Candidate Profiles for 2019 Executive Board

Please review candidate profiles in preparation for YDATL Executive Board Elections on Wednesday, December 5, 2017 at 7:30pm at Manuel's Tavern. All active YDATL members are eligible to vote. Below are candidate answers to the three following questions: 

1. What is your previous involvement in YDATL or other political organizations?

2. What experience or skills will you bring to the YDATL Executive Board?

3. What do you do when you're not working to build a blue future? (For work or for fun.)

Jenny Besse

Candidate, President

1. I joined YDATL in February of 2017 and jumped right in! Over the course of a few months I took on several leadership positions including Political Activism Committee Co-Chair, Future is Blue Event Chair, and Communications Director on the Executive Board. Through these roles I accomplished the following: led multiple Political Activism Committee meetings, organized a general body meeting focused on healthcare access in Georgia, canvassed for Democratic candidates, participated in the Atlanta Pride Parade, organized a highly successful signature fundraising event that engaged 29 new members, 9 progressive leaders, 8 sponsors and 5 donors and raised $6,000 to fuel our mission, organized a photo shoot to recognize YDATL members, increased YDATL presence and activity on social media and launched the second phase of the 2017 YDATL website.  For the last year, I have served as Vice President. In this role, I supported the chapter President, led YDATL E-Board meetings, co-facilitated our annual retreat, helped grow our chapter to nearly 120 members, organized canvasses for Democratic candidates and chaired another successful Future is Blue. I also participated in many YD and chapter events including the YDG Convention, YDATL service and social events and YD legislative days at the Georgia State Capitol.


2. I'm a mission-driven team builder and community mobilizer. I have a strong history of demonstrated leadership in highly recognized non-profit organizations including the American Cancer Society (ACS) and Health Students Taking Action Together, Inc. (HealthSTAT). As Relay For Life Chair of the ACS Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) National Leadership Team I collaborated with six students from across the country to grow and develop nearly 300 CAC chapters nationwide and strengthen the collegiate division of the world's largest non-profit, non-governmental fundraising event. As President of HealthSTAT I led the board of directors of a nationally-recognized interdisciplinary student-run non-profit organization dedicated to building a healthier Georgia through service education and advocacy. I am eager to continue bringing skills learned through these roles and others to YDATL. I hope to serve as an effective liaison between YDATL and the larger Democratic Party, continue to strengthen our Executive Board and overall organization, better engage and mobilize our growing membership, and ensure we deliver on our strategic plan and further our mission.


3. I'm a Pediatric Endocrinology Nurse Practitioner by day. For fun, I run! There's a good chance you can find me on the Beltline :)

Zack Nikonovich-Kahn

Candidate, Vice President

1. I have loved being a member of YDATL for the past two years, and I have particularly enjoyed serving as the Social Chair on the 2018 Board. I also serve on the Board of Directors of Red Clay Democrats. To learn more about why I'm running, I encourage you to visit my website:


2. I have thoroughly enjoyed serving as the Social Chair for the YDATL Board in 2018. In this role I planned and executed four successful social events for our chapter, including: 1) A happy hour mixer in April for chapter members to meet and mingle with primary election Democratic candidates for the 2018 election. 2) A viewing party in May, held in conjunction with Red Clay Democrats, to watch the primary election results. 3) A political trivia night in August, which attracted over 80 participants, including people new to our chapter. 4) A viewing party in November, held in partnership with Red Clay Democrats, to watch the general election results. I also have experience serving on the Board of Directors of Red Clay Democrats, a progressive organization that raises funds for statewide Democratic candidates in Georgia. Additionally, I served as the Public Policy Advocate for three state legislative sessions for Families First, a nonprofit organization that provides social services to low-income families.


3. I currently serve as the Director of Volunteer Recruitment for Big Brothers Big Sisters, where I recruit adults to serve as volunteer mentors to ask-risk children. In my free time, I enjoy hunting for antiques, walking the BeltLine, and nurturing my obsession with trashy British reality television.

Maria Andrade

Candidate, Communications


1. YDATL has given me many invaluable opportunities to work for progressive candidates and causes in this state. Last year, I was excited to begin serving as the Secretary for the YDG Latinx caucus. I organized meetings and canvasses to empower the Latinx community throughout Atlanta and the entire state. Since joining YDATL, I have also become a member of the Georgia WIN List Leadership Academy and participated in community trainings like Norma Y. Mineta Leadership Institute Training and GALEO’s Latino Leaders Summit. Additionally, I have experience working on several campaigns and initiatives in various capacities. I have volunteered with Ceasar Mitchell for Mayor, Care in Action, Brenda Lopez for HD 99, Doug Jones for Alabama Senate, Jonathan Burke for Miami Dade County Commission, Ben Jealous for Governor of Maryland, Mike Espy for Senate in Mississippi, and Lucy McBath for GA 06.


