Dara is the Executive Director of Tech Foundry, where she brings her expertise working across sectors and building unlikely partnerships to achieve transformational change. She has served in leadership positions in economic development, government, and community-based organizations including at the helm of a regional non-profit organization, and has founded several social entrepreneurship initiatives throughout her career. Born and raised in Western Mass, Dara is excited to return home from New York City with her partner and two children and to contribute to a vibrant and equitable regional economy and a dynamic IT eco-system.
Most recently, Dara was the Founder/CEO of the BronXchange, a tech start-up and community wealth building platform which she developed with the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative (BCDI) to harness the purchasing power of anchor institutions and provide a competitive advantage to high-road local businesses through an online marketplace and shared business services. Dara was also Co-Director of CommonWise Education/BCDI, a network of community and labor organizations, non-profit institutions, and small businesses working together to build a foundation for economic democracy in the Bronx. Prior to that, Dara was a Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellow, one of three national innovators selected annually to combat economic and social inequality. Dara has also served as Vice President, Government & Community Relations for New York City Economic Development Corporation; Liaison for Community Economic Development & Planning for U.S. Congressman José E. Serrano; and in senior staff and consultant roles for several community-based organizations.
Dara’s passion for her work can be traced back to her roots in community organizing and over fifteen years of supporting local stakeholders to drive solutions and catalyze change in their communities – including immigrant rights, jobs, entrepreneurship, housing, health, and business and community development. Dara has a background in Urban Planning and Economic Development from Hunter College-CUNY Graduate School and a Professional Certificate in Real Estate Finance and Investment from NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate. In her spare time (and often with her two young children along with her!), Dara enjoys exploring new neighborhoods and cities, getting out in nature, learning new things, and always relaxing over good food with family and friends.