Meet the Team

Amy Friesen
Founder and CEO
(c) 613-406-6031
(w) 613-698-1319 x 1

After completing both a Marketing degree and a Psychology degree, Amy felt the retirement industry calling to her. In 2005, Amy began her career as a recreation coordinator, but soon found that what she most enjoyed was helping seniors “connect the dots” to find the perfect new home. Amy quickly moved into marketing and for almost 15 years, worked for several retirement residences in Ottawa.

In that role, Amy was seeing an increase in confusion surrounding the retirement industry. As more homes were being built, care terms were being altered; seniors and their families were beginning to have a very hard time sorting through the confusion and matching their needs to what retirement homes were offering.

Amy wanted to create a personalized service where seniors and their families could engage one person who had the knowledge and expertise needed to find the best retirement residence option – and in a fraction of the time it would take the average family to do so. With that, Tea & Toast was born.

Amy cares deeply about seniors in the community and is a passionate advocate. You will often find her helping out at local senior events, lending a hand where needed.

Married to husband Mike, Amy is a loving mom to little Eva. The family’s fuzzy kids include Levon and Mabel the cats, and Sigmund and Ruby the dogs!

Jean Johnston-McKitterick
Senior Living Advisor
(c) 613-857-4658
(w) 613-698-1319 x 3

Jean has worked in marketing in the corporate sector of Ottawa for more than 25 years.

Jean enjoys the company of seniors and is increasingly concerned with the aging population of our city, so when she learned of Tea and Toast, she knew she had found her calling. Jean has advocated for seniors in various ways for many years, including being an active member of a fundraising team for a local long-term care facility. Her priority is to build a bond of trust by listening carefully to the needs of her clients.

Jean is the VP for the Gloucester South Seniors Club, helps with finances for the local hockey association, coordinates Canada Day festivities, and runs a euchre club where she is the youngest player (the oldest is 91!).

Jean is married to Chris and they have a daughter and son whom they adopted when they were 8 and 6 respectively. She enjoys photography and scrapbooking and playing cards. Jean is an avid reader and loves all James Patterson novels, and makes a priority of date night at the movie theatre with her husband Chris.

Brenda Verch
Senior Living Advisor
(c) 613-909-3777
(w) 613-698-1319 x 2

Brenda has been interested in working with seniors since she was in university in the early 1990’s. While there, she worked part-time as a home support worker, helping seniors with their activities of daily living. The best part of her job, she says, was hearing about their rich lives and interesting experiences.  

After graduating with degree in psychology, Brenda supervised home support workers with a company called Visiting Homemakers, where she had the pleasure of doing home visits and getting to meet many interesting seniors.

Brenda holds a Master’s degree in Counselling and Spirituality, and currently has a small part-time counselling practice where she sees adults of all ages.

Brenda has seen first-hand the struggles that families experience when trying to find appropriate housing for their aging parents and grandparents. After meeting Tea & Toast CEO Amy Friesen, Brenda was so impressed with the service that she knew she wanted to be a part of it.

In my spare time, Brenda enjoys photography, gardening, reading, and spending time with family and friends. She is an avid traveller and has a long list of places she wants to visit!

Kerrie Whitehurst
Senior Living Advisor
(c) 613-808-4259
(w) 613-698-1319 x 4

Kerrie has worked in prominent Canadian healthcare organizations for more than 20 years as a marketing and communications specialist.

Like her Tea and Toast colleagues, Kerrie enjoys the company of seniors and has spent many happy volunteer hours taking part in friendly visits, sharing a cup of tea, and organizing musical afternoons at retirement residences. She was drawn to Tea and Toast by its mandate to advocate for seniors and their families, and by CEO Amy Friesen’s exceptional reputation in the Ottawa community. Kerrie feels privileged to be part of a caring group of people that helps seniors find their perfect retirement living lifestyle.

In her spare time, Kerrie sings with a few choirs in the city, occasionally takes to the stage with local theatre groups, and is constantly trying to improve her curling game! Her husband Doug is a competitive wheelchair curler, and Kerrie takes an active role in organizing local sporting events for people with disabilities. Kerrie and Doug have three adult children who are the light of their lives.

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