Testimonials

“David’s exceptional facilitation skills and keen knowledge of the field galvanized our board and staff team to confront, examine, and plan for the opportunities and challenges in the wake of the events of 2020.  The resulting strategic plan and vision promotes diversity, inclusivity and relevance of our programs across the organization and in our interactions with partners and allies.”

Elizabeth Kostelny, President & CEO, Preservation Virginia, Richmond, VA

One of David’s many strengths is his intellectual and practical understanding of the international context of the preservation movement. David has forged lasting global relationships that have inspired and empowered numerous domestic and global heritage NGOs and groups.

Justin Albert, OBE, Director for Wales, National Trust of England, Wales, & Northern Ireland, UK

David has the unusual ability both to dive in deeply to truly understand a situation and to step back strategically to fully consider the contextual framework of a given challenge or opportunity. He rolls up his sleeves with determination spiced with humor and smarts and works with colleagues collaboratively to get to the real heart of an issue. What’s more, he invariably coalesces and summarizes findings into synthesized recommendations that are realistic, achievable and visionary.

Judith Fiske Moak, Founder & Principal, Clear Circle Consulting, Potomac, MD

David Brown is rock-solid in his knowledge of strategic planning and gentle and empowering as a facilitator in group meetings.  He is also incredible at tracking detail.  For me, he was like a ballast in potentially rough waters.

Kathleen H. Crowther, President, Cleveland Restoration Society, Cleveland, OH

One of the highlights of my career was working with David Brown to co-create the Partners in Preservation Program while I was at American Express and David was at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. We started with the premise that real partnerships begin with a problem — in this case how to bring more attention to important historic sites in communities and neighborhoods — and then create an environment where ideas can be generated and discussed and creative solutions agreed upon, jointly developed and implemented. What we created was a marriage of equals and a family of collaborators focused on a single vision, which resulted in over $30 million being distributed to over 250 historic sites around the country based on the input and votes of local communities and citizen advocates over a 12-year period. It was both a privilege and enjoyable experience working with David and his team, and I hope we can collaborate again sometime in the future.

Timothy J. McClimon, President, The Celeste Group (formerly President, American Express Foundation), New York, NY

David is the perfect consultant. Not only is he hugely experienced and knowledgeable; he is also diligent and a pleasure to work with. David recently helped us develop and secure new grant funding and he has been involved in all stages of project delivery: listening, asking questions, writing and more. The fact that he’s still able to be inquisitive and supportive after a long career in our sector makes him a stand-out addition to the team.

Catherine A. Leonard, Secretary General, International National Trusts Organisation (INTO), London, UK

“David was the ideal consultant for our strategic planning process. He is extremely well-versed in the preservation field and quickly earned the trust of our staff and board. And he brought a practical, diligent, and highly organized approach that was critical to our success. Most important, David is an outstanding person — patient, kind, and wise. These traits were on full display throughout.”

Scott Holbrook, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Cleveland Restoration Society, Cleveland, OH

Working closely in a strategic plan leadership team with our CEO and Board Chair, David established an immediate bond not only with our staff and board members but also with Preservation Virginia’s key supporters, partners, and allies to help us identify preservation strengths, needs, and opportunities in Virginia. David adeptly used online Zoom sessions — a medium then new to many in our community — to solicit and incorporate participants’ ideas into a timely strategic plan that emphasizes internal and external collaborations as the most effective way to ensure that historic preservation makes a difference in addressing the critical issues that confront Preservation Virginia’s own historic sites as well as our historic cities, towns and countryside.

Genevieve Keller, Board Chair, Preservation Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

I credit David’s challenge to think broader and deeper about the role of the built heritage with paving the way for my work on statewide economic impact studies and issues related to housing, the environment and historic preservation. David opened up opportunities for me to expand my perspectives.

Donovan Rypkema, Founder & Principal, Place Economics, Washington, DC

Your addition at Filoli has done wonders to mend a battered bridge…but now I believe the bridge is strengthened by the mutual respect, honesty and open communications you brought to us.

Kara Newport, President & CEO, Filoli Center, Woodside, CA

David has been one of my heroes…(with his) undying service ethic, unflappable humor, and his Jeffersonian optimism.

Leslie Greene Bowman, President & CEO, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation (Monticello), Charlottesville, VA

David Brown served as the study leader on a recent tour that my company designed in Asheville, NC.  David was a congenial presence throughout, but his lecture to our travelers stood out as being of especially high quality, tying together local Asheville architectural history and preservation stories with bigger, national-level issues. I have escorted well over 100 tours in my career in cultural tourism and David’s lecture was one of the better presentations I have seen.  He speaks with warmth and in an approachable style, but still manages to effectively address high-level issues relating to communities and historic preservation.  Lectures can have varying levels of success on cultural tours, but David’s was certainly a highlight!”

Jordan Cook, President, International Seminar Design, Inc., Tampa, FL

David is by far one of the best managers and leaders with whom I’ve ever worked. He has a steady managing style combined with an ability to think nimbly and strategically to changing circumstances and challenges. David listens well and thoughtfully processes ideas to help find the best way forward for growth during a nonprofit’s pivot. Above all else, David is kind, thoughtful, and has a great sense of humor. It has been an honor to work with him.

Barbara O’Reilly, CFRE, Founder & Principal, Windmill Hill Consulting, Washington, DC

Excellence. That’s the first word that comes to mind when I think of David Brown. Devoted to building, executing, and evaluating the best possible strategy with input from the very best people, David has spent his career leading mission-based organizations. He is a results-oriented, thoughtful problem-solver. He listens — really listens — a true skill. I have always been inspired by David and couldn’t recommend him more.

Tracy Quinn, Senior Director (Retired), Strategic Communications at Office of Alumni and Development, Columbia University, New York, NY