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Make-A-Wish America announces new senior leaders


January 11, 2017



Leaders to help organization reach goal of granting 17,000 wishes a year by 2020

PHOENIX (January 11, 2017) – Make-A-Wish® America is taking significant strides to reach more seriously ill children and provide them with the life-changing benefits of a wish. As part of these efforts, the wish granting organization has announced three new executives who will steer the organization toward its lofty goals. Each leader comes with a wealth of experience in their respective roles and a proven track record of sustained success and growth.

Drew Lawton has been appointed to the position of Board Chair for the Make-A-Wish America National Board of Directors. He will guide the national board and its 26 esteemed members who represent the best and brightest in the areas of human resources, finance, fundraising, management, marketing and operations. Aside from his voluntary role with Make-A-Wish, Drew most recently held the position of CEO of New York Life Investment Management LLC (NYLIM). Prior to retiring in 2015, Drew oversaw the company’s global asset management businesses including Institutional Investments, MainStay Mutual Funds, Strategic Asset and Allocation Solutions, and Retirement Plan Services (RPS).

Another significant change comes in the form of promoting Leslie Motter – previously the vice president of human resources for Make-A-Wish America – to senior vice president and chief operations officer. In her three years with Make-A-Wish, Leslie has spearheaded new programs intended to attract high caliber talent, improve employee engagement and foster personal development. Her new operations focused role will be in alignment with the skills Leslie developed in her previous senior vice president roles at several Fortune 500 companies, including American Express, Aetna Financial Services, Prudential and The Vanguard Group. Leslie will oversee the finance, technology, legal, human resources and strategic planning departments.

In conjunction with Leslie’s role change, Make-A-Wish America has hired a new vice president and chief human resources officer to captain the human resources department. Thomas Parker comes to Make-A-Wish from American Express Technology (AET) where he was the vice president, HR transformation. Tom was responsible for leading and enabling strategies across AET to drive delivery transformation, organizational culture, change management and people solutions. Between AET and his previous work experience, Tom has accumulated more than 20 years of expertise in human resources leadership.

“The ability to grant more and better wishes is directly tied to the quality of talent that we have leading our various business units,” said David Williams, Make-A-Wish America president and CEO. “With the latest additions to Make-A-Wish leadership, we are well positioned to make a bigger impact in the lives of wish families nationwide for years to come.”

Make-A-Wish America is the national branch of Make-A-Wish responsible for providing guidance, support, national programs, policies and performance standards to the 62 chapters of Make-A-Wish located throughout the United States and its territories. To learn more about Make-A-Wish and to find out how to get involved, visit

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Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. According to a 2011 U.S. study of wish impact, most health professionals surveyed believe a wish-come-true has positive impacts on the health of children. Kids say wishes give them renewed strength to fight their illness, and their parents say these experiences help strengthen the entire family. Headquartered in Phoenix, Make-A-Wish is one of the world's leading children's charities, serving children in every community in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and more than 28,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish grants a wish somewhere in the country every 35 minutes. It has granted more than 270,000 wishes since its inception in 1980; more than 14,800 in 2015 alone. Visit Make-A-Wish at to learn more.

Press Contact

Jamie Sandys
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1702 E. Highland Ave Suite 400
Phoenix, AZ  85016

Phone : (602) 385-6884
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