My guest for this episode is Patton McDowell. 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 230 organizations, including nonprofits focused on healthcare, education, arts & culture, and human services. Patton is a dynamic speaker who has facilitated dozens of workshops 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. 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 Organizational Change and Leadership from 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 and served as the Chapter Representative on the AFP International Board. He is the host of the weekly podcast Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership.

Here’s what to expect during the episode:

  • The challenges that nonprofit professionals face in seeking senior leadership. A full breadth of experience is essential to advance!
  • The keys to a successful nonprofit leader in this day and age. Sometimes, focusing on strengths (rather than weaknesses) could work wonders.
  • Doing networking interviews with the “best in class” can help someone get on top. What should ask in these interviews?
  • Why you might want to invest time into getting into a mastermind or finding a mentor or coach.
  • Other key resources that nonprofit leaders should be taking advantage of. One of them is creating a personal board of directors. How does that work?
  • The idea of “curating knowledge”. Organizing information has to be intentional!


You can see Patton on his website

His email is

Patton facilitates a Mastermind Leadership Program for nonprofit leaders with at least five years’ experience in the sector.  Eight-person cohorts are offered three times a year: Spring, Summer and Fall.  During the program’s four-month period, participants join seven virtual sessions that combine the advantages of one-on-one coaching with the accountability of a small group of motivated peers. For a look at the current cohort, go to this link, and for more information and to apply, go here.

Get Mary’s free guide: Six Steps You Must Know to Unleash the Potential of Your Board, by going to

Mary’s book is now available on Amazon or wherever books are sold: Love Your Board! The Executive Directors’ Guide to Discovering the Sources of Nonprofit Board Troubles and What to Do About Them.

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