New head of Alzheimer Society in northeast learning ins and outs of job

After two weeks on the job, Shannon Ketchabaw admits she’s still learning the ins and outs of the job in an organization that covers a large portion of the northeast region. She is the new executive director of the Alzheimer Society Sudbury-Manitoulin, North Bay and Districts. She was previously in a similar role at Meals on Wheels (Sudbury).

“Just learning about how many educational opportunities there are for caregivers, for clients, different groups that they can partake in and it’s so nice to be a part of this team,” she said. Twenty years ago, Ketchabaw started her career working in a day program. But she said the Alzheimer Society holds a special place in her heart because her father has dementia.

“To lead an organization that is so good in what it does and to be a part of that team and to affect change and hope to affect change in regards to Alzheimer’s Disease, dementias,” Ketchabaw said. One of the goals Ketchabaw said she is working toward is getting the agency accredited by 2025. It means submitting evidence demonstrating their standards and best practices to the Canadian Centre for Accreditation.

“It’s a voluntary process,” said executive director Sophie Bart. “It’s a certification that an organization takes on above and beyond mandatory processes, for non-profit and community-based health and social service organizations.” “So it’s a really great opportunity for any organization to shine and also to learn and improve,” she added. Accreditation is a long-term goal for Ketchabaw.

In the short-term, she’ll represent the agency this Wednesday at Sudbury city hall, when January is proclaimed Alzheimer’s Awareness month.”