October 2, 2017

The National Down Syndrome Society, the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, announced its new leadership at its annual Board of Directors meeting today in Washington, D.C.

NDSS named F. Gordon Spoor as the 2017-2018 board chairman after his previous service as vice chairman. Spoor has a 40-year accounting career and has authored and co-authored numerous books and articles. Spoor has four children and 11 grandchildren, including his grandson Jack who has Down syndrome. Spoor and his wife, Chris, live in St. Petersburg, Florida. NDSS also named Charles Symington of Alexandria, Virginia, as vice chairman of the board. Ben Wright of Wilmington, North Carolina, and Tiffany Barfield of New York City will continue to serve in their current roles as treasurer and secretary, respectively.

Spoor succeeds Rob Taishoff as the board chair. Taishoff served in the role for three years and will remain an active member of the NDSS board.

“It is with great honor that I assume the role of board chair for NDSS, the premiere advocacy organization for all people with Down syndrome in the world,” Spoor said. “For the last three years, Rob has done an extraordinary job leading NDSS into the future. His involvement in NDSS — and the broader disability community — go beyond his love for his incredible daughter, Jackie. Rob is a visionary who sees the bigger picture and works hard each day to advocate, fight and create a better system for all people with Down syndrome.”

Sara Hart Weir was officially named president & CEO of NDSS after five years of service to NDSS and two decades of involvement with the Down syndrome community. Weir joined NDSS in 2012 as vice president of Advocacy and Affiliate Relations and was appointed as president of NDSS in December 2014. Under her leadership, NDSS led the bipartisan advocacy effort to pass the landmark Stephen Beck Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act in 2014 (P.L. 113-295); launched the first-ever national employment campaign, #DSWORKS®; and oversaw, with the NDSS board, the growth of NDSS’ annual budget and fundraising efforts. Under her leadership, NDSS recently established a new board-designated endowment with the goal expanding resources for its mission and programs as well as allowing local Down syndrome affiliates and Buddy Walk® communities to maintain additional local resources and expand their programs in advocacy and employment for all people with Down syndrome.
“I couldn’t be more excited about the future of our Down syndrome movement,” Weir said. “Our NDSS advocacy work is far from over; we still need to roll up our sleeves and advocate for reforms across healthcare and research, inclusive education, employment, community integration and economic self-sufficiency to ensure all people with Down syndrome have the brightest future possible.”

At its annual meeting, NDSS also appointed three new members to its board, including Carlo Frappolli, head of talent, JPMorgan Chase & Co. of New York City; Heather Lavallee, president, Tax-Exempt Markets Retirement, Voya Financial of Windsor, Connecticut; and Brian Rodgers, retired Navy carrier pilot of Spokane, Washington.