Don Wismer is the Director of Shows & Education for Aquage a professional hair-care manufacture based in Chagrin Falls, OH which is sold only through independently owned salons & day spas. With over 15 years in the professional beauty industry, Don’s major role is to develop and mentor the Aquage educational team, plan and execute their educational events and trade shows, oversee their PR endeavors and produce all their photo & video shoots. Two years ago, Don helped launch their very successful Aquage Master Class Academy which has raised the standard of education in the professional hair-care industry. While humble and proud of his success, Don believes knowledge is an energy source we can all tap into, to inspire growth and the secret to elevating ones expertise lies in our ability to share our knowledge and together we can make an impact on our personal and professional lives. Over the course of his career, Don has continuously expanded his technical skill set, adapting to emerging technologies and changing business environments to help keep Aquage ahead of their competition.
Openly gay, Don knows first hand the harm and damage bullying can cause as he was consistently bullied growing up. Although Don’s hectic work schedule had kept him from doing a lot of hands-on volunteer work, he has given back in many other ways. Don has always promoted equal rights for the LGBT community and been a champion of uplifting self-image so people have the confidence to move forward in a positive manner. Alarmed over the past few years with the rise of LGBT teen bullying & suicide, Don knew he could no longer sit on the side lines. He knew Dare2Care was his calling to create impactful and courageous conversations and begin to make change in the Greater Cleveland community. Don is proud to serve as President of Dare2Care working along side an amazing team who are sharing their knowledge and expertise to make a change for our LGBT Youth.
Liz O’Donnell, PhD
Liz O’Donnell is a professional clinical counselor in private practice in both Westlake and Beachwood, Ohio specializing in infertility, mind-body/integrative therapies, individual, and couple counseling. Liz has been working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender clients for over 15 years. She began her career as a physical therapist, later earning her post-graduate certification as a neonatal developmental specialist. She is an innovative change agent and has been instrumental in bringing new ideas, educational opportunities, and caregiving strategies to many organizations including: Children’s Hospital of the Fox Valley, The Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland State University, and the Center for Sexual and Relationship Health. Liz has been a board member with Planned Parenthood, Resolve (National Infertility Organization), the Wisconsin Association for Perinatal Care, and is a founding partner of Dare2Care. Liz was a professional moderator of the Emotional Issues/Grief and Loss Board, for 7 years with INCIID and has been an active volunteer with The Human Rights Campaign since 2007. Liz also provided volunteer mental health services in Alabama and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina through The American Red Cross. Liz is deeply committed to her work in the nonprofit sector. Liz is the mother of two sons, one of whom is straight and one gay, and looks forward to the time when all of America’s citizens can live safely and equally. She has worked tirelessly to help manifest the mission of Dare2Care and, as co-founder with President Don Wismer, is proud to be a member of such a great team.
Liz was born and raised in London, England. She received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto (PT), her Master of Science in Education (Community Counseling) from the University of Wisconsin, and her Doctorate in Urban Education, (Specialization Counseling), from Cleveland State University. Liz is Associate Professor, Family and Community Medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University and serves as Vice President of Dare2Care.
Stacy Bauer, JD
Ms. Bauer is a founding principal of the law firm BauerGriffith, LLC. She graduated cum laude from The George Washington University National Law Center, and received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Miami University. Ms. Bauer serves on the Board of Directors of Dare2Care, and the advisory board of Douglas MacArthur Girls Leadership Academy and the Lake Erie Silver Dolphins.
Joe has dedicated his life to helping others avoid or overcome obstacles which he has personally experienced. As a member of the Cleveland HRC steering committee for 7 years, Joe coordinated events to provide opportunities for the entire LGBT Community to come together in a fun atmosphere. He also lobbied Congress for 5 years in an effort to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”
Joe graduated with a BSBA in Accounting from OSU and later received his EMBA from CSU. As a former CPA, Joe has had a long professional career in then Commercial Real Estate Industry. He began his career as an Auditor/Consultant for Deloitte, from which he was recruited by KeyBank. Joe left his role as the Director of Real Estate Services at KeyBank and is today a Real Estate Manager for Progressive Insurance in Mayfield, OH. Joe resides in Chesterland with his partner of 20 years. Joe will be functioning in the role of Treasurer for Dare2Care.
