Laura Sutherland, LMSW, MBA, is the founder and executive director of the Gayle Wells Foundation for Early Onset Alzheimer’s & Care. Laura met Gayle in 1987 and they became inseparable. Laura was with Gayle through everything—through all of the cancer surgeries and treatments, as well as the early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Laura was Gayle’s sole caregiver and was able to keep her at home until 10 weeks before Gayle’s death.
When Gayle received the diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s disease, Laura did everything she could to learn about the disease, but it wasn’t easy to locate information or resources for individuals under the age of 65. Laura experienced first-hand the gaps in education, information, knowledge, and services available. It was during this experience that Laura knew that the Gayle Wells Foundation for Early Onset Alzheimer’s & Care needed to be formed.
Laura was on staff at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management at the University of Houston for 13 years and held the positions of Director of Events and Director of Marketing. In 2004, Laura received her MBA from the University of Phoenix. In 2007, she accepted a position as the Director of Conventions & Meetings for the National Business Education Association.
After Gayle’s death, Laura realized that she needed to further her education. In the fall of 2012, Laura went back to school to obtain her Masters in Social Work. She received her degree in May 2014, with a specialty in gerontology, and became licensed in August 2014.