EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Jill Harrison joined the Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma as executive director in May 2015. Jill assists the organization with event planning, fundraising, publicity/awareness, advocacy and general office management.

Jill received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in Spanish from Arizona State University. She has held numerous communications and marketing positions over the course of her career. Jill is active in the community, and serves on the board of the Public Relations Society of America. She was previously a DSACO board member and was chair of the Festival & 5K in 2014.

Robert Powell, president, was raised in and lives in Edmond with his wife, Marne, and their three children. Robert has been a member of DSACO since the birth of his middle child, Lil’ Rob, who was born with Down syndrome in September of 2010. Robert holds a BA from the University of Central Oklahoma and a MBA from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has held multiple financial positions in the private sector and has owned and operated a small business in the Oklahoma City area for the past six years.

Fara Taylor, vice-president, graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in advertising.  She has been an active member with DSACO since her son, Beckett, was born in February 2007 and has been fundraising with the annual Buddy Walk/Festival & 5K every year since.  She has previously served as co-chair and registration chair.  She is currently involved with the DSACO Education and Medical Outreach Committee.  She is married to Matthew Taylor and is the mother of Beckett and Ansley.  Fara has worked in public relations for over 12 years in the non-profit and in the government sector.  In addition to her work with DSACO, she also volunteers with OK-AIM and Oklahoma Family Network. She is an Ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS).  She is an active member of Information Professionals for Oklahoma (iPro).

Scott White, treasurer, has worked in the energy business for over 18 years and has extensive experience in fundraising at the non-profit level. Scott began and coordinated a golf tournament, which has become one of the largest fundraising events in the nation for the Whitefield’s Boys Home.

Sarah Soell, secretary, is the proud mother of Adliene, Kerstin (DS), and Koen.  She works for the University of Oklahoma as the assistant vice president for Public Affairs, where she plans and coordinates many of the major university events.  She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University earning her BS degree in Hotel Management and her MS degree in Hospitality Administration.  Sarah has been involved with DSACO since the birth of her daughter Kerstin and helped coordinate the FESTIVAL for the last four years, serving as Co-Chair the last two.  She is currently a sustaining member of the Junior League of Norman, where she served on the board for two years, and serves as Vice President of the Cleveland County 4-H Foundation.  She and her husband Preston along with their three children reside in Norman where they are members of the First Christian Church.  Sarah was a member of the 2003 Leadership Norman Class and was selected as Oklahoma Magazine 40 under 40, April 2008.

Dr. Ursula Bowling, PsyD is a clinical psychologist with a particular interest in marriage and family therapy.  She is married to Michael and the mother of four young children by birth and adoption.  As the mother of a child with Down syndrome, Ursula is grateful for all the resources DSACO provides and thankful to be able to serve her community as a member of the DSACO board.

Kerri Brooks has been involved with DSACO since her son’s (Jacob) birth in 2001. She has served on the Board of Directors for the past three years.  Currently she is also serving as the Co-Chair for the DSACO Cup.  She has also served on several committees such as the 2012 Reaching Across the Plains Conference, the Easter Eggstravaganza, DSACO Newsletter Coordinator, Buddy Walk and Governmental Affairs Committee. She is the past co-founder and co-coordinator for the Norman Sibshops and is a 2011 Partners in Policy Making graduate. She resides in Moore with her husband, Cris, and their two sons.

Cheryl L. Bryant, MD, is a pediatrician on faculty with the Pediatric Department at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center and OU Children’s Physicians. She helps train pediatric resident physicians in an outpatient clinic setting and also has a small pediatric practice. She is an advocate for children with special health care needs, and enjoys helping resident trainees become knowledgeable and comfortable with providing pediatric care to this population of patients.  She resides in Edmond with her husband, grown daughter with Down syndrome and 2 teenage sons.

Jennifer Hromek is a group event and ticket sales coordinator for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Jennifer’s first experience with the Down syndrome association was as a
basketball court escort on a DSACO-Thunder game night. She quickly began volunteering for the organization after realizing how much she enjoyed interacting with people with Down syndrome.

Greg Little is a lifelong OKC resident and has three wonderful children. His first child, Ayden, was born in 2004 and has Down syndrome. He also has 2 daughters Isabella, born in 2006 and Megan, born in 2010. Greg and his wife, Malorie, are active participants in DSACO’s Parent to Parent South sharing and support group. They are also active members of Capitol Hill Assembly of God church in Oklahoma City where Greg has been a member for 37 years. Greg has worked for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security since 2002 and is currently a Behavior Detection Officer for the Transportation Security Administration.

Chris Paynter, a Special Olympics athlete from Edmond, is one of the first Global Messengers from Oklahoma, beginning his career in 1997. Chris began competing at the age of eight. He competes in several sports including aquatics, bocce, and bowling; but is best know for his powerlifting accomplishments. Chris has represented Team USA at the 1995, 1999, and 2003 World Summer Games in Connecticut, North Carolina, and Ireland bringing home 7 gold, 4 silver and 2 bronze medals in World competition.  Chris also competes in Alpine skiing and snowshoeing each year at Heartland Games in Missouri.  At the 2001 World Winter Games in Anchorage, Alaska Chris won a Gold Medal in the downhill and a Silver Medal in the giant slolam. Chris is what every Special Olympics athlete aspires to be – he’s competitive, fun-loving, warm, polite, and a true champion at heart. Chris is also a member Oklahoma Law Enforcement Torch Run Board of Directors.

Dana Poulter is an active advocate for persons with disabilities. She is the mother of 4- year-old Nathaniel and has served on a number of committees including the Lending Library, Buddy Walk and Reaching Across the Plains Conference. Dana is the owner of Heartland Business Solutions. She and her husband, Ivan, live in Edmond.

Catalina Riano is a nursing student and sister of brother with Down syndrome who currently serves as a translator between DSACO and the Hispanic P2P group. She has served as a volunteer at a number of DSACO events and is currently working with the association to develop more Spanish language promotional material.

Bobby Kern is the proud husband of Lisa and father to Lydia and Josiah. Bobby has been a member of DSACO since the birth of Josiah in 2013.  Bobby holds a BS and MA from Oklahoma Christian University and a PhD in Human Development and Family Science from Oklahoma State, and is a Certified Family Life Educator.  Currently, he serves as Assistant Professor of Psychology and Family Studies at Oklahoma Christian.  He also serves as a representative on the National Affiliates Board for the National Council on Family Relations, and on the board of the Oklahoma affiliate.  

Lori Wathen is currently employed at OUHSC; she is the Region 3 Coordinator for Sooner SUCCESS, who provides resources and information to families that are raising a child with special needs from birth to 21. Lori is married to Brian Wathen and they live in Norman OK. They are the proud parents of a son Reis, who was born with Down syndrome. Lori is a 2010-2011 LEND (Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopment Disabilities) Fellow graduate representing Parent/Family issues. She currently serves as a member of the IDEA-B Advisory Panel, Special Education Resolution Center Advisory Board, ABLE Tech Statewide Consumer Advisory Council, Moore Schools Transition Team, and Special Education Chair for OKPTA. Lori has also served as the Past-President of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma.