We Help Nonprofit Leaders

As a firm, we are constantly developing content and programs to help you in three distinct ways. The first is to help you become a thought leader in the nonprofit sector by providing weekly content through our blog, email newsletter and Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership podcast. The second is helping you through individual coaching, training and our unique Mastermind Nonprofit Leadership program. The third way is to help your nonprofit organization through support of its strategic planning, board & staff development, and fundraising. Through our exclusive partnership with the Institute for Philanthropic Leadership, we also  guide aspiring nonprofit leaders through the virtual New Development Professionals cohort training program, as well as the annual Leadership Gift School, now entering its 11th cohort season.  Let us know how we can help you! Join our community by signing up for our free resources here, and schedule a call if you'd like to learn more about ways we can help you on your journey to nonprofit leadership. 

Our team is proud to be affiliated with these professional organizations:

Dr. Patton McDowell, MBA, CFRE

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Dr. Patton McDowell, MBA, CFRE
Patton has enjoyed a successful 30-year career in nonprofit leadership, strategic planning, and organizational development. His consulting practice has allowed him to work with more than 240 organizations throughout the Southeast, including nonprofits focused on healthcare, education, arts & culture, and human services.  Patton is a dynamic speaker who has facilitated workshops throughout the region as well as served as a presenter at state and national conferences. Prior to founding PMA Consulting in 2009, he served as Vice President for University Advancement at Queens University of Charlotte where he was responsible for all fundraising, communications, and alumni programs for the university.  Before Queens, Patton served as Vice Chancellor for University Advancement at UNC Wilmington, where he was the youngest vice chancellor in the 16-campus UNC system. He previously served as Program Director for Special Olympics North Carolina in Raleigh, following his tenure with Special Olympics International in Washington, D.C.  Patton is a native of Elizabeth City, NC, and received a bachelor's degree in English Education from UNC Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar. He received his MBA from the McColl School of Business at Queens, and his Doctorate in Education (Organizational Change and Leadership) from the Rossier School at the University of Southern California. He is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), a Master Trainer for AFP International, and a member of the William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations. Patton is a former board President of AFP Charlotte, served as the Chapter Representative on the AFP International Board, and is the host of the weekly podcast Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership.

Lea Williams, Ph.D
Managing Director

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Lea Williams, Ph.D.
Managing Director
Lea is an Organizational Scientist who joined the PMA team in June of 2020. Prior to joining the firm, Lea dedicated her time to two main areas: earning her Ph.D. in Organizational Science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and serving 15+ nonprofits through pro-bono consulting engagements. In addition to her nonprofit work, while obtaining her Doctorate, Lea also worked in several Talent Management & Organizational Development roles at large organizations in Charlotte, such as Ingersoll Rand, Duke Energy, TIAA, and Jacobsen. Given her strong research background, she is skilled at gathering input and synthesizing it to help nonprofit leaders develop innovative solutions. Her specialties include meeting effectiveness (the subject of her dissertation), leadership, board, and staff training and development, data analysis (both quantitative and qualitative), strategic planning, survey design, stakeholder research, and volunteer retention/engagement. She also received her Master's in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from the UNC Charlotte and her bachelor's degree in Psychology from Davidson College.

Jean Bock

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Jean Bock
A writer, fundraiser and community leader, Jean joined PMA in October of 2021. With over 20 years of philanthropic service, she has vast experience in leadership, fundraising, building relationships, volunteer engagement and community collaboration.  She has played key roles in planning and coordinating events with many local nonprofits and has served on numerous boards across multiple sectors.  In addition to her nonprofit work, Jean is both a writer and editor with extensive publishing experience, most recently with Patton's debut book, Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership.  Her passion for communication is grounded in the connection of the written word to its audience.  She brings a disciplined attention to detail, allowing her to distill complex thoughts and ideas into simple, clear language that's quickly understood by others, a quality she brings to the firm's weekly podcast.

Donté Shannon, FASAE, CAE

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Donté P. Shannon, FASAE, CAE
Donté P. Shannon, FASAE, CAE, has 16 years experience in nonprofit association management, 7 of those years include experience in the C-suite. Donte has worked with a professional and trade nonprofit associations, across many different industries. He's served in numerous CEO roles ranging from state associations to national associations with global impact. Donté is a highly recognized influencer in the nonprofit association community, having led over 20 association management presentations, ranging in topics from strategic leadership and organization rebranding, to career development. Additionally, he has been featured in, and co-authored, numerous articles related to association management. A devoted professional, Donte recently served as Chair of the CAE Commission, the governing body of the global CAE credential and was pivotal in launching the credential in Australasia. He also contributes his industry expertise as a member of for-profit and nonprofit Boards and Councils. His career highlights include being selected as a 2020 digitalNow Leader of Distinction, a 2020 ASAE Fellow, and a 2011-2013 Diversity Education Leadership Program (DELP) Scholar. Donte is a strong advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion and enjoys giving back to the various communities and industries he touches. Donte earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the College of Charleston in 2003 and received the Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential in 2015.

