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Dina Kimmel, Owner and Founder of WRTS, LLC
Dina Kimmel is the CEO and Founder of We Rock the Spectrum, LLC. An autism mom, she is a passionate advocate for children, and has dedicated her life to developing and growing resources for the special needs population. In 2010, she opened the first We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym in Tarzana, California. Today, there are more than 60 locations worldwide.
During her college years, Dina studied business marketing and accounting. She has always been an entrepreneur, and even opened and ran her own successful retail stores for more than 17 years. When her son, Gabriel, was diagnosed with autism, she knew she had to change her life dramatically. She began working one-on-one with her son, seeking out the best treatments in speech, occupational, and behavioral therapies. Her extensive research into ASD led to a better understanding of the nutrition needs of children on the spectrum, which led to a discovery that Gabriel was gluten intolerant. To better support Gabriel, her passions, and her entrepreneurial spirit, Dina got to work opening the first sensory-safe gym of its kind.
We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym in Tarzana, California saw instant success with the special needs community. On the wall of her gym, Dina put the motto “Finally a place where you never have to say I’m sorry!” This message continues to resonate with parents of special needs children all over the world. Dina’s aim was to provide a safe, nurturing, and fun environment where children of all abilities could play and grow together. Her mission of full inclusion has now become a global movement.
After receiving overwhelming support, Dina decided to franchise her idea. In the beginning of 2014, Gail Field, an autism mom in Boca Raton, Florida, signed on as the first franchisee. From there, more autism moms, advocates, and therapists reached out to learn how they too could bring We Rock the Spectrum to their home communities. In 2016, Dina’s vision of an international expansion became a reality with the opening of We Rock the Spectrum – Ara Damansara in Malaysia. She also created a franchisee model with a lower cost entry, sensory bus division called “We Rock on Wheels.” This concept allows franchisees to bring sensory play directly to customers.
Dina resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Tim Kimmel, and her children, Sophia and Gabriel. She has been featured on NBC and CBS news, the Huffington Post, The Franchise Times, LA Parent, and Autism Live. She was the 2014 recipient of The Comerica Bank Women of Entrepreneurship Award, given to her by the LA Lakers. We Rock the Spectrum was nominated for San Fernando Valley Business Journal’s Business of the Year Award and was the recipient of the United Chambers of Commerce Small Business Award. In 2016, Dina was honored at the San Fernando Business Journal’s Women in Business awards and the Los Angeles Business Journal’s Women’s Summit awards.
Gail Field – Chief Operating Officer for We Rock the Spectrum Worldwide
Gail Nobile Field is the Chief Operating Officer for We Rock the Spectrum Worldwide. A mother of three, lover of Italian food, and passionate Warrior Mom, Gail’s journey working with special needs families began after her son, Jayson, was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
Upon Jayson’s diagnosis, Gail began looking for any way in which she could help her son. She searched locally for places where she could take Jayson in to play that would accommodate his sensory diet. Unfortunately, no such place existed in South Florida. One day, Gail’s search led her to a gym in Southern California called We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym.
Through a series of calls and emails with Corporate about franchising opportunities, Gail was able to meet with the Founder and CEO of We Rock the Spectrum, Dina Kimmel, on December 24th, 2013. Two days later, Gail signed the papers that would officially make her the first We Rock the Spectrum franchisee outside of California. Of all the places We Rock the Spectrum could open, South Florida just happened to be where Dina’s husband was from.
Thanks to Gail’s hard work and leadership, We Rock the Spectrum – Boca Raton immediately became popular, especially with the special needs community. Boca’s success helped recruit other passionate owners in the area, and soon there were locations in the Clearwater, Miami and Jupiter areas.
Kimmel recognized that Gail’s passion for the mission was infectious. Owners were going to her for tips on increasing their Facebook following, networking with local Mommy groups, and attending resource fairs. In December 2014, Dina announced We Rock the Spectrum – Boca Raton as the East Coast Regional Training Facility, bringing Gail into the Corporate Office.
The move to Corporate provided Gail with the opportunity to assist with the Project Management needed to open each location. She could do hands-on training with new owners and be the rock they needed as their dream of opening a We Rock the Spectrum transformed into a reality. With more success, her role continued to increase as the East Coast Corporate Office was built next door to her gym to better assist with the company growth.
John Field – Construction Consultant for We Rock the Spectrum Worldwide
Gail’s husband John Field is the Construction Consultant for We Rock the Spectrum Worldwide. An invaluable asset to our team, John has built our zip boxes and brought his amazing creativity and vision to our gyms. Together, John and Gail have become a vital part of We Rock the Spectrum’s growth.
Grace Covino, Project Manager
About three years ago I moved to beautiful California from Union, New Jersey. I come from a big family and have always had a passion for working with children. While in New Jersey, I went to school for early childhood and obtained my CDA (Child Development Associate) credential. I started working as a teacher’s assistant in a preschool, then soon after became head teacher of my own classroom. After eight wonderful years of working in a preschool environment I came to California to help nanny my four-year-old niece. During one of our daily walks around the neighborhood we came across We Rock the Spectrum – Woodland Hills. My niece was immediately drawn to it and after talking to the owner and learning all about the We Rock mission, so was I!
