About


We Help Nonprofit Leaders

Our mission is to guide nonprofit leaders as they navigate opportunities and challenges in an ever-changing world.  Let us know how we can help achieve the goals you've set for your nonprofit this year. 

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

Meet the Team

Dr. Patton McDowell, MBA, CFRE
President

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Dr. Patton McDowell, MBA, CFRE
President
Patton has spent his entire 30-year career helping talented individuals raise more funds and effectively lead their nonprofit organizations.  After founding PMA in 2009, he and his colleagues have worked with the leaders of over 220 organizations in every nonprofit sector including education, healthcare, arts & culture, and human services.  Patton particularly enjoys designing strategic plans, expanding fundraising programs, and coaching staff and volunteer board leaders. 

Before starting PMA Consulting, he spent a decade in higher education as Vice President for Queens University after serving in the same role at UNC Wilmington, where he was the youngest vice chancellor in the UNC system.  Prior to his tenure in higher education, he worked with volunteers from 85 different counties as the state Program Director for Special Olympics North Carolina (Raleigh, NC), and as an Assistant for Education & Training for Special Olympics International in Washington DC, where he helped design coach and volunteer training curriculum used worldwide.

Patton grew up in Elizabeth City, NC and went to UNC Chapel Hill as a Morehead Scholar where he received a BA in English Education.  He received his MBA from the McColl School of Business while working at Queens, and his Doctorate in Education (Organizational Change & Leadership) from the Rossier School at the University of Southern California.  He is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), and a Master Trainer for the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International.  He also serves as the Lead Faculty Member for the Institute for Philanthropic Leadership in Charlotte, where he works with aspiring nonprofit leaders through the New Development Directors program and coaches an annual cohort of Executive Directors and Chief Development Officers through Leadership Gift School.

He is the host of the weekly podcast Your Path To Nonprofit Leadership.
Leighton graduated cum laude from Wake Forest University with a bachelor's degree in English and holds certificates in Business Management from Columbia Business School and Nonprofit Management from Duke University.

Cindy Clark, CFRE
Senior Consultant

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Cindy Clark, CFRE
Senior Consultant
Cindy Clark joined the PMA team with more than 35 years of experience in nonprofit leadership, strategic planning, management, development, and marketing. Her extensive nonprofit background includes work in healthcare, higher education, and the independent school sectors. Most recently, Cindy served for nine years as a member of the Senior Leadership Team and Vice President for Development with Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region, where she managed a successful $10 million capital campaign to build Levine & Dickson Hospice House. She previously served for 14 years as Director of Advancement at Gaston Day School, an independent school in Gastonia, NC. Cindy began her career in Advancement at Belmont Abbey College, where she served first as Director of Public Relations and later became Director of Development. At PMA, she consults with a broad spectrum of nonprofit organizations, including education, social services, economic development, and arts clients.

Cindy received a bachelor's degree in English Education from Appalachian State University and is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE).

Penny Hawkins, CFRE
Senior Consultant

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Penny Hawkins, CFRE
 Senior Consultant
Penny Hawkins has 15 years of professional experience in both the private and nonprofit sectors in Charlotte, NC. Penny began her career in Private Equity with BlackHawk Capital Management where she focused on communications, investor relations, marketing and operations. After completing the Foundation For The Carolinas Impact Fund for Emerging Philanthropists in 2008, she combined her skill for investor relations with a desire to support growth in Charlotte's vital philanthropic community. Prior to joining PMA, Penny held leadership development positions at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center Foundation, KinderMourn, and Council for Children's Rights. In her most recent role with Novant Health, she served as the Development Program Manager of the Children's and Women's Service Lines. Her focus was on cultivation of major gifts, strategic growth for the service line, and creation of an advisory council to pediatrics. As a Senior Consultant with PMA, Penny's experience offers her a unique perspective to quickly adapt to new initiatives within an organization and provide high-level thinking that paves the way for strategic growth, process improvement, and organizational development.

Penny has a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a focus on Public Relations from UNC - Chapel Hill. In addition, she has obtained her Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) designation and obtained certification from Wake Forest University's Essentials of Business for Nonprofit Organizations.  Penny is also very involved with the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) - Charlotte Chapter, when she currently serves on the board of directors, and is currently the 2020 board president.

Leighton Britton Fogan
Consultant

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Leighton Britton Fogan
Consultant
Leighton Fogan is a fundraising and development professional who joined PMA after returning to her hometown of Charlotte, NC. She has extensive experience with corporate and foundation partnerships, successfully structuring relationships with national and international firms in the private and public sector. Leighton spent nine years in New York City where she launched her career in nonprofit fundraising and philanthropy management. Prior to joining PMA, Leighton led the institutional investor portfolio as a Senior Development Associate for Echoing Green, a global social venture fund. Her career has also included working with New York City nonprofits Common Cents and Synergos, and Charlotte nonprofits Care Ring and Physicians Reach Out, where she completed a year of full-time service with AmeriCorps.

Leighton graduated cum laude from Wake Forest University with a bachelor's degree in English and holds certificates in Business Management from Columbia Business School and Nonprofit Management from Duke University.

Lea Williams, Ph.D
Consultant

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Lea Williams, Ph.D.
Consultant
Lea Williams 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 University of North Carolina at Charlotte and her bachelor's degree in Psychology from Davidson College. 

Lauren McDowell
Content Manager

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Lauren McDowell
Content Manager

Lauren McDowell 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.

How Can PMA Help You?  Three Ways

 

Content Expertise and Nonprofit Experience


We are experts in nonprofit strategic planning and fundraising.  We've served as nonprofit executives, chief development officers, board members, and volunteers before becoming consultants.  We've been there and know the rewards and challenges nonprofit work brings and the high expectations you're facing with limited resources. 

Relational Style


We're proud of the fact that our clients enjoy working with us.  We approach each project by listening first, and take the time to understand the unique characteristics, priorities, and challenges our nonprofit partner is facing.  We have the credibility and presence to interact with your top prospects and donors, can help you cultivate community leaders, and build staff morale and board confidence.

Strong Community Network


We know nonprofit and philanthropic leaders from around the country that can be a resource for you.  We've partnered with more than 225 nonprofit organizations since our founding and bring these connections - along with our previous professional roles, diverse volunteer service, and affiliations to many nonprofit associations - to each of our nonprofit partnerships.

Our Core Values

PMA Consulting continues to evaluate three strategic variables in order to strengthen the services offered to its clients.

We Embrace Different Communities


Our regional presence is a benefit to our clients.  While we are committed to our Charlotte community, our work extends regionally and nationally.  The result is a clientele that is as diverse as the communities they serve.

We Benefit From Different Nonprofit Sectors


Our work in every nonprofit sector benefits each individual client.  While we have individual strengths that we can bring to healthcare, education, human services, arts & culture organizations and more, we thrive on learning what each sector offers the others. 

We Start With Strategy & Talent


Our work starts with clarifying an organization's strategic vision, and maximizing its staff and board talent.  We understand fundraising is often the first topic on the mind of our nonprofit partners, but we've learned that effective resource development only happens when strategy and talent are first addressed.