The Board of Directors for the Gayle Wells Foundation for Early Onset Alzheimer’s & Care is comprised of the following individuals:
April is Gayle Wells’ niece and experienced Gayle’s journey through early onset Alzheimer’s. April was born and raised in the Houston area where she currently lives with her husband. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and has worked for Exxon Mobil in various positions for 25 years. April and her husband, Andy, have three children and three beautiful granddaughters. April believes in, and is committed to the Gayle Wells Foundation due to her personal experiences with Alzheimer’s patients, their loved ones, and caregivers.
Cyndee Frey, R.N.
Cyndee has been a registered nurse for 37 years in various clinical and management settings. (intensive care, dialysis, operating room, occupational health and regional nurse for senior assisted living communities.) She holds a B.S. in Health Arts from the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois, and a M.S. in Organization Development from Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois. Cyndee began specializing in memory care in 1999. She is certified in the Validation Method of Communication, and is one of 400 certified validation practitioners and presenters in the world. She has done multiple workshops, presentations, and classes for professional, non-professional, and family caregivers on how to reduce stress while creating an effective and failure free environment for persons with dementia by learning how to listen and communicate differently. She has developed specialized programs for education, training, dementia care counseling and communication coaching for healthcare professionals, non-professionals, first responders, and family members. Cyndee’s passion is to educate and assist individuals that work or live with persons who have dementia. Her focus is on helping people create an environment where it is possible to reduce stress and offer a supportive and dynamic life for all involved.
Tammy is the Director of Human Resources at the Champaign Park District in Champaign, Illinois. She studied at Greenville University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership. She has held positions in the areas of human resources, risk management, and technology for over 25 years. Tammy also currently serves on the leadership team for a care management organization. This position, along with being touched by two family members with dementia-related illnesses, has helped drive her desire to serve patients and caregivers with compassion and creative problem solving. Tammy has been married to Andy Hoggatt for 29 years and they have a married son and a daughter in graduate school.
Melinda is a writer who is passionate about authentic conversation. She has worked in communications and public relations in both non-profit and public organizations for over 25 years. Melinda’s fervor for cognitive memory condition care piqued when her mother lost the ability to be understood as a result of her diagnosis. Melinda believes there is a path to meaningful connection with memory care patients and is captivated by creative approaches for patients and caregivers. Caregiving can be overwhelmingly exhausting, but Melinda’s mantra is to ever remember that the patient isn’t purposely giving anyone a hard time but rather having a hard time. While we still have our loved ones with us, they deserve to be heard.
Rebecca Mauldin, LMSW
Rebecca is a doctoral candidate in the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston. She studies the social experiences of residents in assisted living, the factors that support positive social relationships for older adults, and the effects of social relationships on their health and cognitive functioning. Prior to becoming a social worker, Rebecca owned and operated a massage therapy school in Colorado. She has lived and worked in North Carolina, Colorado, and Texas and holds Houston dear to her heart. Rebecca’s life has been touched by the effects of memory conditions on loved ones since she was young. She has personal experience with loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and traumatic brain injuries. This makes her committed to bringing services, education, and support to individuals who experience memory conditions and care for those who do.
Emily is an internationally recognized wordsmith with 20 years of experience as a writer and web content creator. She has served as a scriptwriter for more than 70 volumes in the Billboard chart-topping Gaither Gospel video series. As a magazine columnist and blogger, she writes on topics such as relationships, hospitality, leadership, spirituality, creativity, and music. She is also ghostwriter, a lyricist, and author of the children’s book, “It’s Hard to Hug a Porcupine” (2017). In 2017 Emily, along with her husband, Scott, co-founded Love Better, LLC, a movement focused on making the world better by learning to love others with greater kindness and respect. Through podcasts, blogs and community interaction at lovebetter.world, Scott and Emily seek to build bridges where gaps in understanding and empathy exist.
Scott is the children’s pastor at Grace Church (146th Street Campus) in Noblesville, Indiana. He studied at Indiana Wesleyan University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministries and achieved his ordination. Scott’s relationship with Gayle Wells, including his time with her in her last days, fueled his life-long passion to help people live their best life possible. Scott, along with his wife Emily, are the founders and creators of Love Better, LLC., an online platform devoted to helping people learn how to love better at home, in their communities, and around the world. Scott and Emily live in a suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana. They have a married son, and a daughter finishing high school.
Todd Wagoner, MSW, LSW
Todd is a Master’s level clinical social worker with over 25 years of health care experience in hospital discharge planning and, most recently, serving as geriatric social worker for the Touchpoint Healthy Aging Transition Services, a geriatric specialty clinic through the Community Health Network in Noblesville, Indiana. Todd’s primary responsibilities are facilitating neurocognitive psychological testing for individuals with cognitive impairments, providing clinical counseling to address depression and anxiety in older adults as well as addressing caregiver needs through individual and group counseling. Todd also serves as adjunct professor for the Department of Social Work at Taylor University (Upland, Indiana), speaks regularly to both formal and informal groups on subjects such as dementia, caregiver stress and aging as it relates to mood disorders while serving on Taylor University’s Department of Social Work Community Advisory Board. On a personal note, Todd is blessed with a wonderful wife, Wendy, and two wonderful college-age daughters, Sydney and Emma, who are presently attending Taylor University. Todd is honored to be working with the Gayle Wells Foundation to help individuals and families who are met with the challenges of early onset Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders.