Compassionate. Collaborative. Reliable. Respectful. Principled. Meet some of the people who make the Council on Aging of Central Oregon a place for connection and community. Here’s who they are and why they value the work they do.
Susan Rotella, Executive Director
What I do: I lead a committed team of staff members and volunteers, who work tirelessly, and with great heart, to improve the lives of our older adult neighbors in Central Oregon.
Why I do it: I’ve always gravitated toward older persons, to their experiences, perspective, and hard-earned wisdom. Over the decades, my life has been enriched by elders… parents, teachers, friends, mentors, and clients. This role provides an opportunity to give back, while continuing to be enriched by the lives of those we serve every day.
Kathy Schroeder, Deputy Director of Community Relations
What I do: At the Council on Aging, I work to invite the community to support the organization’s work financially, sharing in our vision for supported aging for all adults and their families throughout Central Oregon. I am raising funds to expand our programs throughout the tri-county area as well as renovate the re-purposed Bend Community Center, to create a vibrant gateway for services, hot meals, social opportunities and other programs delivered throughout Central Oregon.
Why I do it: I am passionate about this work because it affects so many people: About 20% of the population in Central Oregon today is 65 or older, and that number is projected to grow to 25% by 2050. The Council on Aging is the hub for services for older adults, and I’m proud to be part of it.
Denise LaBuda, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Communications
What I do: I listen to the needs of older adults and their families so we can develop innovative tools and services that enhance a person’s ability to maintain a life of independence and choice as they age.
Why I do it: I believe that every person should have the opportunity to live a long and healthy life. How wonderful it is to help create the environments and opportunities that enable people to be and do what they value throughout their lives.
Cassie Regimbal, LMSW, Director, Client Services Operations
What I do: I oversee the client services team, and manage many of the direct services that are offered through the Council on Aging.
Why I do it: I have always had a passion for working with older adults, advocating for and respecting individual stories and situations. I love being part of something that is making a difference in someone else’s world.
Bob DeBoard, Nutrition Services and Facilities Manager
What I do: I oversee our Meals on Wheels and congregate meals programs at our contracted sites. I also maintain our two agency buildings.
Why I do it: The chance to help an older adult through even a few of their challenges as they age is very rewarding. The friendships and partnerships gained over my time here have been amazing.
Bernadette Handley, Nutrition Services Manager
What I do: I manage nutrition operations staff members and volunteers, who work hard with amazing grit and tenacity to improve the lives of our older adult neighbors in Central Oregon.
Why I do it: We have a growing population of underserved seniors in Central Oregon who need nutrition guidance and education along with more food in order for them to age with dignity and grace. I am committed to reducing food insecurity and nutrition risk in as many seniors as we can reach through our food programs in Central Oregon.
Michelle DeLaPena, Financial Operations Manager
What I do: I manage the financial department for the agency, ensuring constant revenue streams, while working with government and local partners in order to continue providing services to our aging population.
Why I do it: Because I enjoy working with numbers. And finding the right agency that helps support older adults is a bonus.