2021-2022 Board of Directors

Welcome and congratulations to the incoming 2021/22 Board of Directors 

Board of Directors
Alister Robertson, Chair, NZ
Bobby Redman, Vice Chair, Australia
Diana Blackwelder, Treasurer, USA
Kate Swaffer, co-founding board member, and CEO, Australia
Wally Cox, USA
Phyllis Fehr, Canada
Emily Tan Tan Ong, Singapore
Theresa (Terry) Montgomery, USA
Julie Hayden England, UK

Three non member (volunteer) positions:
Board Secretary, Sarah Yeates, Australia
Finance Officer, Currently vacant
Rebecca Hogan, Event Manager and volunteer to the board

Three Working Committees:
Internal Affairs
External Affairs

Within these committees, there is a permanent Finance and Fundraising Sub committee, a Membership sub committee, and others as required.

Professional Advisory Council: This  group consists of a number of global dementia experts, researchers, medical doctors, an attorney, an accountant and people living wth dementia.

Incoming Board of Directors, 2021-22

Alister Robertson, Chair, New Zealand
Alister was diagnosed in 2014 with young-onset Alzheimers at the age of 60. A similar age to his father when he was diagnosed with the same condition. Alister gained a Bachelor of Agricultural Commerce and his work history has been in the banking and finance industry working predominantly in the rural sector. Alister gained governance experience during his time on the Board of New Zealand Primary Industry Management and was awarded a Life Member in 2007.

Alister has been a Board member of Alzheimers NZ since 2018 and a member of the Alzheimers NZ Advisory Group since 2016. Alister joined Dementia Alliance International (DAI) in 2016 and has been a Board member since 2017 and was elected as Chair in January 2021.

Bobby Redman, Vice Chair, Australia
Bobby Redman has been a board member for the last two years, and is a retired psychologist, living on the Central Coast of NSW, Australia. She lives alone but enjoys looking after her three grandsons on a regular basis. Bobby who was diagnosed with fronto-temporal dementia, in 2015, is determined to improve the lives of people living with dementia and is passionate about her dementia advocacy work. She is Vice Chair of Dementia Alliance International (DAI) and co-hosts two support groups; sits on the Dementia Australia Advisory Committee (DAAC); and on the Central Coast Dementia Alliance Committee (CCDA)’. .

In addition to these Committees, Bobby is involved in several research projects, where, as well as sitting on a range of Steering / Advisory Committees, is currently acting as an Assistant Investigator in two research projects. Bobby is a strong Community Member who in addition to her Dementia Advocacy voluntary work is a Rotarian and Red Cross Volunteer. Bobby was a finalist for NSW Senior Australian of the Year 2020 and has since been an Australia Day Ambassador, giving her the opportunity to speak about the importance of an inclusive Community to a wider public.

Diana Blackwelder, Treasurer, USA
Diana Blackwelder, MS Systems Engineering, BS Computer Science, AS Electrical Engineering, Black Belt Six Sigma Process Improvement was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) in 2016 and Young Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in 2017 at age 55 when in the prime of her professional career. Prior to retiring on disability Diana had worked for 16 years as an IT Systems Integration Engineer with Lockheed Martin and 6 years as a Software Security Engineer for the US Federal Court System.

She continues to successfully live alone in Washington, DC, provides care for her two pet cats, travels internationally and advocates for the betterment of lives of those living with multiple cognitive disabilities caused by dementia. Diana is a volunteer researcher at University of Maryland, a U.S. National Alzheimer’s Association Early Stage Advisor, active member National Center on Advancing Person-Centered Practices and Systems (NCAPPS) and consults to the Smithsonian and US Botanical Garden Access Programs for people living with dementia.

Kate Swaffer, co-founding board member and CEO, Australia
Kate Swaffer, MSc, BPsych, BAm Retired Nurse. Kate is a co-founder, and the CEO and past Chair of Dementia Alliance International, and an elected board member for Alzheimer’s Disease International. Kate is married, with two adult sons. She is an Honorary Associate Fellow, Faculty of Science, Medicine & Health, University of Wollongong, International Fellow, Impact Research Group, University of East Anglia, and has played a key role in campaigning for the human and legal rights for people with dementia including equal access to the CRPD.

She has been tireless in her work on reframing dementia as a disability, for rehabilitation for dementia, and is the first person in the world with dementia, diagnosed herself at the age of 49, to be a keynote speaker at the WHO, at the time representing DAI as co-chair. Kate has contributed to key national and global policy documents including work for the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Quality Rights initiative, and the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement (ICHOM) for dementia.