Joseph A Mineo is an award winning event designer creating fabulous designs from Cleveland to Pittsburgh and beyond. Joe lived in New York City and studied theater at NYU before returning to the area to open his own floral business. What began as a small shop in downtown Youngstown, Ohio, has – on the cusp of its 25th anniversary – grown to become the area’s premier florist, retail showroom, and the nationally recognized event design company “Something New Florist and Events”. Joe is providing all of Dare2Care’s event design.
After nearly 13 years in the management field, Chris left his former job to pursue a career in education. He received both his undergraduate degree in English and his master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Cleveland State University. He currently teaches English Language Arts and English as a Second Language at Lakewood High School, which he has proudly called his second home since 2008. During his first year as an educator, Chris was selected to participate in the Ohio Performance Assessment Pilot Project with other educators throughout the state. He continues to extend his work with curriculum development by working as a member of the English department’s course of study team. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Chris is also a test center supervisor, resident educator mentor, advisor to LHS’s Poetry Slam Club, and volunteer tutor to English language learners alongside a local non-profit group.
As a Cleveland-area native, Chris is extremely happy to be servicing the community he grew up in and continues to call home. He loves the diversity of his school district and works hard to embed messages of tolerance, understanding, and acceptance into his curriculum. He is perhaps most proud of Diversity in Literature, the English elective course he created for students to explore topics related to social justice and civic responsibility. As a former victim of bullying himself, Chris is overjoyed to be working with Dare2Care as a mentor and cannot wait to provide guidance and support to the newest cohort of young scholars.
Matt has been the Executive Director of Global Youth Leadership Institute since the organization spun off from ISACS in December of 2005. He also has fifteen years of experience as an award winning English teacher and administrator at three high schools in Wisconsin, USA. Among his achievements, Matt has developed and improved many dynamic programs for students and teachers in the areas of community building, student discipline, and student leadership. He was also a part of many successful efforts to raise awareness the issues, race, class, religious pluralism and global awareness in schools. He has conducted successful student and teacher workshops at schools throughout the USA, as well as in Costa Rica, India, and Nigeria. Matt has guided GYLI from its beginnings with small groups of students in the US, to working with more than 500 participants every year from around the world. He models the collaboration that GYLI preaches, and this has allowed GYLI to work for the US State Department, World Learning, and other international organizations. Matt has presented widely on the major topics that have come out of his work for Global Youth Leadership Institute. His presentation credits include: Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference, National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) annual conferences, NAIS People of Color Conference, Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) Annual Conferences Association for Experiential Education (AEE) Annual Conferences, Association of Private Educators Nigeria, and among many others. Matt holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Boston College and a Master’s Degree in English from Northern Illinois University. He also has experience in the business world from work at United Parcel Service, DeKalb Genetics, Printstar Publishing in Wisconsin. He lives in suburban Milwaukee with his wife and their four children.
Tami is a real estate title examiner for a title company based in Cleveland, OH. However, she is lucky enough to be able to work for a company that allows their employees to telecommute, so she is able to work from home. She has been in this industry for over twenty years.
Being the adoptive mom of a bi-racial child, Tami has been dealing with race issues since her daughter came home. Her favorite saying has become “The outside is just a carrying case for all of the goodness inside”. It did not take long for their multi race family to adjust to comments and looks, but she was not prepared for her daughter to have to deal with it head on. However, they are raising a strong, confident young lady, who is able to handle questions and comments with pride. They are very lucky to have a very strong support system, and as Tami’s sister said when their daughter came home, “She will be raised with a united front of love”. And she has been. Believing that everything happens for a reason, Tami is sure her daughter was meant to be hers, and just had to find a way to get to her. She is currently working on a children’s storybook about adoption.
Tami believes that a person’s character is measured by how they help someone that cannot help themselves, especially children and animals. She is excited to be on the Dare2Care team, as she is sure she has found the perfect place to volunteer.