Meet Our Executive Committee

 

Katie SolonKATIE SOLON
International Chair - Germany
Votes in: Colorado

Kathryn (Katie) Solon was elected International Chair of Democrats Abroad in 2013 with a background making her an ideal choice to lead the Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA)--the official arm of the Democratic Party for U.S. citizens living outside the USA.

Born in Nebraska and raised in Colorado and other western states, Katie has lived overseas for 32 years in far-flung regions around the globe, including Southeast Asia, Central America, Africa and more recently central Europe.

She served as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, worked extensively with refugees and relief programs and for the Fulbright Commission. Her overseas postings included El Salvador and Somalia, for which she received the State Department’s Superior Honor Award.

Katie received a BS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a Master’s Degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

She first moved abroad in 1982.

Katie is one of the founders and served as Chair of DA Austria, and was instrumental in greatly expanding the scope and stature of that committee. Recently she moved to Bavaria with her German husband and their teenage son.
Before assuming the top role as International Chair, Katie served as International Treasurer for DA during the U.S. presidential campaign of 2012.
Her roots in Democratic politics go back to high school and college, when she campaigned for state and national Democratic candidates. Later she joined Senator Ted Kennedy’s presidential campaign national field staff. Her support for the values of the Democratic Party have informed her life and work as a U.S. citizen abroad.


KEN SHERMAN
International Vice Chair
Canada
Votes in: New York

As the immediate past International Chair 2011-2013, Ken Sherman’s DA experience includes managing regular Executive Committee meetings, leading three DPCA global meetings, overseeing a dozen committees and task forces, heading the DPCA delegation to the 2012 Democratic Party Convention in Charlotte and authorized periodic fundraising and information bulletins. He participated in the regularly scheduled meetings of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Association of State Democrats Chairs (ASDC).
Ken was a past Chair of Democrats Abroad - Canada, and is the current Chair of its Hamilton Chapter. 

He has had 40 years of community organizing and management experience with eight not-for-profit organizations in Western New York (before moving to Canada) on issues related to peace, housing, energy conservation, environment, waterfront planning, historic preservation and GOTV activities.

In his business life, Ken is the property manager of rental housing in Canada, the US and France. He is married to Caroline Bayard, a retired French professor and French citizen. They have three children who live and /or work in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Ken has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana and a Divinity degree from Concordia Seminary, Springfield, Illinois. 


WILL BAKKER
International Secretary
Luxembourg
Votes in: Illinois

Will was a part- and full-time instructor of philosophy at the College of Lake County, Grayslake, Illinois teaching introductory logic, ethics, environmental ethics and political philosophy. Will was a primary organizer for the first adjunct-faculty union at his college, and was elected President once the union was recognized by an overwhelming vote of the represented workers.

He participated in standing committees of the American Federation of Teachers headquarters in Washington DC, and helped represent his local organization at a national convention. Will served on his local’s long-standing PAC and helped establish the first PAC focused on higher education in his county. Today, he lives in Luxembourg, where he has been active with Democrats Abroad for four years.


ART SCHANKLER
International Treasurer
Serbia
Votes in: New York

Art currently works in Serbia on the preparation of infrastructure projects in the Western Balkans region. His previous experience includes working in refugee camps in Southeast Asia and East Africa, working at an investment bank in New York providing financing for local government, as well as eight years at a development bank serving Eastern Europe. In addition, he has served as a lecturer in American Government and Politics at a university in Prague. He is a lifelong Democrat, from stuffing envelopes for John Kennedy, working for the Mondale-Ferraro campaign to going door-to-door for President Obama in his hometown of Akron, Ohio in 2008. He served as the Chair of the Czech Republic Committee of Democrats Abroad in 2011-2012 and was elected International Treasurer in 2013. He is a graduate of Princeton University in East Asian Studies and has an MBA from Columbia Business School.


ORLANDO VIDAL
International Counsel
United Arab Emirates
Votes in: District of Columbia

Orlando Vidal is a partner in the Dubai office of Dentons, one of the ten largest law firms in the world, and specializes in international arbitration. As a former Assistant US Attorney (federal prosecutor), Resident Legal Advisor for the US Department of Justice in Bogotá, Colombia, and now head of his firm’s Middle East Internal Investigations and Compliance Practice Group, he also assists clients in US and cross-border internal and government investigations, corporate governance, compliance, fraud, audits, global anti-corruption matters (including Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Bribery Act), and international criminal-law matters.

