheryl has held senior level positions in the community health and mental health/developmental services sectors for most of her career. In her current role at Lumenus Community Services, Cheryl has oversight for several enterprise-wide functions in the areas of partnerships, growth, innovation and organizational excellence. Cheryl holds a MSW from the University of Toronto and an MBA from the Schulich School of Business. The skills she brings to OCC include strategic planning, marketing, business development and partnership building.

Samuel Schwisberg
Co-Chair, OCC
Chair of Membership and Governance Committee

Sam has been a member of OCC for more than 6 years. He has been a caregiver since 1990, when his wife was diagnosed with MS. She has been in a wheelchair since 1992. Sam’s legal experience includes serving as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at the Canadian Red Cross. His areas of expertise include corporate and commercial law, the law of charities and not-for-profits, and the governance of charities and not-for-profits. He currently also teaches Business Law at Carleton’s Sprott School of Business. Sam is currently chairing the OCC Membership & Governance Working Group/Committee.  He also co-chairs OCC.

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Rose-Marie Fraser
University Health Network, Committee Member, Research & Advocacy Committee

Rose-Marie has been a member of OCC for over 4 years. She has served as a co-chair of the OCC Research & Advocacy Working Group/Committee for the past 2 years. She has also brought her experience to many external committees in her roles as part-time Social Worker on a Medical Oncology Team at the University Health Network and a Professional Practice Leader. Rose-Marie believes “nothing has impacted my life more than being a caregiver to a family member with a mental health diagnosis, a daughter who has had a heart transplant and caring for an aging family member with early onset dementia.”

Patricia (Patti) Lennox
Community and Primary Health Care, Ottawa

Patti has been with the OCC for 7+ years. Now retired, she chairs the Successful Aging Advisory Committee of United Way East Ontario-Lanark. LC-SAAC is a partnership of donors, interested citizens, service providers, organization representatives, coalition members, business leaders, government, labour, educators and other funders. The purpose of the committee is to provide leadership, direction and support to United Way and agencies related to seniors and aging through the development of resources, partnerships, alliances, projects and initiatives within and across sectors. The priority goal is: Seniors are able to stay in their homes and remain engaged in the community, and all caregivers feel supported. This can be done by reducing the factors that lead to isolation and vulnerability while respecting seniors’ independence and by establishing caregiver support strategies. Prior to retirement, Patti spent 20 years in health care with VON and Community and Primary Health Care. Her primary focus has been caregivers and caregiver support. As well, Patti served as School Board Trustee for five years at the Upper Canada District School Board.

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis serves as the Executive Director of the Young Caregivers Association, a not-for-profit agency with a mission to serve caregiving children, youth, young adults and their families. Michelle has been with the organization since 2012 and has focused on thinking strategically around barriers family caregivers experience. Having been a young caregiver herself, she uses her lived experience and passion to find ways to support as many young caregivers as possible and to give a voice to these hidden family caregivers. Michelle was raised in Hagersville and now lives in St. Catharines with her husband and two daughters.

Dana MacMillan

Dana is the Director of Services at Wesway, a not-for-profit respite organization that supports family caregivers living in Thunder Bay or in a rural or remote community in Northern Ontario. Dana has been working in the respite field for over 30 years and has focused on creating responsive respite services for family caregivers who are supporting individuals with challenging care needs from birth to senior years. She firmly believes that caregivers are the true experts in relation to their care and is committed to ensuring that services are shaped to meet the unique needs and preferences of family caregivers. Dana is also a founding member of the International Short Break Association (ISBA), an organization that provides a platform for knowledge exchange, courses of action and working practices within the field of short-breaks (respite) world-wide.