Our Consultants

Kathy Ridge

Kathy Ridge is the founder of Levridge Resources, LLC based in Charlotte, North Carolina. 
Formerly a corporate Executive Vice President of Wachovia Corporation and then, the Executive Director of two nonprofits, Kathy has deep experience in leadership, problem assessment and organization 'turnarounds'. Kathy's finance background, coupled with her years in the nonprofit sector, has given her knowledge and practical application in being an innovative visionary who can get her hands dirty in tactical implementation. She can turn financial information into action.

Kathy has served on the boards of the Charlotte Symphony, Child Care Resources, The Women's Impact Fund, the Davidson College Friends of the Arts Board, The Arts Education Committee of the Arts and Science Council, and the Community Service Committee of First Presbyterian Church. She is serving on the board of directors of the Humane Society of Charlotte. Kathy has participated in Leadership Charlotte, The Wachovia Kenan Flagler School of Business Leadership Program, and has completed the McColl Center's Innovation Institute and the North Carolina Institute of Political Leadership.

“I love working in partnership with the people dedicated to nonprofit work. I am very lucky each day to support nonprofit organizations that are changing the world around them.  I believe social change happens because of nonprofit leaders.  We are able to help strengthen their leadership and their organizations through working together on the best business model, ensuring alignment between their efforts and mission, and developing more capacity for them to serve.”   

Barbara Spradling

Barbara Spradling has spent over 30 years in leadership roles in for-profit and non-profit organizations.  Formerly a corporate executive with Bank of America, she has extensive experience in successfully leading execution of large domestic and global efforts in the areas of operations, technology, real estate, finance and risk.  As Director of the Innovation Institute, she developed and led innovation training for executives, small businesses and large corporations.  She also has extensive non-profit consulting experience including board training and governance, organizational structure and effectiveness, programming, operational and financial assessments and real estate.  Barbara has served on and chaired numerous local and national art and social services boards. She earned the Advanced Management Development Certification from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and is Six Sigma certified.

“I enjoy bringing my business experience and innovation skills to Levridge Resources’ clients.  Working with staff and board members who spend every day improving our lives is incredibly rewarding.”

Lisa V. Gray

Lisa has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and nonprofit executive management. She has been an independent consultant since 2007, providing strategic planning, marketing, and business development services to such organizations as Hospice of the Piedmont, Christ Church Cathedral Choir of Oxford, England, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Women’s Summit (now the Women + Girls Research Alliance at UNC Charlotte). She served for 5 years as Executive Director of Charlotte Trolley, Inc. and in executive sales & marketing roles with North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, WDAV Classical Public Radio, and GoCarolinas.com.

“Too often, nonprofit organizations think of marketing as an “add-on” activity – what they do if they have time left over after fundraising and program administration. But marketing, done well, answers the most basic questions for your donors, your customers, and your partners: “How does your work make your community better?” “Who is benefiting?” It’s a privilege – and a joy! – to help nonprofit executives and boards craft clear, compelling answers to these business-building questions.”

Patty Drummond

Patty brings over twenty years of experience in hospitality, business administration, project management, operations, and customer service.  Previously, Patty worked for Tribble Creative Group, Sodoma Law, and various hotels in Charlotte.
Patty is from New Hampshire where she graduated in 1993 from the University of New Hampshire’s Whittemore School of Business and received a B.S. in Hotel Administration.  Patty enjoys spending time with family and friends, as well as reading and cooking.  She has lived in Charlotte for twenty-one years and has two daughters Lena and Mary.
Patty’s colleagues describe her as extremely organized, personable, focused, confident, assertive, and the “glue” to any operation.

Katie Benston

Katie Benston has worked with and for non-profits for more than 25 years. In addition to development experience in higher education, healthcare, and social services, Katie worked for the software and services firm Blackbaud for more than seven years and was Chief Program Officer for a healthcare organization. She is a past president of the Charlotte chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and a graduate of Leadership Charlotte. Katie is a Certified Fundraising Professional (CFRE).