Orlando has also served as Board Member and General Counsel of the Hispanic College Fund. Prior to living in Dubai, he lived in Washington, D.C. for 12 years.


ADRIENNE JONES
Regional Vice Chair - Americas
Canada
Votes in: District of Columbia

Adrienne’s involvement with Democrats Abroad began in 2001 at Democrats Abroad - Canada’s (DAC) Toronto Chapter. In 2003, she was elected Secretary of DAC, and was served as DAC Vice Chair from 2005-07, and Chair from 2007-09.

As DAC Chair Adrienne oversaw updating the country membership database, raising funds, forging a stronger chapter network to better implement our ambitious GOTV plans for 2008 and significantly increasing DAC membership and organizing Canada’s 13 voting centers for DA’s first-ever Global Primary in 2008. Under her leadership, DAC hosted the 2008 DPCA Global Meeting in Vancouver. That year, she was elected to serve on the Rules Committee at the Democratic National Convention and, at the 2012 DPCA Global Convention, was elected as one of the three global Delegates to the Democratic National Convention. She serves as Regional Vice Chair for the Americas, one of two DA Canada Vice Chairs, and a DPCA voting member.

A native of Philadelphia, PA, Adrienne has also lived south Florida (Coral Gables), New York, Berkeley, and Washington, D.C. in the US, and in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Adrienne started her professional career in publishing in NYC. Her public relations career spans Toronto, Hong Kong and Washington, DC where she worked as a PR Manager and an Account Executive. While abroad, Adrienne volunteered as Chair of Cross-Cultural Committee for American Women’s Club. She has served on professional boards: Women in Film & Television (Toronto); Women in Food & Beverage Industry (Ontario); and the Communications Advisory Board for Centennial College (Toronto).

Adrienne has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Miami, minored in history, and attended the University of Florida for two years (Gainesville, FL). Her home is in downtown Toronto, Canada.


BRITT FARBO
Regional Vice Chair - Asia Pacific
Cambodia
Votes in: Maryland

Britt Farbo brings nearly a decade and a half of on the ground field organizing experience to Democrats Abroad. She helped found the Northern Cochise County Democrats in 2002 before graduating from high school and is a fifth generation Arizonan who now resides in Cambodia. Currently a Sophomore at Saint Mary of the Woods College, she was elected Chair of Democrats Abroad - Cambodia in 2012, and served as Secretary of Democrats Abroad - Afghanistan from 2010-2011. During her time in Afghanistan, Britt worked as a volunteer and eventually as a junior policy consultant at the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock . Before moving to Asia, she was a member of Democrats Abroad Norway 2009-2010 where she took studies at the University of Oslo and sat on the student parliament.

Britt resided in the Washington, DC for nearly 5 years where she was an intern at EMILY’s List, the Treasurer for LGBT caucus of the Young Democrats of America 2005-2007 and as consultant for a political data company focusing on constituent emails for Democratic members of Congress. She also has professional experience as field organizer for several progressive causes and candidates. During her time in Washington she also served as a member of the AmeriCorps program working with the homeless veteran population from 2008-2009. Her work has included campaigns and voter registration drives in New Mexico, as well as work on the 2004 Southern Arizona Coordinated Campaign running the constituent services desk.


MERRILL OATES
Regional Vice Chair - Europe, Middle East and Africa
Hungary
Votes in: Utah

As the son of a US Diplomat, Merrill was born abroad and has lived most of his life outside of the US. 

Attending college on a conservative campus during the Reagan 80's he was one of a small troop of College Democrats, and became the editor and publisher of an independent student newspaper, where he learned the value and importance of providing an "alternative voice" to raise important social issues of minority rights, homosexuality, and gender equality within the larger community.

Merrill currently manages an IT sales and consulting company in Budapest, Hungary, and has provided IT consulting and training services to a range of NGO's, EU grant projects, specialized consulting firms, and major corporate clients.

He first became involved with Democrats Abroad during the 2004 Presidential election, and then initiated the process of creating a formal country committee in Hungary in 2008. He has served as Vice-Chair and currently as Chair of that committee.  He has also served as the EMEA Region Secretary and on the DPCA Best Practices committee and on the Data Mining project.

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