Lauren McDowell
Content Manager

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Lauren McDowell
Content Manager
Lauren is a visual and narrative communicator who joined the PMA team in August of 2019.  She is passionate about tackling ideas and translating them into a compelling narrative, visual and audio formats. She brings design and writing skills, a mastery of the Adobe Creative Suite, and a love for photography and visual culture in the nonprofit sector. As Content Manager, she creates and directs content marketing initiatives across multiple platforms and formats, and serves as the Executive Producer of the firm's weekly podcast Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership. She manages guest research, program design and audio production/publication across all podcast platforms.  She also designs, maintains, and updates the firm's social media profile by writing blog articles, producing visuals, and coordinating brand identity.  Lauren is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where she received a BA in Narrative Studies through the Department of English, a Minor in Digital Studio Art from the Roski School of Art and Design, and a Minor in Classical Perspectives from the Department of Classics.

Zach Perry
Graduate Student Intern

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Zach Perry
Graduate Student Intern
Zach joined the PMA team as a Graduate Student Intern in April of 2022. He is currently pursuing a Master's in Public Administration at North Carolina State University and is concentrating in Nonprofit Management. Zach also serves as a graduate assistant in the Public Administration Department where he assists in leadership development training for peer recovery organizations in several states. In his role as a grant writing intern for the veteran's organization Flanders Fields, Zach has contributed to funding applications and program proposals to expand the organization's service capacity. Zach currently serves on the Programming Committee for the Research Triangle chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN). Zach is passionate about building community capacity in urban areas through development strategies, housing assistance and organizing. He also received his Bachelor's degree in Geography from SUNY Albany.

Are you ready to elevate your nonprofit leadership?

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Organizations helped

Cynthia Simms, J.D.
Director of Development & Marketing
Dilworth Center

"Patton is a thorough, thoughtful and dynamic consultant who helped put in place core fundraising practices for our nonprofit that took our development initiatives to the next level. His instruction during Leadership Gift School allowed us to continue to learn from his expertise in areas including strategic planning, board development, campaigns, major gifts, grant research and prospect development. PMA inspires and challenges agencies to go to a whole new level!" 

Rev. Chris Jenkins
Executive Pastor
Hope Restorations Inc.

"Our board of directors and I knew we had a wonderful idea that helps our entire community, but none of us had much experience or formal training in non-profit management. Patton and his team have been a Godsend, helping us with everything from strategic planning, board and staff development & succession planning, and fundraising." 

Taylor Boyles
Director of Development
The Ohio State University College of Public Health

"I was hungry to advance my career but struggled to find direction. Patton's coaching helped me identify areas for growth in my current position while illuminating the path forward. This strategic focus led me from a small nonprofit to The Ohio State University and has continued to pay dividends as I was recently promoted to lead the fundraising efforts for the College of Public Health."

Gary Sugg
Associate Development Officer
The Ability Experience

"Thankful to have been part of a great New Development Directors Program with Patton and his team!  I thoroughly enjoyed learning from industry leaders and getting to know the Charlotte nonprofit landscape." 

Valerie Kopetzky, MNA
Chief Executive Officer
Anuvia Prevention & Recovery Center

"Patton is a consummate professional who knows the business of nonprofits. He facilitated our Board Retreat and guided it to be strategic and focused. We are grateful for his expertise." 
Spencer Percy
Director of Development
Wingate University

"Thanks to Patton and his team for putting on an awesome Institute for Philanthropic Leadership program. The course was 4 separate 3-hour sessions and I'd recommend it for anyone seeking the best professional development opportunities in the nonprofit sector."

David Malloy
Executive Director
California-Nevada United Methodist Foundation

"The PMA platform shares professional nonprofit and fundraising knowledge that can be helpful to someone who is just starting out, looking to keep pace, or wants to be inspired to reach higher levels in their professional lives. Your willingness to share your knowledge and your encouragement have made a real difference for me." 

Cheryl Richards, Ph.D.
President, Charlotte Campus
Johnson & Wales University

"For over a  decade, I've had the great fortune to work with very talented people at PMA who have assisted several different nonprofits. Whether it's been developing a strategic plan, building staff and board knowledge in fundraising, or assisting with long-range visioning and organizational capacity building, the team at PMA has never fallen short on delivering quality outcomes." 

Justin A. Dionne
Executive Director
Cain Center for the Arts

"Patton and the team at PMA are at the top of their game! They have perfected the process of listening, adapting, and responding to the needs of their clients and the communities that they serve. Along with this, they bring a true relationship-led practice - the relationship that you build with them will last long after your engagement has ended."