Katie specializes in project management and helping nonprofits optimize their systems and processes, so that they can use their resources in ways that allow them to raise money and save money.

Katie volunteers in schools as a mentor and reading buddy, and serves on boards for Reach Out and Read Carolinas and the Matthews Free Medical Clinic. In recent years, Katie has traveled to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Finland, and India. She also visits her hometown of Charleston, SC, as often as she can.

“I love helping clients come up with effective strategies to help people get the support and assistance they need, whether it’s staff, volunteers, donors, or clients. I am that experienced, objective partner who helps you see things differently. It is very gratifying when our plans come to fruition to make your organization--and our community--stronger.”

Bruce LaRowe

Bruce LaRowe’s career has been dedicated to the non-profit sector, working extensively in the education and cultural sectors. Most recently, he served for 20 years as Executive Director of Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, recognized as one of the top 5 professional theaters for youth in the country.  He directed a full time professional staff of 40 in delivering superior programs while remaining in the black for 20 consecutive years.  He guided volunteer boards toward the highest levels of core values and mission fulfillment.  Also during his tenure at the Theatre, Bruce created the vision along with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library to build ImaginOn, a 100,000 sq. ft. cultural resource for children recognized as unique in the nation by many organizations including Partners for Livable Communities.

Bruce holds a Master of Arts in Community Arts Management from the University of Illinois.  Through his executive and board leadership positions, he has demonstrated proven skills in strategic planning, financial management, donor development, local and state advocacy efforts and numerous collaborative endeavors.  He chaired the Board of Arts North Carolina and has been a guest lecturer for the NC Center for Nonprofits.

“I made the choice to devote my career to the non-profit sector because of the unique role non-profits serve in our communities.  I am pleased that through my work with Levridge Resources I can share my knowledge and experience with other dynamic organizations that are seeking new ways to meet critical community needs.”

Bill Geiger

Bill Geiger has made non-profit leadership “bookends” to a 20+ year business career. Prior to moving to Charlotte in January 2016, Bill was President / CEO of the McGaw YMCA in Evanston, IL for 11 year. In 2011, Bill’s community leadership was recognized by the Evanston Chamber of Commerce Public Service / Non-Profit Person of the Year award.

Since arriving in Charlotte, with his wife Beth to be closer to their grandchildren, Bill served as a LevRidge consultant as interim Executive Director of Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. He’s also consulted to Read Charlotte, participated in the Dismantling Racism workshop and become engaged in the work of Race Matters for Juvenile Justice, serves on the Board of Charlotte Bilingual Preschool, and is a member of Leadership Charlotte Class 39.
Bill’s business career included 10 years at Steelcase Inc. where he worked with its independent dealers in the US providing interim management and structuring ownership transitions. Prior to Steelcase, Bill was an on-site turnaround manager.  Bill graduated from Dartmouth College with a bachelor’s degree.

“Non-profit leadership provides a venue for me to use my business and non-profit skills and experience. It’s important to me to engage in community-strengthening and support the work of the many dedicated people making my new community more equitable and inclusive so that all children, families, and adults can thrive.”

Art Gallagher

Art re-located to Charlotte from New England in 2003 as the Inaugural President of Johnson & Wales University's Charlotte campus. Art led the startup team and recruited the faculty and staff who numbered over 220 full time employees. Johnson & Wales University opened its Charlotte campus with a College of Culinary Arts, The Hospitality College and the College of Business and had an operating budget of $65 MM.

In 2014 Art was named Vice President and Chief Stewardship Officer for Novant Health in the greater Charlotte market.  He has advised numerous non-profit organizations and is a guest lecturer for a number of industry associations.

Art has been proactively engaged with the greater Charlotte community and has served on the Boards of the United Way of Central Carolinas, The Arts & Science Council, The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte Center City Partners, The Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Foundation, Leadership Charlotte and The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. In 2004, Art was named "Charlotte Newcomer of the Year by Leadership Charlotte and in 2013 was granted the Award of Excellence" by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Art holds a Bachelor's and Master Degree from Fairfield University.

