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Meet the Downings

Describing us in the simplest of terms comes down to the fact that we're a couple of academics who have been tutoring, mentoring, coaching, and raising kids for more than 3 decades. We both started working in the learning and development field to make money as undergraduate students. We're still doing this work 30 years later because it's who we are and we truly enjoy helping people realize and grow into and their potential.


A few years ago we realized that due to our experience as L & D consultants in the corporate space and learning strategists in higher education, we have information that parents need to help their kids successfully navigate K-12, higher education, and life in general. The information we share isn't a secret, hard to understand, or hard to put into practice with your kids. It's just not something that's commonly shared and discussed as it relates to helping kids improve their learning performance. Now that you've found us, you have access to models, games, insights, guidance, and examples you can put into practice with the young ones you care about. Not only will you be able to do it--you'll have a lot of fun engaging with kids in this manner. 

Why learn with
Team Downing?

Our ages span almost 6 decades and every - single - one - of - us has been counted out or labeled at some point in our lives. Here are a few of the labels we've overcome.

  • Not smart enough/Not good enough

  • Single mom (Really? Why not - Mom?)

  • Adult learner (returning to school)

  • Low self-esteem

  • Too hood/Too country/Too this, that, or the other

  • Late bloomer/Slow/Not smart enough

  • Socially Awkward

NOTE: In some cases we didn't so much ditch the label as let folks know that their perspective of that label was incorrect.


The list goes on but you get my point. These labels were coming from people we could have believed. But, we didn't, because each of us knew how to change our personal trajectory.

Carla A. Downing, PhD

With nearly 30 years of experience teaching, training, designing, developing, and managing high-end learning solutions and programs and 15 years of experience developing high-performance teams, Carla has a well-established record of results. Her approach to designing instructional experiences combines exceptional communication skills as well as her experience as a collegiate athlete, a member of the military, and several years teaching in higher education. 

Craig G. Downing, PhD

A leader in the field of Engineering Management, Craig combines his expertise as a Six Sigma Master Black Belt, a process engineer, and an educator focused on creation of innovative education and training programs for professionals to provide clients with process improvement solutions. Craig holds a Masters degree in Manufacturing Systems and a doctorate in Workforce Education & Development from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He is currently serving as Associate Dean, Lifelong Learning at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. In addition, he's a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach. 


Other Key Members of Team Downing

We use lots of examples from our family when we do workshops and seminars. So, we thought it best to go ahead and introduce you to our crew. These are our sons, my oldest son's wife, and their two kids. You might also hear about my parents since Craig and I spend a lot of time helping them and taking care of their home. We collectively make up--Team Downing.

Learner 1 - University (traditional)

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This is our collegiate football player. He's a strong student and also the first in the family to benefit from being raised using all of the games, techniques, and approaches we share in our resources and classes. We refer to him as Charlie or Charlie Solo.

Learner 2 - Middle School


This kid is something else. He's very creative but leans more toward engineering than the pure arts. In 4th grade he was reading at an 8th-grade level. He is now in middle school, enjoying club soccer, and handling the classroom as well as the pitch well.

Learner 3 - Elementary


This child started kindy in 2020. Wow, what a year. She managed as well as she could and even got to like it sometimes. But, she was really glad when they got to go F2F for most of the week. She is now in 2nd grade and a strong student. She has also found that she loves playing soccer as well.

Learner 4 - University (adult)


Anytime we refer to Bravo we're talking about our oldest son, his wife, and the kids. Mom and dad are using many of the approaches we'll be addressing with their young ones and so far so good. Dad has returned to school to finish his undergad and learning more about who he is as an adult learner.

Photo Credit: Katy Davis Photography

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