Ken deLaski, President and Founder. Ken co-founded Deltek Inc. in 1983 and was later the CEO, Chairman and majority shareholder until 2006. Deltek is now one of the largest software companies in the Washington, D.C. area, with 1600 employees worldwide and annual revenues in excess of $300 million. Ken has served on numerous nonprofit boards and has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University. Ken’s active pursuits include travel, playing guitar, trail running and hiking, biking, golf and skiing. Ken lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife Sarah and spends time with family in the D.C. area.
Sarah Goracke, Board member. Sarah brings a lifelong passion for the arts to her position on the Vibrant Village Foundation’s board. In addition to international development, she is particularly interested in supporting organizations that bring art and cultural education to those without access to them. Sarah earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from Simmons College in Boston before embarking on a varied career. In the San Francisco Bay Area, she was a publicist for Ten Speed Press and was a volunteer coordinator for the San Francisco Asian Arts Museum. Sarah was an adventure travel guide for Backroads for five years, leading biking and hiking trips throughout the United States, Canada, Italy and Switzerland. Sarah lives in Portland, Oregon, where her interests include singing and playing the guitar, biking, rafting rivers and international travel. She is also a board member of Urban Gleaners, a Portland organization that distributes surplus food to local agencies and schools that feed the hungry.
Kathleen deLaski, Board member. Kathleen is the current president of the deLaski Family Foundation and founder of the Education Design Lab. She served for eight years on the Board of Visitors of George Mason University where she saw the potential in creating a separate organization to help universities and other partners innovate to prepare the professional workforce. Over the past 10 years, Kathleen has occupied various roles in education reform, most recently as founder of EdFuel, which is developing a talent pipeline for the K-12 “edu-preneur” sector. Kathleen was involved with Michelle Rhee in the creation of StudentsFirst, a national advocacy movement to create better school options. Kathleen spent five years at America Online, where she developed first online election coverage and web interactivity tools to promote civic engagement and helped news organizations create their digital brands. Kathleen earned her undergraduate degree from Duke University and her master's degree in Public Administration at Harvard University's J.F. Kennedy School of Government. Kathleen enjoys cooking, ballet dancing and organic farming. She is Ken deLaski's sister.
Sang Ahn, Board member. Sang Ahn is a certified public accountant and a shareholder of McDonald Jacobs, PC, a local CPA firm based in Portland, Oregon. He works with individual clients, their closely held businesses, and tax exempt organizations. Sang received a Master of Science in Financial Analysis from Portland State University and a Bachelor of Science, Business Administration, Accounting degree from Hawaii Pacific University and graduated with honors. Sang is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Oregon Society of Certified Public Accountants. His volunteer service includes Portland State University Accounting Advisory Board, Beaverton School District Audit Committee, and Dove Lewis Finance Committee.
Jeremy Barnicle, Board Member. Jeremy is the Chief Development and Communications Officer at Mercy Corps. Prior to joining Mercy Corps in 2005, Jeremy worked with the U.S. State Department, on Capitol Hill, with several consulting firms, and at the Associated Press. He has lived and worked in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Hungary and Sierra Leone. He has a BA in public policy from Vanderbilt University and a master of public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, where he serves on the dean’s advisory council.
Sasha Muench, Board Member.Sasha is Senior Director of Markets, Economic Recovery & Growth for Mercy Corps, where she provides institutional leadership and program support on all aspects of economic development for Mercy Corps globally. In particular Ms. Muench is driving expansion of Mercy Corps’ economic recovery activities, market-driven programming, and private sector engagement. She has over twenty years of international development experience, primarily in the areas of economic and market development, financial services provision, enterprise development, private sector engagement, and community revitalization in transitional environments.Ms. Muench spent four years in Indonesia working on economic development and post-tsunami recovery and three years in Bosnia working on microfinance and post-conflict economic recovery. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of the SEEP Network and is a Founding Member of the Markets in Crises Community of Practice.
Lenny Baer, Ghana Program Director. Lenny moved to Ghana in January 2008. He is known locally by his Dagaare name, Nibendᴐ (a shortened version of ‘We-are-all-one-people Man’). Before joining Vibrant Village in 2011, he worked as an associate professor in the Department of Community Development at the University for Development Studies in Wa and, prior to that, he was on the faculty of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi and the University of Lancaster in the United Kingdom. Building on 15 years’ experience working in academia in the US, UK, and Africa, Lenny is interested in giving people a voice, coordinating projects in partnership with local communities, and developing innovative approaches to teaching and learning. He holds a PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree from Virginia Tech. He and his wife Agatha are based in the village of Fielmuo, in the Upper West Region of the country. Whenever he has the chance, Lenny enjoys eating tumpaani, a local dish made from bean flour and dipped in a delicious sauce.
Paul Murtha, Ecuador Program Director. Paul began his relationship with Ecuador as an exchange student during high school. He followed two years at Tufts University with a career in interior design, historic restoration and remodeling for people with disabilities, as well as owning and operating an organic farm in upstate New York. Returning to Ecuador in 2005, he established the nonprofit Montañas de Esperanza (Mountains of Hope) and with Sue Brown, developed education and social service programs. He now works for Vibrant Village Foundation to further this programming and resides 10 months of the year in northern Ecuador. Paul feels fortunate to be around the warmth of the Ecuadorian people as well as their ultra-fine chocolates and coffees.