I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of. I applied for a position and began working at the grand opening of the gym. I worked at the Woodland Hills location for three years, where I became an assistant manager and then promoted to manager. In January 2017 I was given the amazing opportunity to work for the corporate office as the Assistant to Project Management. I love being able to work with the new owners and assist them in achieving their dreams of opening their own gym. I am now a mother myself of a beautiful one-year-old boy and truly understand firsthand the benefits of We Rock the Spectrum. I love how We Rock is a friendly, safe place where my son and all kids can be themselves and have the freedom to explore and develop. We Rock the Spectrum has given me the opportunity to be a positive role model and impact the lives of children of all different abilities. It has been an amazing experience working here and I am so proud to be part of the corporate team and the We Rock Family.
Shane was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. He attended Van Nuys High School and received his degree in Business Economics from UC Irvine. Shane has always had a knack for technology. In college, he developed a love for marketing and refined his passion during his internship with a digital marketing agency. Upon graduating from UC Irvine, he decided to combine his passions of technology and marketing by taking the role as the in-house Tech Specialist at the We Rock the Spectrum Corporate Office. He has become an integral part in assisting owners in accomplishing their marketing goals.
Shane has experienced firsthand the benefits of inclusion while attending CHIME Charter Elementary School, a model inclusion school in Southern California. During his time at CHIME Charter, he made many life-long friends some of which were bound to a wheelchair or had different learning disabilities. This was a humbling experience for Shane as he learned valuable lessons in both understanding and looking past people’s disabilities.
The nephew of Dina Kimmel, Owner and Founder of We Rock the Spectrum, Shane has been around the We Rock community since its humble beginnings. He attended many of his cousin’s birthday parties at the Tarzana location as well as other WRTS sponsored events. With his mom and both of his younger sisters working for We Rock the Spectrum before him, the only thing he was asking himself was “Why not join the We Rock Family too?!”
Patrice Hendy, Administrator
Patrice was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, California. With her mother being the youngest of seven and father being the youngest of sixteen, she was no stranger to being with kids. She automatically took the babysitting role to help out her older cousins while they worked and finished college. Patrice went to school for American deaf studies, but found herself at a crossroads. She wanted change, but did not know where to turn to. A fellow deaf studies student, Tina Norwood, the lead trainer for We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym Worldwide introduced her to the owner Dina Kimmel, in 2013. Patrice was pleasantly surprised on how great of a fit it was and how quickly she adapted to learning how to work with special needs children. Patrice immediately saw the vision and benefits of We Rock the Spectrum, and how it can help ALL children. Patrice states, “I absolutely love going to work every day and earning the trust of parents and their kids. This work provides such a rewarding feeling”.
Patrice started at the flagship location in Tarzana. In 2014 she was promoted to assistant manager at the Santa Monica location because of her dedication to We Rock. Her experience and organizational skills, and the lovely kind spirit she offered to clients and the gym teams became such a valuable asset.
Patrice is now thrilled to be given the opportunity to work in the corporate office. She is very excited to work alongside the CEO Dina Kimmel, and to see the new owners come on board and grow with the company by offering her support in training, Grand Openings and the Administration department.
John Canaday, Franchise Development Director
John is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Americas Franchising Group in Miami, Florida, a leading provider of franchise consulting services throughout the Americas. John has over 20 years of executive experience both domestically and internationally within sales, marketing, operations, business development and finance with leaders in the franchise, technology and medical industries.
John and his team at Americas Franchising Group provide franchise and consulting services at no cost to prospective individuals and investment groups. He found Dina Kimmel, the Founder of the We Rock the Spectrum franchise, through client work. After learning about We Rock, he knew he wanted his company to become its first and only franchise team. His experience and personal commitment to improving the lives of children with Spectrum Disorders is at the very heart of his company’s business relationship with We Rock the Spectrum.
Prior to founding Americas Franchising Group, John worked with many of the world’s largest and most respected brands throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America and Caribbean. His experience spans many market segments including Service Providers, Financial Services, Manufacturing, Retail and Public Sector. Throughout his career John held senior leadership positions at industry leading companies such as Cisco Systems, Akamai Technologies, Lithium Technologies and Physician Sales and Service. In these positions John was responsible for developing go to market strategies and execution plans while relentlessly focusing on team building and culture to drive results.
In addition to his role as Managing Director of Americas Franchising Group, John serves as the Chairman of the International Franchise Committee for The Global Trade Chamber based in Miami, Florida. He actively consults with business leaders from Chambers of Commerce around the world, advising them on opportunities for franchise ownership within their respective countries.
Outside of work, John and Veronica are active in their local church and enjoy travelling and spending quality time with the family. He is an Alumni of Washington State University where he served as Mortar Board President and held various offices within Honor Societies and The Intra Fraternal Council. He is actively engaged in philanthropic efforts supporting Autism Awareness and Haiti reconstruction.
