Our Team

Patrick Yates - President & CEO - Animal Kingdom USA

Patrick has had 34 years of experience in retailing. In 1998 he left his position as Director of Northeast Operations for Sears Home Improvements to pursue a life-long devotion to animal and pet care. He opened Animal Kingdom, USA, an 11,000 square foot pet center in Brewster, NY and initiated the "Shelter Project", a program in which the pet store works with local animal shelters to care for and find new homes for abandoned and abused pets.

Patrick is also co-founder and chairman of Animal Kingdom USA Wildlife Rescue, a charitable foundation dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of injured and orphaned wildlife. He authors a weekly newspaper column "Critter Chatter" which advises pet owners about commonly encountered problems in animal care.

In 2009 Patrick accepted the position of President of Pinogy Marketing Group, an Internet and social media marketing firm which specializes in helping pet store owners to effectively use the Internet and social media to boost sales. Also in 2009 Patrick met Barry Spilchuk, founder of the You're My Hero® book series which chronicles the life-changing role unsung heroes have played in the lives of ordinary individuals. There joint passions for helping charitable organizations and their love of dogs was why they decided to collaborate on A Celebration of Man's Best Friend a new book in the You're My Hero® Series. "Working with Barry has been an honor and a privilege. To know that through this book and these inspiring stories we will be helping shelter and rescue animals all over the country, is a dream come true for me."

Patrick has a love for skydiving but his deepest passion is uniting a dog with a child. "One of the greatest joys in life for me is to help shelter and rescue dogs and find for them a loving new home," says Patrick. "To witness the excitement in a child's eyes when he or she adopts a new dog and to experience the thrill of knowing that this beautiful and loving animal is going home to a caring family has become my life's work."

Patrick is the father of three sons and lives in Virginia.


Barry Spilchuk - Founder & Partner - You're My Hero® Books

Barry is the first Canadian to coauthor a book in the international best selling book series - Chicken Soup for the Soul™. Barry's book -
A Cup of Chicken Soup for the Soul™ - sold over 60,000 copies in Canada and over 580,000 copies around the world.

Since 1990, Barry has been a professional speaker, trainer and facilitator for audiences all across Canada, the USA and the Philippines. Barry has been called - Canada's Dale Carnegie - and - Canada's Ambassador of Acknowledgement. He has appeared on stage with: Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Loretta Laroche, Dr. Phil, John Gray and Princess Zara Aga Khan.

Barry is proud to say, "With God's help - I am a Cancer Survivor!" In January 2009 Barry was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. By August 2009, he was given a cancer free diagnosis. His dance with cancer was aided and supported by his three loving children: Jamie, Chrissy and Mike; his wife - Karen; his parents; family; friends and a great team of doctors, nurses and hospital support staff.

In 2009, Barry was proud to combine forces with two people who possess the rarely combined qualities of GENIUS and CARING, Sarah Freeman and Sasha Marusich, to take the You're My Hero® book series to a global level.

Barry's personal business philosophies are simple and straight-forward:

  1. Serve the market in a way that it has never been served before.
  2. Never be involved in a business unless it has a large charity component.
  3. If you make a mistake - admit it - apologize - accept the consequences - amend it.
  4. Tell the truth - it's faster!
  5. Love what you do - or don't do it.
  6. "I wish you a life full of Joy, Happiness, Health and Prosperity!" - Barry Spilchuk


Sarah Freeman - Co-Founder & Partner - You're My Hero® Books

Sarah is the embodiment of entrepreneurial spirit. Her professional accomplishments are numerous and varied. Driven by the desire to achieve more and go further, Sarah co-founded YMH Media Corporation with her partners Barry Spilchuk & Sasha Marusich, the company responsible for publishing the You're My Hero® series of books.

From an early age Sarah was drawn to the creative arts. An accomplished sculptor and photographer, her work reflects the beauty she sees in the natural world around her. Having studied in Canada and Europe, she has been afforded the opportunity to draw from a world of creative influences. This world-view is also reflected in her professional life.

Sarah was a principal driving force behind I-Media Network, a national outdoor advertising venture that was sold to Zoom Media. Over the years, Sarah's creative and professional sides have come together in many different ways. Following the sale of I-Media, Sarah chose to work as a marketing consultant for several Canadian clients ranging in scope from financial institutions to clients in the music and entertainment industries. With her unique, "out of the box" thinking and inquisitive nature, Sarah finds the most professional satisfaction in the fields of marketing and development. The combination of a fast paced work environment, with the need for a creative vision fuels her most successful endeavours.

