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Have You Met Kristine Kassel?

Admittedly a lifelong dog lover, Kristine Kassel’s volunteer service for Gabriel’s Angels comes from her heart.

“I look up to Pam Gaber, it’s been so enlightening to see someone doing something they feel passionate about; she’s been such an inspiration! And being on the Gabriel’s Angels board has been an enjoyable  experience. All who are involved are a pleasure to be around, just full of positive energy. I like to say that it’s one service I do for me!”

This native Arizonan and insurance business owner met the founder of Gabriel’s Angels, Pam Gaber, through a women’s business owners’ meeting shortly after the nonprofit began. “Then I ran into her again at the airport, of all places. After so many times of telling her ‘I’ll see you at another event’ I finally I said that I’d love to help out in the organization.”

Since 2000, Gabriel’s Angels mission has been “to deliver healing pet therapy to abused, neglected and at-risk children, nurturing their ability to love, and trust, thereby freeing them from the cycle of violence.” Presently Gabriel’s Angels serves 13,000 children in Arizona, with the goal to expand the program to meet the needs of thousands more that need their services.

As a lifelong resident, Kristine likes best that in Arizona she is surrounded by friends and family, and also appreciates the climate. “This is also a great place to do business! We are a friendly community, and business people here tend to help each other. And when I started my own insurance agency, I felt the support of my family. At my previous insurance job I thought ‘I can do this, and I can do it better!’ I’m grateful I could step out on my own.”

Again Kristine emphasizes that “The strongest aspect of Gabriel’s Angels is that they have a great staff that works well together. And they have a large number of volunteers who believe in Pam, and believe in the organization. Their sense of community is the best thing going for them- everyone is helpful, friendly, and relaxed, and I think this starts with the leader. I can’t say enough nice things about Pam and what she has done with this nonprofit.”

Kassel herself is a friendly people-person, and is married with one stepdaughter. She remarks that “I’ve always loved dogs.  The Akita I had for 11 years died the day after my wedding. I’ll always feel that she knew she could pass on now that I had someone to take care of me!”

With her many nonprofit commitments, Kristine is clear that “I have a strong philosophy of volunteering. Almost half of my time is spent volunteering as compared to my work life. I believe that the busier you are, the better you do in life.  And then it helps to know that you’re going to make a difference in this world. I believe everyone should add volunteering to their plate!”

What are your local volunteer activities? I am involved with several different groups. Currently I am on the Tempe Chamber Board, the President of the Phoenix NAWBO chapter, the Gabriel’s Angels Board and Tempe Leadership. I also do mentoring through the APS AAAM ES and Phoenix Chamber Athena Powerlink Program.

Who inspired you to give back to your community? My parents

Which fundraising event is your favorite? Boy’s and Girls Club of Scottsdale Wine/Food Event at Kierland

Favorite restaurant? Cowboy Ciao in Scottsdale

Who do you most admire, and why? Women today who can juggle their family life and their career while keeping a positive attitude!!

If your life were a movie, who would you want to play your part? Lisa Kudrow

Do you have any pets? Yes, one Labradoodle named Roxie

When you move, what will your home tell its next owner about you? We like to entertain.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned through the years? Patience

What was your first job? Concessions at ASU

What is your greatest indulgence? Macaroni and Cheese anytime

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? Starting my own business 14 years ago.

What is your most treasured possession? My wedding ring

What is the quality you most like in people? Kindness

Favorite books/Writers? Anything by Danielle Steel

What is the trait you most deplore in others? Rudeness

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Hanging out with family and friends, Hiking or walking my dog, and relaxing by the pool or beach.

What would we be most surprised to know about you? I was a fashion merchandising major at ASU.

What is the best advice you ever received? Work on your business instead of in your business.

What are some challenges facing nonprofits? The economy, continuing to reduce expenses to stay afloat and to find committed volunteers.

Kristine is a joy to know and work with! I think of her as a joyful person who always has a smile and kind word for everyone. It is gratifying to have her so involved with Gabriel's Angels and active in our community. Keep up the great work you do, Kristine!
Connie McNeel