The Elder Network Staff
Kathy Scheid | Executive Director
Kathy oversees Elder Network operations and programs. She works with companies, agencies, and community members to build support for Elder Network's mission. Kathy has more than 20 years of experience with the American Cancer Society in Rochester as patient navigation program manager. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Michigan State University and completed her nutrition internship at Mayo Clinic. She previously served as nutrition services manager at Olmsted Medical Center.
“Throughout my career, a major focus and passion has been helping people live their best lives or improve their quality of life, especially those 55 and better,” said Scheid. “I am excited and honored to be able to pursue this life’s work with such a wonderful organization as Elder Network. Early in my career my work was community focused in Olmsted County and southeast Minnesota and I am thrilled to be returning to my roots and to serve in my community.”
Holly Brown | Caregiver Respite & Companion Program Manager
Holly coordinates companions and volunteers, evaluates services, and matches companions and volunteers with clients. She is a Master Trainer for Powerful Tools for Caregivers. She trains new facilitators and also facilitates workshops herself. Holly also provides Caregiver Coaching. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Social Work and has been at Elder Network over 10 years.
Barbara Parker | Program Coordinator - Winona County
Barb is responsible for the programming in Winona. She is based out of the Winona office and oversees educational programs, services, and network development and advisory board development in this county. Barb supports volunteers, clients, and families living in Winona County. Barb earned her master’s degree in family counseling and has worked with seniors and their families for over 15 years.
“My love for working with the senior population began at St. Paul Senior Homes & Services where I learned how the transition from one’s home into assisted, or even independent, senior living can be hard. I’m honored to join Elder Network to develop our services in Winona County. I look forward to meeting community members and offering Winona families support that allows seniors to stay in their homes longer.”
Bonnie Sandberg | Program Coordinator - Wabasha County
Bonnie is a Lake City native with 29 years experience in the health care industry. Bonnie is based out of the Wabasha office and oversees five programs in Wabasha County: Friendly Visiting, Companion Care Services, Respite Care, Education & Support Groups. Bonnie supports volunteers, clients, and families living in Wabasha County.
Bonnie shares: “The need for Elder Network programs is growing in our communities. Many seniors are socially isolated and may need a hand around the house. Elder Network is here to help. We provide social visiting and companion services to help with shopping, cooking and light housework. Whether seniors are at home alone, with a caregiver, or in a senior living facility, Elder Network is here to provide support to help seniors maintain their health and independence.”
Kate Jirik | Olmsted County Senior Advocate - Olmsted County
Kate spends her time providing information, referral and assistance to seniors and their caregivers. Kate helps seniors 60 years and better and their caregivers through Medicare health insurance counseling, assistance completing forms and applications, connection to home services in the area and navigation of systems for long term care services and supports. She connects callers to caregiver supports, memory cafes, and other evidenced based classes that can help caregivers make their way through this sometimes challenging season of life. She is excited for this opportunity to circle back around in her career and come back to where it began. Kate started her human services career in 1993 as an intern and then program coordinator at Elder Network. She holds a BS in Mental Health and Human Services from Franciscan University of Steubenville (OH) and a Masters in Social Gerontology from the University of Central Missouri. She most recently has been working as the Development and Training Program Assistant at The Reading Center here in Rochester.
“I have had a lifelong passion for working with and relating to the older adults that I have crossed paths with in my life. I feel very honored to have the privilege to work in a place where I can play a small part in improving the daily lives of some of our community's most vulnerable and precious members.”
Becca Herbstritt | Development Manager
Becca started at Elder Network, working with the Companion program, in 2017. Becca has been working within the nonprofit industry for almost 10 years and holds a BA in Human Services from Waynesburg University and a Masters in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from Arizona State University. Becca oversees the writing of grants for the Elder Network, helps with program development, and works in other areas of fundraising and development at the agency.