Dana Aghassi, Marketing Director of My Brother Rocks the Spectrum Foundation
Dana Aghassi was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. During her young teenage years Dana loved to babysit and was happiest when she was surrounded by her family and friends.
Upon completion of her senior year at Taft High School, Dana decided to pursue her love of teaching. In 1995, after completing her child development hours at Pierce College, Dana started working as a teacher’s assistant at The Blvd School.
After a few years at The Blvd School, Dana was reunited with her longtime friend Henry Aghassi. Dana & Henry decided to tie the knot in 2000 and start building their own family, four years later their daughter Breanna was born. Dana started attending Everest College in 2008; graduating 12 months later with her Degree as a Medical Assistant. She loves working in the Medical field and helping people.
Two years later, Dana had another baby girl named Bailey. At this time she decided to take some time off of work and dedicate all her time to their two beautiful girls. Dana started taking Breanna to WRTS Tarzana for the Fun Fitness classes where she was first introduced to the dynamic nature of the gym.
Soon after the class session is when she met the founder of WRTS, Dina Kimmel, and asked her if she was hiring. Because of Dana’s “gift for gab” and strong selling skills, she was hired on a part time basis for the summer. Dana was amazed by the flexibility this opportunity afforded her. She was able to bring her children to the gym to play while she worked. Since that time, Dana has become the Manger Director of My Brother Rocks the Spectrum Foundation. She loves We Rock the Spectrum Kids’ Gym brand and her children call it their home away from home.
Melisa Weiss Stahl, Director of Audit and Compliance
Melisa is a mother of three to Shane, Sara, and Skyler. Two of her children are in college and Skyler is currently attending high school. Melisa has been married to her husband and entrepreneur, Bruce Stahl, for 23 years.
Melisa has a very impressive background in sales and advertising. In her early twenties, she began selling ad space in military base newspapers. Her career expanded to merchandising and management in her thirties and forties.
Melisa has seen firsthand the benefits of inclusion with all three of her children attending CHIME Charter, a model inclusion school in SoCal. When her little sister, Dina Kimmel, started We Rock the Spectrum Kids Gym, she was excited to be a part of a mission that she was able to see work at CHIME Charter. Melisa began running all of the camp programs at the flagship gym in Tarzana, CA and has recently become the new Director of Audit and Compliance where she conducts periodic internal audits to ensure compliance and procedures are followed. She also works with owners on developing risk management strategies. Melisa also helps launch new gyms all the way through to their Grand Openings and loves meeting and assisting new owners across the states with sales and productivity.
Juan Segarra, Business Operations Manager
Juan Segarra is an accomplished Information Technology (IT) and Telecommunications sales manager and professional engineer. He has worked for industry leaders such as Cisco Systems, Lucent Technologies and AT&T where he has held sales leadership positions. Some of his strengths include: his ability to dictate strategy based on the markets trends, his perseverance and his experience leading diverse, multinational and highly professional teams. He is recognized for delivering results, his analytical power and his high business ethics.
He led various multi-million dollar operations in the Caribbean, Central America and part of South America. Consistently delivered on revenue commitments and growth. Extensively collaborated with Business Partners to achieve strategic wins.
He currently lives in Miami, Florida and is involved in socially responsible business development consulting, active investing and increasing his overall awareness through constant and never ending training and traveling.
Arnon Arad is a seasoned educator, coach, counselor, and mentor. Arnon’s career in education began at age 14 when he became a counselor at a community camp. It was then that he knew his life’s path would be in education. Following college, Arnon taught in day schools in Florida, Las Vegas, New York and Los Angeles. He brought new, and innovative programs to all of these schools, sparking creativity and a love of learning within all his students. He infuses his love for the creative arts in his teaching and programs.
Above all and in all, Arnon has always been a mentor to all of his students. He is an educator because he believes that every child is special, every child has something to learn and something to teach, every child deserves to be seen and valued for who they are.
About We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym
We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym is committed to providing a safe, nurturing, and fun environment to foster learning, exploration and safe sensory experiences. Through our nonprofit My Brother Rocks The Spectrum Foundation, we provide social skills groups and activities for children across the spectrum.We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym provides children with a fun and motivational environment to help them in the areas of strength, movement, sensory processing, communication, positive behavior modification, social interactions, and self-care skills. Our unique equipment assists all children in their neurological growth and development.
Our activities, programs and retail location, The Rock Shop, make it possible for us to provide social and physical opportunities through state funded programs. As a result, WRTS is an amazing example of how we can help all children grow and develop by providing an inclusive environment.
Our Gyms Include:
- Suspended Equipment with Swings – for balance and vestibular treatment.
- Crash Mats and Crash Pillows – for fun, motor planning, and strength.
- Zip Line – for stress release and joint and body relaxation.
- Trampoline – for building leg and core strength.
- Indoor Play Structure – for climbing and increasing playground skills.
- Sensory-Based Toys – for improved auditory processing and fine motor skills.
- Fine Motor and Arts and Crafts Area – for improved hand-eye coordination.