Meet the Team

In alphabetical order

Arthur Schwartz

President | E-mail Arthur

Arthur has been leading Character.org since January 2020. For 15 years, he was an executive at the John Templeton Foundation (1995-2009) where he had the opportunity to catalyze research on youth purpose, forgiveness, gratitude, altruism, and grit. He also collaborated with Martin E.P. Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania to energize the field of positive psychology. He proudly served as the Senior Scholar at the United States Air Force Academy (2010-2012), where he chaired the team that developed the Academy's current conceptual framework for developing “leaders of character.” Most recently, he served as Professor of Leadership Studies and Founding Director of the Oskin Leadership Institute at Widener University (2012-2019). Arthur’s current research focuses on the dynamics of moral courage. He received his doctorate in adolescent moral development from Harvard University.

I love aphorisms and maxims. Years ago I heard one that continues to shape my daily thoughts, feelings, and behavior: "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care."



Heather Cazad

Director, National Forum; Director, Communications | E-mail Heather

Heather is responsible for all Character.org communications including web and social media content. She also directs our National Forum, working closely with all keynote and breakout session speakers. Heather has been with Character.org since 2013. She received her bachelor's degree from Marshall University and her master's in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon University. She and her husband, Matt, love to travel and play with their cat and dog, Luna and Dodger.

My goal in life has always been to help others be their best selves by setting good examples, by supporting and encouraging, by displaying honesty, courage, strength, and compassion. By focusing on my own character, I truly believe I can positively affect others.


Dean D'Ambrosi

Executive Vice President | E-mail Dean

Dean manages the overall operations of Character.org, including finance, accounting, and our membership database. He has held leadership positions at the National Association for Printing Leadership, Epicomm, and Idealliance. A graduate of Monmouth University with a dual degree in Business Management and Finance, Dean enjoys fishing, playing golf, and exploring DC with his wife Dina and son Nicholas.

I've always felt your character is your most valuable asset. This belief was instilled in me by my father, my greatest mentor.


Tamra Nast

Director, Training & Coaching | E-mail Tamra

Tamra inspires schools to learn more about and apply The 11 Principles Framework for Schools. Her background as a teacher, school counselor, parent, and character coordinator provides a wealth of experience as she teaches, coaches, and supports educators to embed service learning, intrinsic motivation, and character development into their schools and districts worldwide. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor who enjoys spending time with her family. 

My parents and mentors model doing their best with compassion and character. My life experiences have also impacted me to make a difference in the lives of others. I am inspired by Mother Theresa's message:
"I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples."


Nanette Nathan

Administrator, Schools of Character & Promising Practices | E-mail Nanette

Nanette supports our Schools of Character and Promising Practices programs. She has 22 years of administrative experience, including technical knowledge in all aspects of customer service and informational databases. Nanette loves to cook, read, and host family gatherings. She has three beautiful grandchildren who bring her so much joy.

My parents always instilled in me "Get to know a person for yourself not just what others tell you." Their advice has given me friendships that have lasted over 45 years. It makes me smile just thinking about it.


Rayna Smith

Vice President, People & Resource Development | E-mail Rayna

Rayna cultivates and sustains our relationships with donors and volunteers across all our program areas. She attended Howard University and received her MBA at Trinity University. Rayna is a mother of 3, a foodie, and an avid lover of the arts. She enjoys D.C. museums with her family, creating artwork with her children, and sharing a delicious meal with family and friends.

In life people may not always remember what you did, but they will always remember the way you made them feel. Kindness is a lasting memory that we all have the power to create.



Lori Soifer

Director, Schools of Character | E-mail Lori

Lori directs our Schools of Character program. She is a past President of the Birmingham Public Schools Board of Education (Michigan). Lori received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Eastern Michigan University and has worked as a behavior analyst. Lori believes in whole child, whole school, and whole community initiatives. She enjoys knitting, international space station spotting, and spending time with her family. She currently chairs the board of BirminghamNEXT, a non-profit organization enriching the lives of the 50+ population in her community.

A kind word can make all the difference - for our children and each other.