Some of our valued partners


Arts & Culture

  • Actor's Theatre of Charlotte
  • Arts and Science Council
  • Arts of the Albemarle - Elizabeth City, NC
  • Arts Plus
  • Cain Center for the Arts - Cornelius, NC
  • Carolina Actors Studio Theatre
  • Charlotte Folk Society
  • Charlotte Museum of History
  • Charlotte Symphony Orchestra
  • Community School of the Arts
  • Discovery Place
  • Friends of Music at Queens University
  • Harvey B. Gantt Center
  • Jazz Arts Initiative
  • Lakewood Trolley
  • One Voice Chorus
  • The Symphony Guild of Charlotte

Charitable Foundations

  • Brad Keselowski's Checkered Flag Foundation - Statesville, NC
  • David Belk Cannon Foundation - Gastonia, NC
  • Foundation For The Carolinas
  • Material Handling Education Foundation
  • NC Textile Foundation
  • NC Veterinary Medical Foundation
  • Steve Smith Family Foundation 
  • BFB Foundation

Children & Youth

  • A Child's Place
  • Cabarrus Partnership for Children -Concord, NC
  • Children's Home Society - Greensboro, NC
  • Council for Children's Rights
  • Girl Scouts, Hornets' Nest Council
  • Girls on the Run International
  • Hope Haven of the Lowcountry - Beaufort, SC
  • Jubilee Family Development Center
  • Kids First Surgical Team
  • Kids Voting Mecklenburg
  • Lakewood Preschool Cooperative
  • Project One Scholarship Fund
  • Safe Kids Midlands - Columbia, SC
  • Smart Start of Mecklenburg County
  • Thompson 
  • Time Out Youth
  • Youth Villages

Higher Education

  • Bennett College - Greensboro, NC
  • Davidson College - Davidson, NC
  • Elizabeth City State University - Elizabeth City, NC
  • Greensboro College - Greensboro, NC
  • Guilford Technical Community College -Jamestown, NC
  • Johnson & Wales University
  • NCSU College of Education - Raleigh, NC
  • NCSU University Libraries - Raleigh, NC
  • UNC Charlotte
  • Wilberforce University
  • Wingate University

Education Primary and Secondary

  • The Cannon School - Concord, NC
  • Charlotte Catholic High School Foundation
  • Charlotte Latin School
  • Charlotte Preparatory School
  • Community Charter School
  • KIPP Charlotte
  • Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools Education Foundation
  • Palisades Episcopal School
  • Scholars Academy
  • Westchester Country Day School - High Point, NC


  • Carolina Raptor Center
  • Catawba Lands Conservancy
  • Catawba Science Center


  • Doe River Gorge Ministries
  • First Presbyterian Church - Greer, SC
  • Littlejohn United Methodist Church -Lenoir, NC
  • Myers Park Presbyterian Church
  • North Carolina Central University Wesley Foundation - Durham, NC
  • Sandy Plains United Methodist Church
  • Solid Rock United Methodist Church -Cameron, NC

Health & Human Services

  • Alzheimer's Association
  • American Red Cross, Greater Carolinas
  • Anuvia
  • Augustine Literacy Project
  • Care Ring
  • The CFIDS Association of America
  • Charlotte Rescue Mission
  • Charlotte Speech & Hearing Center
  • Classroom Central
  • Crisis Assistance Ministry
  • CrossRoads Corporation
  • Dilworth Center
  • Fellowship Hall - Greensboro, NC
  • Foothills Area Family YMCA - Seneca, SC
  • HealthReach Community Clinic - Mooresville, NC
  • Holy Angels - Belmont, NC
  • Hope Restorations - Kinston, NC
  • Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region
  • The Ivey
  • Latin American Coalition
  • Loaves & Fishes
  • Make-a-Wish Foundation USA - Phoenix, AZ
  • NC Dental Society Foundation
  • NC MedAssist
  • New Hanover Regional Medical Center Foundation - Wilmington, NC
  • Novant Health Foundations
  • Partners in Ministry - Laurinburg, NC
  • Pat's Place
  • Presbyterian Healthcare Foundation
  • Project Life Movement
  • Rowan Helping Ministries - Salisbury, NC
  • Safe Alliance
  • Seed Programs International
  • Southminster
  • Susan G. Komen for the Cure Charlotte
  • Wheels for Hope - Raleigh, NC

Leadership, Volunteer, and Community Development

  • Charlotte Chamber of Commerce
  • Downtown Raleigh Alliance - Raleigh, NC
  • Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce - Raleigh, NC
  • Institute for Philanthropic Leadership
  • Lakewood Community Development Corporation
  • Wildacres Leadership Initiative

PMA is proud to have worked with nonprofit staff and board leaders representing hundreds of organizations, spanning all sectors, sizes, and geographies. We understand your challenges as a nonprofit leader, and our singular focus is to help talented individuals like you excel at nonprofit leadership.  How can we help?  Let's talk about a coaching partnership for you, a training program for your team or your board, or maybe you're ready for a Mastermind Leadership Program