Gabi is a 24 year old active, motivated adult. When she graduated high school she searched and applied for many positions but could not get hired, not surprisingly 82% of individuals with special needs are
Additionally, she works at pop up shops on the weekends, delivers coffee to businesses, and speaks at conferences around the country encouraging others that they can start their own business.
As a result of the launch and continued work of Gabi’s, Gabi herself has blossomed into a creative, confident woman. She was honored with the 2019 Self-Advocate of the Year Award by North Carolina Down Syndrome Association.
Mary worked for IBM for 12 years, then she had 6 children and stayed home until Gabi, her only daughter who had Down Syndrome started Kindergarten. When Gabi graduated from High School and could not get hired anywhere we decided to create Gabi’s Grounds Coffee, the goal was to open a coffee shop but Covid made us pivot to start another non profit, called Gabi’s Pals (Packaging, Assembling, Labeling, Shipping).
Lewis holds a master’s degree from the University of Chicago Graduate Business School, and has prior corporate experience with companies including IBM and Smith Barney. He is also the proud father of son who has Down syndrome which makes the mission of arc Thrift Stores all the more important and relevant in his life.
Britt has worked in the children’s museum industry for more than 20 years and was a member of the leadership team that created Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh in 2007. She has led teams across the organization including Marketing & Sales, Customer Support, People Operations and Guest Engagement. Britt is a Downtown Raleigh Alliance board member and is active in the Raleigh Chamber. Prior to working in the museum industry, Britt’s career began in banking and physician recruiting. Britt has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a native of Raleigh, NC.
Britt is the proud mother of Cooper Thomas, a former employee of Gabi’s PALS.
Brian has over twenty years of experience impacting organizational outcomes through effective communication, building consensus among stakeholders, and leading with a positive growth mindset.
Currently, Brian serves as the VP of Business Development for NECS, a consulting company that provides customized fleet solutions for commercial and government entities.
When Brian is not working, you can find him on a family adventure with his wife and three kids, coaching youth sports, volunteering, or enjoying live music. With high-energy and passion, he strives to live by the phrase ‘Sit in the front row of your life’.
Mark has broad bi-vocational experience in both ministry and business. He was one of the founding co-pastors of Linden Life Fellowship in Columbus, Ohio. His business experience spans more than 45 years in a variety of public and private companies, holding senior management positions including President, SVP of Sales, VP of Marketing, VP of Finance, and VP of Legal Services. 25 years of his career was with Tecsys Inc. In 2012, he pulled together a group of investors and launched a B Corp (CleanTurn). He also chairs the board of a small private equity firm (Inventure Holdings). Mark fully retired in December 2022. He and his wife, Leslie, live in Zebulon, NC, and have 3 grown married sons and 9 grandchildren.
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