Nick Kempson, Kenya Program Director. Nick joined the Vibrant Village Foundation in early 2013 as the program director for the Kenya office. Prior to joining Vibrant Village, Nick worked for an economic development consultancy firm based in South Africa, where he worked on over 15 economic development projects for public and multilateral institutions such as the Government of South Africa and the World Bank across South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and Mozambique. Nick’s particular focus was the natural resource value chains with a focus on the mining industry and agriculture (horticulture, coffee and cocoa in particular). Nick has also worked as an agricultural value chain advisor for a USAID-funded economic development project in Tajikistan and spent two summers volunteering in Western Kenya in 2007 and 2008. He has an MSc in Development Economics and Policy from the University of Manchester and is a PRINCE2-certified project manager. Outside of work, Nick enjoys reading and writing, as well as walking and camping trips with his girlfriend, Charlie. He also dabbles in growing his own vegetables, mostly unsuccessfully, and hopes to have more luck (and perhaps a few goats) in the fertile countryside of Western Kenya. Both he and Charlie are excited to be returning to Kenya and establishing the first Vibrant Village office in East Africa.
Charlie Wright, Kenya Education & Training Coordinator. Charlie joined Vibrant Village in 2013 after first visiting Kenya in 2007 and 2008 where she volunteered as a primary school teacher and co-founded a small charity to support an orphanage in Western Kenya. A dance and drama expert, Charlie has used drama as a teaching technique in range of areas from story-telling to physical theatre to Theatre in Education. Prior to her move to Kenya, Charlie worked as an English teacher in a challenging inner-city school in Leeds, UK where she specialized in the teaching of literacy to low ability learners. Passionate about teaching, particularly literacy and the arts, Charlie is implementing ‘literacy through drama and play’ classes in a school for street-children in the town of Kisumu and previously conducted research on the use of arts-centered learning in rural Kenya as part of her thesis at university. Outside of work Charlie enjoys painting, camping and long hikes. She hopes to avoid coming face-to-face with some of Kenya’s bigger wildlife while pursuing these activities in the diverse African countryside.
Marième Daff, Program Officer. Marième brings over twelve years’ experience in international development with a focus on poverty alleviation, primarily in Africa. For over a decade, she served as Africa Program Director for Trickle Up, a New York City-based NGO that focuses on empowering people living in extreme poverty to build sustainable livelihoods through the provision of grants and training. She has deep knowledge of several regions of Africa, as well as experience communicating with a wide range of stakeholders, and a practical knowledge of development issues. Her areas of expertise also include gender-sensitive programming and participatory approaches. Earlier in her career, she worked as a journalist, covering a wide range of social issues affecting African communities and the Diaspora. Born to Senegalese parents, Marième was raised in France and lived in New York City for over fifteen years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Sorbonne in Paris and a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University. Marième enjoys traveling, running, cooking and reading. Being new to Portland, she is also enjoying discovering the Pacific Northwest with her family.
Laura Koch, Director of Program Operations. Laura joined the Vibrant Village Foundation in 2012 to help grow the foundation’s local giving program in Portland, Oregon and to support international partners on measuring the impact of their programs. Over the past ten years, Laura has worked locally in fundraising and program management with REACH CDC and the Community Cycling Center. Previously, Laura spent four years in Guatemala working with the Central American Solar Energy Project to organize local women’s groups and improve health outcomes through appropriate technologies and leadership development. Laura has a BA from the University of Virginia in Spanish and Biology, a Masters in Public Health from Portland State University. Laura enjoys night bike rides, kayaking in British Columbia, harvesting potatoes and crotcheting her own dishrags.
John Stephens, Senior Director, Programs & Partnerships. John joined Vibrant Village Foundation in 2015 to support the organization’s growing portfolio of international grants and programs. John spent the last 12 years with Mercy Corps in numerous roles, including technical support, program operations and as Director of Programs for Mercy Corps China. John has experience in a variety of sectors, including livelihoods and market development, disaster risk reduction and disaster response, agriculture and value chains, and functional areas such as NGO safety and security, strategic planning, organizational development, and project management. John has a BA from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and a Master’s of International Management from Portland State University. John enjoys cycling, fishing, photography and spending time with family.
Grace Taylor, Administrative Manager. Grace brings over 12 years experience in non-profit programs and administration plus experience managing the finances and administration of a law practice. She served as a Program Director and Operations Coordinator at Rural Organizing Project, Volunteer Coordinator at Cascade AIDS Project, and as Director of the Portland Central America Solidarity Committee. As a volunteer, she has coordinated several educational speaking tours of African human rights leaders and policy advocates and travelled to South Africa as a Rotary Cultural Ambassadorial Scholar, studying participatory urban development and volunteering with a youth empowerment project. She recently served as a board member for the Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network (GPSEN,) and Living Earth Gatherings. Grace has a BA in Political Economy from Lewis and Clark College and a MA of Organizational Leadership from Pinchot University. Grace loves dancing and music, and exploring the outdoors with friends and her two kids.