Staff

Alex1a

Alex Sheen

Alex Sheen is the Founder of because I said I would, the international social movement and nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of humanity through promises made and kept. Sparked by the loss of his father, Alex began sending promise cards to anyone who requested them at no cost. Since his father’s passing on September 4th, 2012, because I said I would has sent over 6.64M promise cards to over 153 countries. Alex’s commitment to the betterment of humanity has inspired millions around the world. The story of his promises have been shared virally throughout social media and international news.

Before his life as nonprofit leader, Alex was a Corporate Strategy Lead at Hyland Software, an organization featured in Fortune’s 2014 Best Companies to Work in the United States. As the youngest manager in a global company with over 1,500 employees, he established and managed Hyland’s corporate-wide Innovation Program. Alex decided to leave this life and pursue a life of philanthropy and service after the loss of his father.


Kimchi1a

Kimchi Sheen

Our office dog, Kimchi, is the daughter of our Founder, Alex Sheen. She loves to visit our rooms throughout the day for progress updates and official petting time. Kimchi spends her afternoons snoring on the office couch and dreaming of a world where everyone loved their fellow humans as much as they loved their pets. Kimchi is ten years old, diabetic and a cancer survivor.

In her spare time, Kimchi enjoys snoozing, giving kisses, bringing each of us toys and cuddling with her mom.

 


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Amanda Messer

Amanda Messer is the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at because I said I would. At a young age Amanda learned the effect that promises broken have on relationships. Her father struggled with addiction and was not good with keeping his commitments to his little girl. Amanda was drawn to helping start because I said I would knowing that there are other children whose lives are deeply affected by broken promises. In November of 2013, Amanda became our first full-time employee after over a year of volunteering her time to the cause.

As the youngest of five children, Amanda grew up in Lorain, OH. Prior to co-founding because I said I would, she worked at Hyland Software – one of Fortune magazine’s top 100 places to work in the United States. Amanda has also served as the Vice President for the Cleveland User Experience Professionals Association. She currently resides in Lakewood, OH with her son, Trent, and her dog, Miska (pronounced Meesh-ka).


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Laurie Wise-Maher

Laurie is the VP of Operations and Development at because I said I would. She works to identify and implement strategies for the long-term sustainability of the organization. Her alternate role is office “mom”, and Laurie enjoys helping to mentor and encourage her colleagues toward success. She believes that making and keeping commitments is the foundation for all healthy relationships and loves to imagine what the world would be like if everyone committed to an action to do one thing each week to better themselves, their community or the world.

An Ohio University grad and 20-year veteran of the nonprofit industry, Laurie came to because I said I would after a successful fundraising stint in land and water conservation and a 10-year wellness career in Executive Leadership with the YMCA.

An avid explorer and advocate of our national and local parks, in her spare time, Laurie enjoys sharing nature experiences with her family and friends while hiking, camping and kayaking.


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Dr. Trisha Hernandez

Trisha is the VP of Character Education and also strategically handles Alex’s speaking engagement requests while working from her stand up desk. She is not one that likes to sit still, let alone sit for an extended period of time. Trisha is a proud UW Badger alumni, completing her PhD in Communication from UW – Madison in 2012. Upon graduation she accepted her dream job: a tenured track faculty position in Southern California. She was the Director of the undergraduate degree in Communication and also developed an online master’s degree in Communication. Because of her love for teaching, Trisha also adjuncts communication courses.

Trisha has an irresistible desire to travel. She has participated in service projects in Uganda, Rwanda, Taiwan, Israel, and Malaysia.

It was a sunny morning sitting on the rooftop having breakfast at the W in Barcelona, where she first met Alex and heard his presentation. Through a series of unique circumstances, Trisha made a difficult decision. She packed up her California dream job to move to Cleveland, OH.

When Trisha is not working on helping advance the movement, you will find her running, paddle boarding, cooking, or sitting anywhere near water or a fire.


Stevie Kolakowski

Stevie is the VP of Chapter Programs at because I said I would and brings a tremendous amount of experience in operations, franchising, training, and administration. Prior to joining the organization, she was the Director of Franchise Policy & Strategy for Jack in the Box, Inc. in San Diego, CA, responsible for the development and management of franchise systems, policies, and processes.

Stevie is passionate about growth and constantly looking ways to challenge herself personally and professionally. She has been a supporter of the movement since early 2015 and is excited about the opportunity to lead the Chapter Program growth.

Stevie is a veteran of the U.S. Navy. She also has a BS in Microbiology from San Diego State University and an MBA with an emphasis in Management & Leadership from Webster University.

After 22 years of living in Southern California, she decided to move back home to Cleveland to join because I said I would and be closer to her family. Stevie is an avid music lover and live music junkie. She enjoys running, hiking, cycling and playing sports.


Janice Farmer

Janice brings over 20 years of nonprofit experience to the Director of Recruitment & Human Resources role with because I said I would. Prior to joining the team, she built her nonprofit experience through the healthcare, professional services, and wellness industries.

Janice graduated from Kent State University and has her bachelors in Business Management with a strict focus on Human Resources. Her passion for her work stems from the pleasure she feels when employees are working in a culture that provide opportunities for success, engagement, and personal satisfaction; while leaving a positive impact in their community.

After a year and a half in the transportation industry, Janice has found her way back to her passion of working within an organization dedicated to making a difference in individuals & communities around the world.

Janice currently resides in Burton, Ohio with her husband and their dog, Duke. She enjoys spending time with family, cheering on local sports teams and long vacations on the beach.


Julie1b

Julie LoPresti

Julie is the Executive Assistant to the Founder, Alex Sheen. She manages Alex’s extremely complex calendar and plans all of his travel. Julie is a crucial part of the because I said I would team because she keeps Alex organized and, more importantly, gets him where he needs to be and ON TIME for all of his speaking engagements. She has more than 15 years’ experience as an Executive Assistant and has extensive knowledge and skill in travel planning, event management and calendaring.

Since joining the team, Julie has found that what she appreciates most about being part of the movement is the direct impact that because I said I would is making in the lives of others. She loves being part of a team of people that are doing something for the greater good.

Julie lives in Amherst, OH with her husband, step-son and three dogs. In her spare time, she enjoys camping, riding on their motorcycle and spending time with family and friends.


Cassie1a

Cassie Perez

Cassie is a Chapter Relationship Manager at because I said I would. She manages Chapters across the country, developing relationships, leading meetings and weekly calls, and streamlining processes. Cassie received a degree in Apparel Merchandising and Product Development with a minor in Marketing from Bowling Green State University in 2013. Having worked in sales and merchandising for some time, she greatly enjoys being able to use her knowledge to work for an organization that helps others and can truly make a difference.

As a native of Lakewood, OH, Cassie heard of the movement by chance, stumbling upon our previous location on Detroit Ave. Looking up the movement online led to many hours watching promise stories and she joined the because I said I would team in September of 2015.

In her spare time she enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends.


Shannon Baker

Shannon is a Chapter Relationship Manager at because I said I would. She manages Chapters across the country, developing relationships, leading meetings and weekly calls, and streamlining processes.

Shannon graduated from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and double majored in Communications and Psychology. After college, she managed several multi-million dollar accounts at one of the top ad agencies in Pittsburgh, then took a big leap of faith when she decided to move to Washington DC and work for a start-up called LivingSocial. She was a Senior Project Manager on the Operations team. (Fun fact: When she started, there were only 40 people on one floor, and it quickly grew to over 5,000!) She has great pride to have been apart of their rising and amazing success. When she got married, they moved to Cleveland, and she got heavily involved in the event and wedding industry. She was a wedding planner and New Business Manager at A Charming Fete, as well as Director of Business Development at RedSpace downtown.

Her, her husband and their rescue dog reside in Bay Village near the lake. Shannon is a lover of coffee, fashion, entertaining, her family, Pinterest, and inspirational quotes! She is a strong advocate for mental health and extremely passionate about self love and rebuilding one’s life. She hopes her promise and commitment to her own recovery helps encourage and inspire others.


Zach Griffin

Zach is the Fulfillment Manager with because I said I would. He joined the organization through volunteering in August of 2016, steadily attending the Cleveland area Meetups/Unified Promises and taking a logistics role on the Chapter team. Knowing immediately he wanted to be a part of daily operations, Zach applied for and accepted a short term internship, which in turn lead to his current position.

As Fulfillment Manager, Zach helps execute all functions related to order processing, speaking engagement logistics, inventory management, product forecasting, supporter outreach, office upkeep, and volunteer coordination. He works regularly with these volunteers from events and at headquarters to best maximize the use of the time they afford us. He also contributes wherever else there might be a need.

Zach graduated from Kent State University with a bachelor’s in Organizational Communication and minors in Interpersonal Communication/Theatre Studies. In off hours, Zach likes to learn something new, write, make music, perform, shoot hoops, bike, see friends, and father his cat Marce, who more commonly goes by the two kissy noises you use to get an animals attention.


Steve Logan

Steve Logan is the Motion Graphics Artist at because I said I would. He works to create a multitude of creative and engaging content through animation, videography and graphic design with a heavy focus on the aspect of story-telling. He works closely with Alex to aid in the development of because I said I would‘s ever growing and evolving brand.

Steve graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Electronic Media Production and a minor in Business. He built his professional experience over the past 7 years through a unique range of promotional and marketing roles across a variety of industries; from journalism to aviation. An overpowering drive to use his talents to positively impact others is what drove him to reach out and join the because I said I would team. He has made it his goal to use his platform to raise awareness and bring positivity into a world that is often times too focused on the negative.

As a movie, music and video game enthusiast, Steve enjoys spending his time getting lost in, and inspired by, the fantasy environments others create to bring escape and enjoyment to others around the world.


Therese McDonnell

Therese joined because I said I would in March 2016 as our Bookkeeper and handles most aspects of the financial side of the organization. Her background includes working in the for-profit sector of manufacturing and construction fields. She enjoys the challenge and variety of the day to day financial transactions occurring with our nonprofit organization.

Therese heard of because I said I would through a friend who was looking to do volunteer work and passed on the information that we were looking for a Bookkeeper. Within a month of the first introduction, she was on board.

Therese likes to keep active playing tennis and stays busy with her growing family.


Sung Beats

Sung is an award-winning beatbox artist who has been exploring music with the human voice for over 13 years. Equipped with nothing but a microphone and a loop pedal, he samples his voice to produce high energy live beatbox music without any pre-recorded background music.

A veteran performer and 2014 Apollo Night Champion at the world famous Apollo Theater, Sung joined the because I said I would team with the purpose of artistically conveying the importance of a promise through his music. Sung often joins Alex in speaking engagements, using his musical talent to entertain audiences and as tool to further spread our message.

Sung currently lives in NYC. He enjoys showcasing his craft on YouTube and works tirelessly to push the boundaries of what is possible with the human voice.