Kyle Johnson | Technology Assistance Program Coordinator
Kyle coordinates the Technology Assistance Program for clients, overseeing the staff and volunteers who provide support to clients. He started working at Elder Network in the winter of 2021. He is responsible for the intake of new clients into the TAP program. He has created a curriculum for the volunteers that will teach clients the basic use of technology with iPads.
“I have always loved exploring new technology and how to adapt it for different lifestyles.”
Donna Proeschel | Technology Assistance Program Assistant
Donna is assisting with piloting the Technical Assistance Program (TAP) in Olmstead, Winona and Wabasha counties. She has more than 30 years of experience teaching, creating and implementing innovative community programs in Australia and the U.S. Born in western Minnesota, Donna received a B.S. in Family Life and Child Development Education from the University of Minnesota and completed post graduate work at Macquarie University. For the past ten years, she and her husband were resident directors at a senior living community in Madison, Wisconsin. In March 2021, they moved to Rochester to be closer to their family. Donna was the primary caregiver for a parent with Alzheimer’s and volunteers at her grandson’s Montessori preschool. “I am excited for the opportunity to engage and enrich the daily life of the 60 plus population through technology and building their confidence in using the computer in safe, helpful and entertaining ways.”
Melissa Stone | Olmsted County Program Coordinator
Melissa coordinates the Friendly Visiting and In-Home Respite Programs, overseeing the volunteers for these programs and coordinating services for clients since joining Elder Network in the summer of 2021. She has several years of experience working in long term care, providing care and art therapy to those with dementia, and teaching psychology and neuroscience courses to undergraduate students. She has a BS in Psychology from Truman State University and a Masters of Gerontology degree from the University of Missouri – St. Louis. She also has conducted cognitive neuroscience research at Saint Louis University to better understand learning and memory strategies throughout the lifespan. She hopes to bring these skills to Elder Network in order to improve the lives of elders in the community.
Amber Fieck | Caregiver Workshop Assistant
Amber served as the Elder Network social work intern through Winona State University. She is now employed as a part-time Caregiver Workshop Assistant. She has a strong desire to work with Seniors and knew that Elder Network would offer many opportunities through its numerous programs and community connections. Amber holds a BS in Social Work as well as in Elementary Education from Winona State University, and previously taught fifth and sixth grade in Austin.
“I have a passion for seeing the good in others and helping them discover their inner strengths. I am honored to work with the senior community and I believe they have so many valuable stories, experiences, and lessons to share. By listening to and learning from the seniors I work with as a social worker, I hope to advocate for their autonomy and the preservation of their dignity.”
Elder Network - Executive Board
President – Erin O'Brien -- Destination Medical Center
Vice President – Mary Pat Jewison -- Community Member
Treasurer – Sarah Vandersnick – Think Bank
Secretary – Tiffany Olson -- Mayo Clinic
Past President – Judy Hagler -- Community Member
Board for Olmsted County
Board Member--Betty Hutchins--Mayo Clinic
Board Member--Rachael Hanson--Charter House, Mayo Clinic
Board Member--Wayne Gannaway--Center of Olmsted County
Board Member--Tom Knoepke--Community Member
Board Member--Alec Osland--Attorney
Board Member--Dan Slagle--Fyooz Financial Planning
Board Member--Adedayo Dosumu--Olmsted Medical Center
Honorary Board Member--Mary Doucette--RN, CNP
Honorary Board Member--Tricia Schilling--MSW, LICSW; Olmsted Medical Center; Social Services and Active Aging Services
Advisory Board for Wabasha County
Currently Under Revision
Advisory Board for Winona County
Currently Under Revision
Companion Care Team
The Companion Care Team is responsible for providing non-medical care to support seniors to live in their own homes safely. Their responsibilities are tailored to the individual client, but can include helping make meals, taking walks, assisting with shopping, some support in cleaning and organizing the home. Each companion receives ongoing training, completes a national background check and assists the caregivers and care receivers to create an optimal life balance.