Wally Cox, USA
Wally has been a DAI Board member for the last two years. He lives in northern California with his wife, Pat. They have three kids and two grandchildren and have been married since the day after Pat graduated from high school. Wally was diagnosed with dementia at 62. Dementia runs in his family; his grandmother became senile (that’s what they called it back then) when she was in her late seventies.

Fast-forward a few years and my dad – who was in his sixties – started exhibiting some odd behaviors and doing things that were seemingly out of character. It wasn’t until he got into his eighties that the doctors said he probably had dementia of some kind. That was about the time that Wally started having problems. Wally also has a brother who has been diagnosed with Lewy Body dementia. Wally co-hosts a support group and DAI’s monthly Café Le Brain.

Phyllis Fehr, Canada
Phyllis Fehr, M.L.A., R.N., S.A.N.E.. Phyllis was given a working diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s at 53 years old. Phyllis worked first as an ICU nurse and then as a dementia human rights activist, strategist, policy creator, changer, researcher, teacher, mentor and more.  Since the diagnosis, Phyllis commits much of her time doing anti-stigma work related to dementia and promotes the rights and abilities of people living with dementia locally, nationally and internationally. Her work policy work includes past member of the Ontario Dementia Advisory board, Advisory Group for the Ontario Dementia strategy and the Early Stage Working Group.

Her work includes co-author of multiple research articles and keynote speaking on the lived-experience of dementia, human rights and anti-stigma education. Phyllis spoke at the United Nations – the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and at the Senate of Canada, Social Affairs, Science and Technology. She is currently an active member of the Alzheimer’s Board for BHNHH; Reimagining Dementia: A Creative Coalition for Justice, Dementia Alliance International Alumni and provides local leadership to the Empowering Dementia-friendly Communities Hamilton, Haldimand project.

Emily Ong Tan Tan, Singapore
Emily is based in Singapore and happily married with two young adult children. She was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment and the possibility of young-onset dementia at 51. Before dementia, Emily has been involved in social change advocacy matters like consumerism, human rights, and special needs inclusion in mainstream education.

Emily brings over 20 years of experience in providing training, consulting, and coaching services. She is a co-program planner and inclusion facilitator for Dementia Singapore ‘Voices for Hope’, an empowerment and advocacy program. Emily has strong interpersonal skills, able to work effectively across diverse, multicultural, and multigenerational workplaces.

Emily is also sitting on the ADI Accreditation Global Review Panel and a Focus Group member of WHO Global Dementia Observatory. She is working closely with ADI in helping to support the Asia Regional dementia networks on increasing the voices of people living with dementia. Alzheimer Indonesia (ALZI) has invited Emily to do a sharing at the care partners counselling session.

Theresa  (Terry) Montgomery, USA
Terry left the work force in 2015 after being diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 58. Terry is a native of Chicago, IL and relocated to Duluth, GA in 2016.  She has a Bachelor of Arts, in Human Resource Management, Judson University, Elgin, IL. Moreover, Terry has a 38 year working experience in public relations, human resource management, human services, accounting, project management, sales, customer service and entrepreneurship.

In addition she participated in several training videos for the Alzheimer’s Association to bring awareness to what it is to live with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.  She also participated in online training for Community Volunteer Projects with the Alzheimer’s Association,  served as a National Early Stage Advisor, 2018-2019, and participated in a Ad Council commercial relating to Early Detection, and at every opportunity she was always ready to advocate and speak for those that no longer have a voice.  Terry loves staying busy,  before COVID -19 she was volunteering at the nursing homes and extended care units to do activities with Dementia patients. Terry Montgomery believes in keeping herself busy by volunteering as a  DAA Dementia Advocate, Speaker and Writer.  She also is a current member of the Dementia Action Alliance Advisory Board.

Julie Hayden, England, UK
Julie lives in Halifax, West Yorkshire, UK. She was diagnosed in May 2017 at the age of 54. She previously had professions as a qualified nurse and a social worker in older people’s care. In both of those careers was involved in dementia care. There is a long history of dementia in Julie’s family, although she is the first to develop young onset. Soon after diagnosis, Julie started her own young onset peer support group, as there was none locally. Julie joined DAI within her first year of diagnosis, being drawn by the fact that DAI were a group of people living with dementia doing it for themselves.

Julie lives alone and having to self manage her journey, began co-hosting  DAI’s Living Alone With Dementia support group three years ago and co-hosted support group on Christmas Day for the last three years. Julie has been involved in an Advanced Dementia Studies programme at Bradford University, participating in Experts By Experience programmes, has a seat on the Steering Group of the 3Nations Dementia Working Group, and is part of the Prime Minister’s Champions’ Group on Dementia.

Of, By, and For People with Dementia

Translate »