As an urban planner with a focus on centering voices of communities of color in policy design, strategy development and impact measurement, Dara uses her roles, skills and network to advance opportunities to build wealth and power in Black and other racially and economically marginalized communities through equitable development and investment practices.
Prior to Invest STL, Dara served as St. Louis Director of Operations for Urban Strategies, a national nonprofit that works with residents, grassroots organizations, local governments and developers to re-build distressed urban core communities into vibrant residential neighborhoods. Previous roles also include Senior Planner in the St. Louis County Executive’s Office of Strategy + Innovation, St. Louis County Planning, City of St. Louis Homeless Services and the Housing Authority of the City of Bridgeport, CT.
Dara and her family are proud neighbors of Hyde Park. In her not-so-spare time, she enjoys reading a bazillion books, listening to a googolplex of podcasts, being a secret economist and rushing the net on tennis courts across St. Louis.
Dara earned her graduate degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University in New York and her Bachelor of Architecture from Tuskegee University in Alabama. She is a LEED Accredited Professional for Neighborhood Development.