Our Team

Because I said I would owes so much of our success to our full time, part time employees, and especially our volunteers. Thank you to everyone who has helped make this movement what it is and what it will become.

Full-Time

Alex1a

Alex Sheen

Founder & CEO

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 13.1M Promise Cards to 178 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.

Invite Alex to speak at your event


Kay Spatafore

Chief Operating Officer

Kay Spatafore joined because I said I would in July of 2018 as the VP of Character Education and was promoted in 2019 to the role of Chief Operating Officer. Kay is a seasoned educator with experience in educational administration, curriculum development, management, coaching and mentoring, and classroom instruction. Kay also has an extensive background in business and entrepreneurship. Prior to joining because I said I would, Kay was the Director of Programming for an educational nonprofit in Cleveland, OH where she developed programs for Middle school, high school, and parent engagement including internship programs and summer camps.

Kay is a native of Ohio and currently resides there but spent much of her adult life in California, where she was the Director of Fine Arts at a large southern CA high school. In that role, she participated in the development of state curriculum, created a Mentor teacher program, and pioneered programs in the Arts and classroom education. In her spare time, Kay connects with her adult children, Dylan, Taylor, Katherine, and Rhys, reads, writes, builds things, and spends time outdoors with her two furry kids, Leo and Tug.

Invite Kay to speak at your event


Cassie Perez

Senior Program Impact Manager

Cassie is the Senior Program Impact Manager at because I said I would and joined our team in September of 2015. She currently oversees our Chapter programming including High School Chapters and Correctional Chapters- working to build relationships with our Chapter sites and ensure the success of our programming.  In addition to overseeing chapters she also assists with special projects, developing relationships with partner facilities, and streamlining processes for programs. Cassie received a degree in 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 several months later. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and spending time with family, friends and her three cats- Moo, Luna and Nova.

 


Kelly Frietsch

Executive Assistant

Kelly is the Executive Assistant to the Founder.  Kelly has an extensive background in Administration.  She came to because I said I would from NOAA, where she specialized in preparing government travel.  She spent a great deal of her career with the Tampa Bay Times as an Executive Assistant, where she focused on Special Projects and Public Relations.  Kelly has served on the Board of Directors for two local non-profit organizations dedicated to animal welfare.  She believes everyone should give back to their community in a meaningful way.

Kelly was born and raised near Pittsburgh, PA.  She has lived in the Tampa Bay, FL area for over 20 years.  Her favorite season of the year is now Winter.  Kelly enjoys reading, drag racing, and spending time with her husband & their fur babies (two dogs and a cat).  She also enjoys tending to her chickens and vegetable gardens.


Andrea Martin

Operations Associate

Andrea comes to because I said I would after an early retirement from her favorite position ever- being a stay-at-home mom. She is a mom to 4 adult children, 2 daughters and 2 sons that both gained their wings in 2022. She was promoted to Grandma for the first time in 2012 and now has 7 grandchildren. Andrea has an associate degree in accounting technology and spent decades in the workforce. For Andrea, nothing compares to the satisfaction of her mom/grandma status. After a year with 2 tragic losses, she believes that finding her position at because I said I would was meant to be. It was the exact message she needed to hear at the most perfect time. She looks forward to being a part of such a great movement.


Robin Neorr

Fundraising and Development Coordinator

Robin is the Fundraising and Development Coordinator at because I said I would. She is an enthusiastic relationship builder, collaborating closely with board members, supporters, and staff to execute fundraising strategies and events. Her career journey includes diverse experiences, ranging from recruitment at a financial institution to working at John Carroll University while completing her degree, and serving as the Customer Relationship Manager for a local startup. She has a 20-year history of volunteering for various nonprofits, including the Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, and The Arthritis Foundation. She has also served as PTA president, fundraising lead, and room parent at her children’s schools.

Robin lives in Cleveland with her husband and three children. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from John Carroll University. Some of her favorite things are laughing, traveling, attending her kids’ regattas and speedskating meets, begrudgingly watching Star Wars, Lego, and going on Sunday morning hikes.


Elise Tuck

Director of Human Resources

Elise is the Director of Human Resources at because I said I would. Her passion is connecting policy to human experience and helping because I said I would citizens feel they belong at and in their work.  Elise comes from 6 years of non-profit healthcare background. She has also worked with start-up organizations and Fortune 500 companies to develop organizations and employee programs both on-site and as a consultant. She has a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in human resources management from Central Michigan University. She is a SHRM mentor with the Denver chapter and volunteers for women’s and children’s causes.

As a native of Michigan, Elise moved to Denver to pursue a nature-focused lifestyle and loves to be outside as much as possible, but she’ll always have a soft spot for the mid-west and classifies her personality as “mid-west nice”. She loves spending quality time with family and friends, and reading daily to improve her mind and learn new HR concepts.


Larene Hall

Guest Relations and Event Planner

Larene is the Guest Relations and Event Planner at because I said I would. Her interest in guest relations began at a very young age. As a child, she spent weekends at her family’s small motel and restaurant. This began her love of sales, interacting with people, and a solid understanding of the importance of creating positive guest relations for future opportunities.
Whether it be planning a specialty-themed bridal shower, a wedding, an anniversary party, or a group mystery motorcoach day trip, she absolutely loves the opportunity to hone her creative skills to plan one-of-a-kind special events. Larene earned her bachelor’s degree from Ohio University. Her career journey includes a vast range of experiences, focusing on entrepreneurial interests.

Larene lives in Coshocton with her husband, three adult children, and grandchildren. She enjoys sharing her love of animals and the outdoors with others. Her favorite things are creating new recipes for her family gatherings, photography, attending her grandchildren’s extracurricular activities, crafting, and creating beautiful floral arrangements from her flower garden. She is also a travel enthusiast with a passion for travel to new and exciting destinations.


Interested in joining our staff?
Check out our open opportunities!

Volunteers and Interns

Volunteers are the backbone of our organization. Since 2012 we have distributed more than 11.3 million Promise Cards to over 150 different countries. We have also started Chapters around the United States and have created 7 Character Education Lesson Plans which are free to download. This would not have been possible without our volunteers.

Pat Bakos

Chief Volunteer

In 2014, Pat saw a newspaper article stating that because I said I would needed volunteers to count 10 cards that were being mailed to people who requested them. She has been volunteering ever since. Now Pat guides 2 wonderful groups of developmentally disabled adults who prepare the mailings. Pat states this is her favorite part of the week.

When she is not volunteering at because I said I would, Pat enjoys volunteering at other nonprofits, reading, selling her gem trees at craft shows and gardening.

 


Meg Ostrowksi

Volunteer Associate

Meg was drawn to because I said I would with a deep belief that promises made and kept build stronger relationships and reduce suffering. Meg makes a meaningful impact by serving the organization with her years of work, volunteer, and life experience.

 

 


Interested in joining our staff?
Check out our open opportunities!

Alumni

Kimchi1a

Kimchi Sheen

Chief Promise Dog

Our office dog Kimchi was the daughter of our Founder, Alex Sheen. Her black and white colors match our brand and the essence of a promise perfectly. Promises are either kept or broken, there is little grey area. She loved to visit our rooms throughout the day for progress updates and official petting time. Kimchi spent 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 was 14 years old when she passed in 2020. RIP, baby girl.