The You're My Hero® project brings together all of Sarah's skills and passions while appealing to her charitable nature. With it, Sarah sees the opportunity to use her experience not only to get behind a great concept, but to use her creativity to put together a book series that encourages people to broaden their horizons, to see beyond the everyday, to see who their heroes are, why they are heroes, and to inspire them to someday become a hero to someone else.


Sasha Marusich, Ph.D. - Co-Founder & Partner - You're My Hero® Books

Sasha has spent many years studying culture, religion, religious phenomena and philosophy along with science and neurophysiology. He has written articles, lectured at conferences and symposia, taught courses at Wilfrid Laurier University and the Scarborough campus of the University of Toronto. He has two Masters Degrees (one in Philosophy, one in Religion and Culture) and received a Doctorate Degree form the University of Toronto (Religious Studies).

After acquiring his Ph.D., Sasha spent 6 years in the Canadian film industry and for the past 8 years has worked as a consultant in and to various businesses.

His yearning to understand the human condition and the human spirit (along with his own idiosyncrasies) has taken him down many paths, and has culminated in a partnership with Sarah Freeman and Barry Spilchuk in YMH Media Corporation and You're My Hero® Books.

"I want us all to celebrate life every day, and especially the people who have had deep and meaningful impacts on us. What better way to celebrate our heroes than to write about them and spread the word? In a world where much of the news we hear is bad, we could all use some inspirational, positive, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, heartfelt and uplifting stories."

You might find Sasha working at his computer, reading sometimes interesting, 
sometimes banal books, riding his custom cruiser around the highways of Ontario, in Port Dover on a Friday the 13th, or lapping his convertible on a racetrack. His motto "full throttle" is how he likes to live his life.


Robert Cook - President & CEO - Pinogy Corporation

Rob is a 21 year veteran of the Pet Industry who owned and operated pet stores from 1996 to 2008. He is a Licensed Veterinary Technician and did 5 years of animal emergency medicine.

Rob has served on the board of NexPet, which is the largest consortium of pet store owners in North America. He is a regular speaker at trade shows on topics that range from "Utilizing Technology to Improve Your Bottom Line" to "Using Social and Internet Marketing to Grow Your Business" Rob is also actively consulted by trade magazines for input and supplies technology related articles for print.

In 2004, Rob started the Pet Retail Group which provided Kiosk, Special Order, Catalog Management and Website ordering capabilities before acquiring the company that became known as Pinogy. Since that time the company has grown very quickly into the premier POS system for the Pet Industry. Rob's extensive experience within the Pet Industry gives him a clear vision and overall direction that allows the company to continue to offer cutting edge programs for independent retailers.

In Rob's Limited Spare time he spends many hours working on the shelter project and assisting animal related charities for all animals both Wild and domestic. He also advocates for organizations that promote responsible pet ownership and training for all pets.

Rob believes in living life to its fullest and enjoys traveling and spending time with his family and newborn daughter. He also enjoys driving race cars for charity.

"I believe that animals have been heroes and saved the lives of many. This book will allow those stories to be told. I know the loyalty and love that is inside the heart of every dog. This love alone makes them a hero to so many."


Lisa Acton - Research Director - Pinogy Corporation

Lisa Acton of Accord NY is an animal enthusiast who has dedicated her life to the caring treatment and rehabilitation of all animals both wild and domestic. Her lifelong passion to see that all animals are treated with love and respect led her to become a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. She serves her community by working tirelessly for the charitable organization Animal Kingdom USA Wildlife Rescue; an organization dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of injured and orphaned wildlife.

Lisa can be found doing any number of things such as fighting fires as a volunteer firefighter, advocating and educating people about animals wild and domestic or working with a number of charities including Burn Care Everywhere and the EFFD Humanitarian committee. (both charities that help injured firefighters)

In 2007 Lisa was awarded the Firefighter of the year award from The East Fishkill Fire District for her work as a volunteer firefighter. Also in 2008 Lisa was given the Burn care champion of the year award from the Burn Care everywhere Foundation for her work helping the victims of burns.

Lisa served as Lieutenant in the EFFD and was known for her knowledge of the fire scene and the passion and ability she has to keep morale up.

For the last 5 years, Lisa spent a great deal of time working as the Public Relations manager for the Animal Kingdom USA in Brewster, NY. And Animal Kingdom USA Wildlife Rescue before she went to work for Pinogy. Her passion for all living things excites those around her.

Her strong love for the untold stories of the Heroes among us all is the driving force for her involvement in this book. "What better way is there to tell these stories?"

What little remains of available time for Lisa is spent with her wonderful Husband Joe and her three amazing Children, Alexandra, Timothy and Emily.