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 150 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.
Alex’s promises include:
Walking 245 miles across the entire state of Ohio in under 10 days to fulfill a promise to the three Cleveland women who were held captive for 10 years.
Committing to volunteer at 52 different nonprofit organizations in a single year and honoring his word.
Promising children with cancer trips to Disneyland and personally delivering 100 tickets.
Driving through the night to deliver disaster relief aid to the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Volunteering in Ferguson, Missouri on Thanksgiving after looters destroyed small businesses.
Alex’s work has been featured on CNN, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, TODAY Show, Good Morning America, NPR, Fox News, Los Angeles Times, CBS Nightly News and many other programs. He has been featured on the cover of Spirit Magazine, honored as a Steve Harvey “Harvey’s Hero” and was the closing TED speaker at TEDxUtica and TEDxYouth@Austin. Alex’s efforts in social media were featured in BuzzFeed’s “Most Important Viral Videos of 2013.” Alex’s posts have made the #1 spot on the front page of Reddit.com over 10 times.
As a nationally respected thought leader, Alex spoke to over 90 organizations in 2014. His keynotes were attended by as many as 8,500 attendees in a single event. 100% of his speaking engagement fees are paid to the nonprofit. He does not accept commercial sponsorships or endorsements.
Dale is a practitioner scholar bridging the worlds of academia and practice. He has an extensive business background that includes 15 years in the franchising industry and nearly 10 years with a global multi-billion dollar industrial organization. He is an Adjunct Professor at Walsh University teaching Sustainability achieved through Organizational Change & Development and a Research Advisor in the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. Dale is the President of Organizational Development Connection, a professional association in NE Ohio and on the EPS Advisory Board at the Weatherhead School of Management. He holds a dual Management/Marktng degree from Walsh University and a Master of Science in Positive Organization Development and a Doctorate of Management both from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH.
Geeg Wiles is the voice, caretaker and keeper of chronicles for Ahab’s Adventures.
An average year for Geeg and his partner consists of such undertakings as jumping out of planes, rafting gnarly white water rapids, swimming at Black Canyon National Park, taking in the historic buildings of Stockholm, exploring the falls of the Upper Peninsula, hitchhiking through Patagonia, volunteering at the Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station, and being 1.5 out of 5 people to smell the Iowa State Fair’s Butter Cow. All of this on-the-ground “work” contributes to a larger story, which has been in the care of Geeg’s family for over seven decades.
At the mention that Geeg has accomplished these feats with “his partner,” you may have assumed that relationship was of a romantic sort, but that’s not the case. His travel companion is Captain Ahab; a three-foot-tall, forty-pound, bright yellow, wooden fisherman/wannabe pirate captain. Together, they are on a mission to motivate others by showing that if Captain Ahab can conquer his bucket list, then anyone can blast through their excuses and COMMANDEER LIFE!!! The business innovation behind Ahab's Adventures challenges the status quo, as does the way Geeg and Captain Ahab approach every single activity, interaction and idea. Of course, a lawn gnome was never intended to live the life Captain Ahab leads, nor should he be allowed to get behind so much red tape to accomplish his goals, but this dynamic duo’s entrepreneurial, “anything's possible,” thinking opens doors that would otherwise remained closed. By having re-imagined the purpose behind something old, neglected and even ordinary, Geeg inspires others to find the extraordinary in their own lives and seize a refreshing outlook on what’s possible.
Outside his professional life, Geeg is a cross between a white water raft guide and a biology lab technician and instructor.
Greg is the founder of Cover2 Resources, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit dedicated to providing education and advocacy for families struggling with opioid addiction. Cover2 Resources produces the PPT podcasts, a podcast series about People, Places and Things making a difference in the opioid epidemic. Additionally, Greg and Cover2 have identified and helped implement numerous programs to help fight the opioid epidemic in Northeast Ohio.
Greg has more than 36 years of IT industry sales and management experience. In 1999 Greg founded e-Business Express, an e-commerce consulting and integration service provider. On January 1, 2015, e-Business Express rebranded as 216Digital, Inc. a full service, market leading digital agency in Cleveland with a portfolio of over 500 clients.
