PMA Consulting, LLC

Case Study: Down Syndrome Association of Charlotte


As part of a long range plan, the Down Syndrome Association of Charlotte determined a need to hire its first full- or part-time staff members. For nearly 25 years, the organization had functioned entirely with the support of dedicated volunteers, but the time had come to build a more permanent infrastructure. The organization’s board of directors knew it needed help to determine the best use of staff and to find qualified applicants.


In December 2009, the DSAC engaged PMA to conduct an organizational assessment and executive search in three phases:

-To determine the needs of the organization and the best methods to address them, PMA conducted interviews with the organization’s key stakeholders and researched other similarly-structured organizations locally, regionally and nationally. PMA found common themes with the organization’s key stakeholders, and received good advice from the leaders of similarly structured organizations about what went right (and what went very wrong!) in their own staffing projects.

-After analyzing primary and secondary research, PMA conducted a board development workshop, suggested ideal staffing scenarios, crafted job descriptions and created a prioritized list of accountabilities. Seeking consensus amongst leadership is always PMA’s goal in an executive search. The DSAC board weighed PMA’s recommendations against their own preconceived notions of the needs of the organization, and found middle ground. The board asked PMA to seek full-time Program Director candidates, as well as part-time candidates to fill Program Director and Development Coordinator positions.

-Once DSAC leadership approved the plan, PMA spearheaded a professional executive search process to fill the position. Since the organization was considering both full-time and part-time candidates, the screening and interview process took longer than usual, but produced seven worthy candidates for consideration. The finalists were interviewed in a panel setting by the Search Committee of the DSAC Board of Directors as facilitated by PMA.


On April 5, 2010, two new staff members started their first day on the job for the DSAC: Terri Leyton as part-time Program Director and Lisa Simon as part-time Development Coordinator. Terri, a former DSAC board member, is complemented by Lisa Simon, a longtime fundraiser and grant writer with no direct ties to the organization. They are sure to be known as the “Dynamic Duo at the DSAC” for years to come.