2. I moved to the United States as a Venezuelan immigrant. I have a unique perspective into the dangers of authoritarianism that drives my deep love and respect for the American political system. These experiences are why I am so personally dedicated to fighting for the betterment of the Democratic Party. I have worked for several years as a Marketing Strategist. I currently work for the World Affairs Council of Atlanta in digital marketing, content creation, and coordinating social media rollouts. I have built up and maintained a strong social media presence to increase the reach of our programs and engage future and current members. I also have extensive graphic design experience. I have designed campaign materials for Ben Jealous, Mike Espy, and Lucy McBath. As a digital communications professional, I will ensure that YDATL engages in exclusively professional and targeted communication to current and potential members.


3. I currently work as a Marketing Strategist for the World Affairs Council of Atlanta. I enjoy spending time building programs focused on bringing light to different issues of international and domestic relevance. I am close to finishing the political science program at Georgia State University.

1. I have served as YDATL's Communications Director for the past year. I am also an active member of the Red Clay Democrats and have volunteered with a variety of Democratic campaigns in and around Atlanta.


2. As Finance Chair, I will continue to make sure that our organization's finances are organized and transparent. I will also work zealously to help strengthen YDATL financially and to build our capacity to help further progressive policies and elect progressive candidates in 2019 and beyond. I also have extensive experience handling financial matters. By day, I am a practicing federal tax lawyer and the founder and Executive Director of a legal services nonprofit. My service on the executive board over the past year has also given me a strong familiarity with the finances of YDATL.


3. I love to cook and explore Atlanta's many fabulous restaurants, bask in the glory of modern television, and strongly consider regular exercise.

Eric Santos

Candidate, Finance Director 

1. I currently serve as the Activism Director for YDATL, and help co-chair the political activism committee. I am also the co-chair of the Young Democrats of Georgia Black Caucus. In my professional life, I'm the Political Director for Let America Vote.


2. I have a background in policy, organizing, and campaigns. I also have relationships with many elected officials and can work with them on bills and issues that are important to YDATL.


3. When I'm not working to build a blue future (which is kind of always), I'm shopping, cooking, or napping.

Porsha White

Candidate, Political Director 

1. 2 Years of Executive Board service, 1 year of service on the General Body, South Fulton Democrat Atlanta city captain, Red Clay Democrats, Fulton County Democrat


2. Non Profit Management, Executive Leadership, Event Planning, Community Organizing, Advocacy, Policy Analysis


3. Spending time with family and friends, traveling and working out.

Jonathan Leon

Candidate, Activism Director

1. I am a post seat holder for the Fulton County Democratic Party. I have served in a variety of capacities with the Young Democrats of Georgia and prior to that was the President of the College Democrats of Georgia.


2. I am very organized and have served in a similar capacity with my college chapter. I have experience coordinating with other organizations and building coalitions from when I worked to oppose campus carry legislation. I believe that I am open to new ideas and that I am good at helping others expand and flesh theirs.

3. I enjoy playing and watching soccer, reading, and traveling. My wife and I have two dachshunds that we spoil.

John Koch

Candidate, Service Chair 

1. I am a newly active member within YDATL after joining this summer. I am also a current post seat holder for the Fulton Democrats and was elected delegate to the 2018 Democratic Convention. Additionally, I am on the leadership team within the Atlanta chapter of the Reformation Project which focuses on direct action organizing to reform church policy to be more lgbtq inclusive as well as supporting the efforts of The Human Rights Campaign.


2. I have experience organizing groups, building coalitions and planning events. I am invested in growing YDATLs presence and membership to help continue to build towards a blue future.


3. I love to explore all of Atlanta’s amazing breweries and cheer on Atl United!

Kat Bowling

Candidate, Social Chair 

1. Founder and Organizer of Millennials for Abrams.


2. Graphic design fluency; extensive professional events and fundraising experience; familiarity with local, state and federal politics.


3. I am the Public Affairs Manager for a small ATL-based non-profit serving children and youth who have sustained brain and spinal cord trauma; I volunteer with Shepherd Center; I write for and have most recently been running Millennials for Abrams (a grassroots fundraising and volunteer organization).

Brit Eames

Candidate, Social Chair 

Rise Up

Young Democrats of Atlanta

931 Monroe Drive Ste A 102-199

Atlanta, GA 30308

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