Prior to founding e-Business Express, Greg was an Associate Director for Ernst & Young, a Big-five accounting firm. During most of the ‘90’s, Greg held sales and management positions with Unitech Systems, a Chicago-based mainframe software company. In 1995 he moved to London to establish the UK-based company for Unitech, where he served as Managing Director. In 1988 Greg went to work for Computer Associates, where he advanced from top-ranking salesman to district manager during his 3-year relationship with the company. Upon graduation from Kent State University in 1981 with a BBA in Management Information Systems, Greg joined the Tandy Corporation as an Account Executive, moving up the ranks to District Manager during his 7 years with the company. Greg is an avid sportsman, and enjoys boating, skiing, running and golf. He has two children and two grandchildren. Greg resides in Hudson, Ohio with his wife Lori.
Jamie Newhall is a senior multimedia producer at The University of Akron. His work includes video production and photography, skills he most enjoys using to create documentaries.
Since childhood, Jamie has tinkered and experimented with electronics. He is particularly fond of audio electronics and building speakers. He is also an avid woodworker and hobbyist who delights in solving technical problems.
His keen interest in solving technical problems led to his recent work to recreate a device to play wire recordings. The project generated media interest both locally and globally. Jamie is a recipient of the 2017 Society of Ohio Archivists Merit Award for his work on the device.
Jim Mullen joined United Way of Summit County in May 2015 as the seventh president and CEO in the organization’s 97-year history. His leadership direction focuses on systematic change and growth accomplished through strong volunteer leadership, innovative approaches and long term community solutions.
Jim has spent much of his career in the United Way network where he has directed key teams in charge of multimillion dollar fundraising efforts. Beginning in 2007 at United Way of Greater Cleveland, Jim served as senior manager of resource development where he led a professional team who raised annual campaign funds totaling more than $40 million each year. He moved to United Way of Metropolitan Nashville in 2011 where he served as director of workplace giving. There he oversaw the organization’s largest campaign increase in its 90-year history generating more than $1.3 million in new dollars over two years.
Beyond his fundraising acumen, Jim has extensive experience in organizational management. Prior to his work with United Way, he owned and operated a very successful small business in Lakewood, Ohio and worked as executive director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Cleveland.
Jim graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a bachelor degree, and received a mini master of business administration degree from Belmont University. He is an active community volunteer. In both Nashville and in Northeast Ohio, he was a member of United Way’s Young Leaders Society and the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Jim’s past service also includes membership in the Young Professionals of Nashville, St. Henry’s Men’s Club, St. Augustine Health Ministries and the City of Lakewood Council for Health and Human Services.
Jon Keppel was born in Akron, Ohio and has traveled the Western world reflecting deeply on the art of our time. He holds a BFA in Sound Art from The Ohio State University and is a member of the Artists of Rubber City in Akron. As an artist, musician and writer, Jon has activated spaces both real and virtual across Ohio and around the world over the course of his 37 plus years on this planet. From busking in France and Spain to exhibiting experimental video as a part of the Wexner Center’s programming in Columbus, Ohio, Jon has continually evolved with the technology and ideas present in our world. For Jon, art is at least a life long journey and is something to be cherished as a quality of being human. To put it another way, there is an innate value in being human and art is a reflection of that. Loving one’s self and serving the universe are two tenets or keys of his artistic philosophy and life practice. It is his belief that they make for a fulfilling life. The spontaneous and spirited combination of these two elements forms what he calls the Artspark. The Artspark is not something that you can force or foresee. You can prepare for it but it will by nature transcend your preparedness though that does not mean that you should not prepare. It is a paradox and it is beautiful, ugly and mysterious all at the same time.