"Charlotte is a community that cares.  People from various walks of life and careers continue to find ways to support those in need and make Charlotte a better place for everyone in our growing, diverse and inclusive community.”

Steve Bentley

Steve Bentley has decades of experience in non-profit and for-profit leadership.  Formerly a corporate executive with Wachovia, Steve has broad experience in human resources, business and strategic planning, and community engagement.  He was instrumental in forging a partnership with Teach for America that significantly increased its impact in high needs communities. 

As Executive Director of Time Out Youth, he led a turn-around of the organization and was named ‘Person of the Year’ by QNotes.  Subsequently Steve served as Chief Operating Officer of Levine Museum of the New South, overseeing all programmatic and administrative functions; and as interim President of the Museum for ten months.

Steve is an active community volunteer and has served on and chaired numerous non-profit boards including Augustine Literacy Project, St. Peters Hospital Foundation, and The Charlotte Lesbian and Gay Fund.

“I appreciate the importance of balancing mission with solid financial and business practices.  Planning is so critical to integrating these sometimes competing priorities.  It’s exciting to work with non-profits to bolster short-term success and long-term sustainability.”

Andrea Jackson

Andrea Jackson relocated to Charlotte in 2015 and has been working as a Human Resources Consultant.  Andrea’s expertise is in the area of employee relations and performance management, recruiting and onboarding. She has a special expertise in working with performance management issues and effective, difficult conversations.

 Prior to moving to Charlotte, Andrea lived in Cambridge MA where she worked in several Human Resource positions that included employee relations, investigations, performance management and recruiting.

 Andrea has a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Juris Doctorate degree from Suffolk University in Boston, MA.  Andrea is licensed to practice law in MA and GA.  Andrea is also a Society For Human Resource Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP).

Andrea serves on the Board of Director of the YWCA Central Carolinas.

 “I love bringing my employee relations background to negotiate and resolve sensitive employee situations.  Resolving conflict is not always a negative.  It requires listening patience and respect.”

Laurie Schwartz

Laurie's fundraising leadership is informed by the lessons she learned over a 26-year career in television advertising sales, marketing and audience research. She subsequently put those skills to work over the next 14 years in non-profit development, first for A Child's Place and then for Crisis Assistance Ministry. For her, successful fundraising means finding ways to succinctly describe complex services and outcomes, make it memorable and moving, then communicate it to targeted donors.

 Laurie focuses on helping nonprofits analyze existing fundraising efforts and develop advancement strategy and plans, then manage execution and track results. She enjoys being a team player and setting up others for success.

 Not quite a native, Laurie's family moved to Charlotte just in time for her to start 1st grade. She earned a BA in Communications from Winthrop University. She and her husband Russell enjoy traveling in the US and Europe, but on most weekends can be found at her family farm in the SC Lowcountry. She is a Founding Member of the Women's Impact Fund and has served a variety of roles, including co-chair of the Arts and Culture Grants Work Team. Laurie is also a member of The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy and Costco.

“I find it constantly amazing how people are willing to donate their money and energies to change the world. It's up to us in nonprofit to help them find causes that really speak to them, provide them with the means to affect change, and make sure they see what a wonderful impact they made. It is truly a gift – and so much fun!”

Isabel Guzman

Isabel Guzman is a strategist and operational leader who brings over 20 years of experience advising entrepreneurs, launching ventures, and creating programs and systems which propel business growth. She has been a leader in government, a consultant to nonprofits and Fortune 500 companies, and a co-founder of two businesses.

 “My passion is making a positive impact in communities and expanding economic opportunity for everyone.  It has been professionally gratifying to deploy my operational experience with LevRidge Resources - to the benefit of the nonprofit sector, which provides the economic backbone for so many underserved communities.”