Meet our COIs

WAY’s Centre of Influence (COI) Community

These exceptional individuals are deeply passionate advocates who go above and beyond to support our cause. With their leadership, expertise, and unwavering dedication, our COIs amplify our impact, spread awareness, and drive positive change within their networks and communities. Get to know the remarkable individuals who are helping shape the future of WAY and making a difference in the lives of seniors.

 Sayra Cristancho
Sayra CristanchoLondon, Ontario
Dr. Sayra Cristancho became WAY’s first COI in 2023. Currently serving as an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery and a Scientist at the Centre for Education Research & Innovation (CERI) within the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada, Dr. Cristancho obtained her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of British Columbia. Her research delves into the dynamics of teamwork during crises, particularly focusing on teams’ adaptability in unforeseen circumstances. Her overarching aim is to enhance the training and performance of rapid response healthcare teams.

In her words, “In the Latino culture, it is not uncommon for older grandparents to move in with one of their children’s family. I had the great fortune of growing up with our maternal grandfather living with us. I refer to it as a “fortune” because it allowed me to gain a tremendous appreciation and respect for seniors. My grandfather lived well into his late 80’s but not without illness. He suffered from Parkinson’s disease and pancreatic cancer. My parents assigned us chores around his care which taught us valuable lessons. For instance, I was in charge of turning on the tv so he could watch Mass on Sundays at 6am. As a teenager that could feel like a nuisance, but later I realized how simple acts of giving can transform a seniors’ enjoyment of life. Sundays was a happy day, he told me. The way WAY strives to bring seniors simple moments of happiness struck a chord with me through the memory of my grandfather. I would like to see many seniors smile in the same way my grandfather smiled on Sundays. And that is what motivates me to support WAY!”

Karen Hsiung
Karen HsiungGreater Toronto Area, Ontario
Karen Hsiung is Vice President, Senior Client Partner at Gallagher Executive Search & Leadership Advisors where she is focused on Not For Profit and private sector recruitment. She is passionate about helping organizations attract high impact, diversified talent. Previously, she spent 25 years building brands in various marketing leadership roles in the consumer goods sector. Karen has a Bachelor of Commerce from McMaster University and holds the Chartered Marketer (CM) designation . She is a former Regional Officer with NextUp, known formerly as Network of Executive Women. Karen is an active Board member with the Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto, and serves as Chair of the Fundraising Committee. Karen is married to Derek and has two grown kids, and loves spending time with family and friends over a great meal or taking walks.

As stated by Karen, “I am truly honoured to join WAY as a Centre of Influence (COI) for the Greater Toronto Area and to contribute to the organization’s expansion into Ontario. Together, we are excited to engage the Toronto community in our ambitious plans to grant wishes to seniors, and to positively shift the way society views, values, and supports seniors. Because what are we doing here if we are not creating the most beautiful lives we can imagine for each other?”

Karen’s WAY wish is to take a food tour through Vietnam and Thailand.