Kara Ulmer is the Director of the World Relief Akron office, a refugee resettlement agency. Since opening the office in early 2015, the office has helped to resettle 260 refugees in our city. Prior to World Relief, Kara directed the international non-profit, Freedom Stones International, a social-enterprise working with over 100 human trafficking survivors or at risk artisans in Ghana, West Africa, Thailand, and Cambodia. Before beginning work in the community development field, Kara was Director of Strategic Planning & Analytics for Barclays Bank in England, one of the top 10 largest international banks. She currently lives in Akron, Ohio and has helped start local girls programs in the Summit Lake area through South Street Ministries.
Marc is a business leader, owner, entrepreneur, mentor, and community volunteer. Throughout his professional endeavors, Marc has played the role of catalyst, the individual from whom the growth, energy and vision for success have come. He has consistently been the driver behind the continuous improvement that have characterized the performance of his clients and employers.
As founder of the Vector Group and co-founder of The Client Experience Institute, his boutique advisory firms serve privately owned businesses as well as the professional service providers who are vital to the success of going concerned enterprises.
As the past President and COO of Corporate United, he was able to deploy a unique buy-sell commerce model that helped save Fortune 1000 companies millions of dollars by more effectively leveraging their enterprise-wide spend. This resulted in the company being selected by INC 5000 as one of the fastest growing companies throughout the United States for eight consecutive years.
His business leadership experience spans over 20 years, of which, Marc spent half of his career leading both domestic as well as international organizations inclusive of Molson Companies Limited, GEA Tuchenhagen and Watlow Industries.
Marc is a graduate of University of Missouri – St. Louis and has participated in the advanced leadership program at the Kellogg’s School of Management.
Marc is an active mentor with JumpStart and is a columnist for Smart Business Network authoring articles on advisory board formation, relationship capital advancement and family business succession.
Marc serves on numerous boards inclusive of The DiGeronimo Companies, Additive Engineering Solutions, American Cancer Society, and Life Is Good No Matter What. His past board engagement includes the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE), National Machine Aerospace, SGS Precision Tools, Strategic Account Management Association, and Beverage Machinery and Manufacturing Association.
Marc’s true passion is helping others and assisting them in finding greater meaning and purposefulness with their professional, as well as, personal endeavors. Evolving from success to significance is a never-ending journey and welcome the opportunity to lend a hand.
Rachel Lovell, PhD, is sociologist and methodologist who studies gender-based violence and victimization, in particular sexual assault, human sex trafficking and sex work, and intimate partner violence. Her current research involves examining the unsubmitted (“backlogged”) sexual assault kits in Cuyahoga County, Ohio and specialized dockets for human sex trafficking victims. She is a Senior Research Associate at the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Lovell received her Ph.D. in sociology from The Ohio State University in 2007. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sociology from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
Raynard is the founder and director of Akron based non-profit, The Packard Institute, Inc., working with generations of area families and providing recovery-oriented systems of care since 1992. Raynard is a former U.S. Army paratrooper, and has finished over 150 marathons and ironman triathlons. He is also working on his own long term recovery: 25 years! Raynard has two daughters, Sonja (24) and Magdalena (8).
The Akronist recently shared an article about Packard, called ‘Native son’ reflects on wild boy past, helping young people recover from substance abuse. Read it here.
Tyron Hoisten is an ordained minister, an actor, a writer, an artist—in short, he is many things. Hoisten, an only child, is a native Akronite. His early years were characterized by love, joy and creativity. From the very first time that his gifted hands grasped a pencil, Hoisten has been drawing. His artistic abilities opened many doors, including one to Miller South: School of the Performing Arts—and another to Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh's 2006 Safety Kids Calendar contest, which awarded him grand prize and his winning artwork featured on several billboards.
In 2007, Hoisten shifted focus to a different artistic medium: the theatre. After performing in the Weathervane Theatre's revival of Antigone, Hoisten decided to channel his knack for storytelling to write a play that would highlight his comedic abilities, as well as spread messages of hope. At the age of 16, he wrote, directed and starred in his first play, Jersey City Baptist, which opened to a full house at Second Baptist Church. This feat gave Hoisten a different kind of notoriety, including the first of many profiles in various local news publications. One write-up caught the eye of an author, whom Hoisten would collaborate with to stage her novel about domestic violence titled, Is Real Love worth My Life?
