FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Down Syndrome Society Announces New Board of Directors Leadership and Members
New York, NY (Sept. 28, 2020) – The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, is pleased to introduce their newly elected board chairman, executive committee and board members.
At the 2020 NDSS Annual Meeting on September 24, Charles E. Symington Jr. was elected as the new chairman of the NDSS Board of Directors, succeeding F. Gordon Spoor who has served in the role since 2017. Charles is senior vice president for external, industry and government affairs at the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA). He has served on the NDSS board since 2014 and on the executive committee as vice-chair since 2017. Charles resides in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife Cathy and their three children. He is the proud father of a six-year–old son with Down syndrome.
“NDSS makes such an impact in the lives of people with Down syndrome and their families, and I am honored to assume the role of chairman,” Symington stated. “I welcome the opportunity to serve alongside a committed executive committee and board to continue the great work NDSS does for the community.”
Charles will lead a strong executive committee, including Tiffany Barfield as vice-chair, Heather Lavallee as secretary and Carlo Frappolli as treasurer. The newest member of the committee, Heather Lavallee, is president of tax-exempt markets for Voya Financial and has served on the NDSS board since 2017.
“I’m excited about the future of NDSS under the leadership of this group,” said Kandi Pickard, president & CEO. “These men and women have shown tremendous dedication to NDSS and to the community we serve.”
Two new board members were also elected at the September 24 meeting. The new directors include Thomas J. Santos and C. Mitch Taylor.
“We look forward to the contributions our new board members will make to NDSS in the years to come,” stated Pickard. “Both Tom and Mitch have strong backgrounds in policy and advocacy, which will strengthen NDSS’ critical work in that area. Their active support of our programs and community events in the past speaks to their strong commitment to the NDSS mission.”
Thomas J. Santos and his wife Lauren are the parents of two. Their son Will has Down syndrome. Tom is a currently a member of the NDSS Public Policy Advisory Committee and has also supported NDSS by participating in the NDSS golf tournament in Washington, DC. He is an assistant vice president at Zurich North America.
Mitch Taylor is director, public policy at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) where he draws on more than 12 years of experience in government affairs and public administration to advocate and facilitatepositive change. Mitch collaborates with NDSS on the working group of the CEO Commission for Disability Employment, providing guidance and strategy to the Commission, particularly in the area of policy.
The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) is the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome. NDSS envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations and become valued members of welcoming communities. Founded in 1979, NDSS supports and advocates for the Down syndrome community by focusing on three key areas of programming: Resources & Support, Policy & Advocacy and Community Engagement. Within these focus areas NDSS engages in various activities, events and programs such as the National Advocacy & Policy Center, which seeks to create systemic change through engaged advocacy; the National Buddy Walk® Program, which honors and celebrates individuals with Down syndrome in local communities across the world, and other initiatives that provide support, informational resources and community engagement opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome and those who support them. Visit www.ndss.org for more information about NDSS.