Tara has dedicated her career to gaining a deeper understanding of the role museums play as a catalyst for community progress. Beginning at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, she worked closely with Curators to make art more accessible to the public. Next she took on an Assistant Curatorship at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington, where she had the unique opportunity to open a new museum dedicated to the art of glass. Seeing the genuine value of museums to the communities they serve, she gradually shifted to the fundraising side of museum operation and returned to the Norton before joining the staff at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach. She currently serves proudly as the Director of Development for Fort Lauderdale’s Museum of Discovery and Science.
Tara also gives as much time as she can to her community. Passionate about the potential transformative power of civic engagement, she is the Chair of Palm Beach County's Emerging Leaders in the Arts (a division of Americans for the Arts). She also serves as a member of Leadership Palm Beach County’s Youth Leadership Committee, the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ (Palm Beach County Chapter) Membership Committee and as a Steering Committee Member for Purse Strings, an annual fundraiser for CredAbility, a nonprofit credit counseling service in West Palm Beach.
Tara also wants to share her commitment by encouraging others to give back and invest in their community. In her blog for www.YourPBC.org, the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties’ digital square, she highlights individuals and communities who are creating life changing experiences for both themselves and those they serve by volunteering.
1. Do you have a mentor; someone who has been there to guide you or consult with you when you needed their input?
I have been very fortunate to have been guided by an experienced professional and good friend. I think having someone who has known you since the beginning of your career is an important part of professional growth. She has helped me make a number of decisions and I definitely would not be where I am today without her help.
- What is something your parents taught you that you will never forget?
My parents have been the most important influence in my life and always taught by example. The lesson I carry with me always is to treat others only as I would like to be treated. Everyone deserves respect.
- Do you have a motto, or some words of wisdom, that has guided you through your life?
“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.”
- What is your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement was being part of the staff that opened the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington in 2002. This was a unique and amazing experience that shaped my career and my view of community support. Spending time in the community working to establish support and ensure the museum’s successful transition was a pivotal experience that I am extremely grateful for.
5. Who is the most interesting person you have ever met?
The most interesting person I know is the Director of Education at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. Although a native Japanese woman, she has spent the majority of her adult life in the U.S. sharing the culture of Japan through education. She has also traveled extensively around the globe experiencing other cultures, and can appreciate every one of them. Her sense of humor is contagious and she can always be counted on to see something in a new way.
6. Is there a charitable event(s) you really look forward to attending each year?
An annual event called Purse Strings, is very dear to my heart. Each October it raises money for CredAbility of Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast; an organization that helps financially distressed people move “from crisis to control.”
I also look forward to the Autism Speaks Walk. I’ve had the privilege of knowing and loving a couple of children who have been touched by Autism and doing the walk is a little way I can show support for such a great cause.
7. What do you enjoy the mostabout your work?
Meeting the numerous people that believe in what I’m doing and seeing their excitement. When I tell people about all the programs Museums offer, first you see get surprise, then enthusiasm, then a desire to help. It’s a wonderful way to meet amazing people who re-energize me and make my job easier -- because they want to share their experience with the Museum with others and get them to support our work!
8. What’s the best movie you have ever seen?
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
9. What will we find you doing on a Saturday night?
Reading or watching a movie
- What do you wish you could have a never-ending supply of?
- What would you still like to learn how to do?
Play the violin and Irish Dance
- What can we personally do to make things better for future generations?
Make yourself happy. You can’t make a difference to anyone if you’re not content and confident with yourself. Once we are in a good place, we can share that and teach younger generations to do the same.
13. How do we get our young people more interested in charitable giving and community volunteering?
Give someone a good experience and they’ll be hooked. I think the best thing we can do is give young people a chance to give back by doing something they love. There are a million different ways to volunteer your time and the earlier we teach children that volunteering is fun and rewarding, the better chance this value becomes instilled in them.
We share parallel worlds but mine is in the Caribbean!
It was a delight to read about all your creative achievements in service the arts and your community.
Tara, I am so pleased for your success! You just continue to grow and reach for your dreams!Keep up the good work!
Tara is enjoyable and a pleasure to work with.
You are an inspiration.