Hoisten's style of dramatizing and spreading awareness about social issues made way for a commissioning by Akron Public School's Project RISE to write a series of plays focusing on teen homelessness. Since graduating from Ellet High School in 2010, to 2015, Hoisten penned five impactful plays for Project RISE—three of which received major recognition from the Akron Beacon Journal.
While having performed in the smallest of churches and the largest of theaters, including the Akron Civic Theatre, Hoisten still remains humble and rooted.
In 2013, Hoisten gained employment with the City of Akron's Firestone Park Community Center, where he creates theatre programming for community involvement. He is also employed with Urban Ounce of Prevention, Inc., where he facilitates art, drama and writing workshops for at-risk youth.
February of 2016 saw Hoisten's proudest moment as he became an ordained minister. Going forward, Hoisten will continue studies to earn a BA in English Literature—and will also seek more television opportunities to add to his numerous appearances on TCT, a Christian network, and The Hallmark Channel's Home & Family. In his free time, Hoisten enjoys cooking and making selections for his newly formed Inspiration Book club. One of Hoisten’s favorite bible verses is Psalms 37:3 Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
William H. Considine, president and CEO of Akron Children’s Hospital for 37 years, has dedicated both his career and personal life to improving pediatric care and the quality of life of children and families. He is one of the longest-tenured hospital chief executives in the country and is an internationally known advocate for issues affecting children’s health and well-being. He is widely consulted by policymakers in Columbus and Washington, D.C., and he has served on the boards of many healthcare, educational and cultural organizations.
Under his leadership, the hospital has grown into one of the nation’s premier independent, integrated pediatric healthcare delivery systems. Akron Children’s today is a $1 billion enterprise with over 5,000 employees. Its clinical staff provides care at nearly 850,000 patient visits annually through programs at two hospital campuses and a large network of primary, urgent care and specialty care locations. The system also comprises a pediatric home care company, captive insurance entity, school health business and charitable foundation.
Considine is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. He is a past chairman of the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions and served as a member of its Council on Child Advocacy. He served as chairman of the Child Health Corporation of America and was a member of the American Hospital Association’s Maternal Child Health Governing Council. He is a member of the Children’s Hospital Association, and he currently serves as chairman of the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association. He is a past chairman of the Children’s Miracle Network Board and served on the Governor’s Advisory Council on Health Care Payment Innovation, as well as the Ohio Hospital Association’s Task Force on Healthcare Transformation.
In 2009, Considine was inducted into the Business Hall of Fame. He is a member of the Ohio Business Roundtable, chairman of the Austen Biolnnovation Institute in Akron and was appointed to the Board of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in 2011. Considine continues to serve on the boards of numerous Akron-area community organizations and has been honored by many of these, including the American Lung Association, March of Dimes, Mental Health Association of Summit County, Akron Public Schools and many others. In 2011, the Akron Community Foundation presented him with the Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award in recognition of his many years of community service. In 2014, both the United Way and Akron Children’s Hospital presented Considine with their Distinguished Service Awards.
Considine has been honored by his high school alma mater, Archbishop Hoban High School, as well as the University of Akron, where he received his undergraduate degree in 1969 and The Ohio State University College of Public Health where he received his master’s degree in 1971. He served as a lieutenant in the United States Public Health Service and holds a master’s degree in health science administration from The Ohio State University. He has received two honorary degrees: a doctorate in humane letters from The University of Akron and a doctor of science (honoris causa) from Northeast Ohio Medical University.
Throughout his entire career in healthcare, he has embraced the philosophy of servant leadership. He has consistently been a proactive voice for children, a trusted mentor, exemplary role model and engaging storyteller. Akron Children’s Hospital has a proud 125-year history of caring for children, and the hospital’s mission of service has thrived under his guidance.
Considine lives in Akron with Rebecca, his wife of 45 years. They have three grown children and two grandchildren.