Kandi Pickard Selected as the New NDSS President and CEO

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 National Down Syndrome Society Names Kandi Pickard President and CEO
Pickard Previously Served as a Local Buddy Walk Organizer, NDSS Executive and is a Parent in the Down syndrome Community.
Her Focus will be on the Growing Adult Population in the Down syndrome Community

Washington, D.C. (July 11, 2019) - The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, has named Kandi Pickard President and CEO effective immediately. Pickard most recently served as Interim President and CEO.

NDSS Chairman of the Board, Gordon Spoor, emphasized Kandi’s insight into the disability movement.

“As our board was looking for the next leader to help us further our organization to new programmatic heights, we felt Kandi’s shared experiences at NDSS as well as her perspective being a mom in our community made her the perfect leader. Kandi’s vision for our NDSS future will bring more emphasis on long-term growth with programming serving across the lifespan of individuals with Down syndrome.”

Pickard, as Interim President and CEO, set a clear vision for the future of NDSS with her push to address caregiving and adult issues. As she takes on the permanent President and CEO role, her focus will be on working side-by-side with all constituency groups ready to tackle issues across the lifespan.

“It is pretty humbling as a mom from Fort Wayne, Indiana to be chosen as the leader for such a prestigious and life-changing organization,” said Pickard. “Five years ago, I was the Vice-Chairman of the Down Syndrome Association of Northeast Indiana. Looking back, my experience as a local volunteer, and most importantly as Mason’s mom, has prepared me to take NDSS to the next level given my shared role as not only its new leader, but as a parent in the Down syndrome community.”

Betsy Goodwin, NDSS Founder and Former President and CEO said, “I am so pleased our new President and CEO has hands on experience as a passionate local leader in her community and has served NDSS as a highly valued senior staff member dealing with equal rights and opportunity for individuals with Down syndrome.”


Down syndrome Advocates and Leaders Praise Pickard’s Selection:


“When I started John’s Crazy Socks, I wanted to spread happiness throughout the world. Kandi Pickard has been a huge help in spreading happiness and creating more opportunities for entrepreneurs with Down syndrome.”

John Cronin

--Chief Happiness Officer, John’s Crazy Socks

--NDSS Board of Directors


I met Kandi when she was the staff lead on the first annual NDSS Adult Summit. Kandi became a strong advocate for all adults, including those aging with Down syndrome and those who have acquired Alzheimer’s disease. Without Kandi’s commitment and enthusiasm, I don’t believe these issues would be addressed in our community at the same level and detail in which they are now and into the future.”

Jadene Ransdell

--Down Syndrome/Alzheimer’s Family Advocate


“Kandi Pickard is one of us. Someone who started as a Buddy Walk volunteer and got so passionate about the Down syndrome community she started to work on the national scale tackling issues across the country. Affiliates in our community should be very excited to work with someone who has been in our shoes and knows the importance of advocacy on the very local level.”

Kari Jones

--President and CEO, Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio


“Lyft looks for enthusiastic and energetic partners who will work with us to change communities. Kandi Pickard and her work with NDSS is inspiring to our team and we look forward to continued collaboration on transportation access for each and every individual in the disability community.”

Tommy Hayes

--Senior Manager - Policy Partnerships, Lyft


Voya Financial is committed to helping all Americans achieve a secure financial future. Kandi Pickard has worked with us to advance the rights of the Down syndrome community — and the disability community as a whole. We are proud to continue collaborating with Kandi to push for community change and betterment for everyone.” 

Angela D. Harrell

--Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity & Corporate Responsibility Officer, Voya Financial

--President, Voya Foundation


“Having someone from the heartland, a mom, and a community advocate like Kandi Pickard will help NDSS improve programming and reach new heights. As a former Board Chair of NDSS, I am proud of Kandi and know she is the perfect person to lead this stellar organization.”

Tom O’Neill

--Former Board Chairman, National Down Syndrome Society




The mission of NDSS is to be the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome. NDSS provides state-of-the-art, comprehensive programming to all individuals with Down syndrome and their families, which include: The National Advocacy & Public Policy Center in Washington, DC, its Down Syndrome Health Resources & Promotion Program, the first of its kind #DSWORKS® Employment Program, which is showing the world that people with Down syndrome are ready, willing and ABLE to work as well as the National Buddy Walk® Program. 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. For more information, visit NDSS.org