I'm Tara. I'm thrilled to call Louisville my home, and hoping to feel even more at home in this new chapter in my life by meeting new people and getting further involved in the community! I've spent the last few years as a full-time photographer, and I'm currently working as the Interim Marketing Director at the Jewish Community Center of Louisville.
I'm a highly organized, goal driven self-starter with several years’ experience in nonprofit communications, and incredible passion for empowering others and making the world a better place. I'd love to use my talents to create a more vibrant Louisville. Please feel free to peruse this site to get a better feel for me, my background, and my work.
what I'm looking for.
I have a pretty diverse background and set of interests, so my expertise spans different industries and roles. Here are some freelance areas I'd be interested in:
- Project Management
- Urban Planning
- Graphic Design
- Video/Film Production
I am happily employed full-time, but I'm looking for freelance projects to take on as my bandwidth expands. I'm even more interested if your organization is working to make Louisville a more vibrant, amazing place.
WHAT SETS ME APART.
I'M A SYSTEMS THINKER. I'm a systems thinker that has an eye for how the details interplay. This is what has lead me to be successful both as a (literal) mechanic, student of Urban Planning, and organizer of content strategy.
I KNOW BETTER THAN TO TRUST ASSUMPTIONS. We all know how the old adage goes. I'm not afraid to get out and talk to people, ask questions, and validate assumptions when it comes to your audience or clientele to know who they are and what they want - so we can best communicate to and serve them.
I'M THE WHOLE PACKAGE. I feel a bit arrogant just putting this on a page, but you get someone highly creative and artistically skilled who happens to be just as organized, detailed, and savvy with a spreadsheet. I think that's pretty rad.
"Tara has a rare combination of creative skills- a great writer and a talented graphic designer. Effective writing, while essential, just isn’t enough- it must also be visually compelling. That’s why Tara’s unique skill set was invaluable to us."
— Previous Supervisor, CEOs for Cities
“Tara is an excellent communicator and has the skills and personality needed to be a leader. Always flexible in meeting new project challenges with a get-it-done attitude. She is a very dependable and thoughtful person in her approach and truly cares about clients, customers, and those she works with.”
— Previous Supervisor, 2616 Boutique
"I had the great fortune to meet Tara when she volunteered on the NEOSCC Vibrant NEO 2040 project. We quickly recognized her passion, creativity and skills and hired her as an intern. Tara brought not only a wonderful skill set but a curiosity and the initiative to move projects well beyond expectation. Her professionalism enabled me to completely hand off projects without worry, knowing that they would not only be completed but be thoughtful and creative."
— Previous Supervisor, NEOSCC
I've learned some incredibly valuable lessons over the course of my working career. Some of them seem like common sense, but some of us have to learn by doing. Perhaps you'll find value in them as well.
- You are capable of far more than you believe you are. This was a lesson I learned several times over while in the military. Whether it was a 6-mile run, or an assignment I previously thought impossible. When you remove the element of choice, the threshold of what you can accomplish changes dramatically. Often, these constraints merely require us to get creative. So start thinking about how to work smarter, rather than harder.
- When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. We only have so many resources at our disposal - time, money, energy. Make sure to use them strategically and intentionally. I've found that nonprofits in particular have a habit of wanting to do everything all at once, but without focus we tend to do not a whole lot very well. When I decided to pursue my photography business full-time, I made a deliberate decision to devote the first year entirely to making it grow. I didn't pursue other artistic hobbies, I didn't get a part-time job to supplement my income. I made my business a priority, and it flourished as a result.
- "Don't bring me problems. Bring me solutions." Something clicked when I heard this for the first time. Being proactive is essential - lingering on the problems at hand doesn't get you any closer to fixing them. Turning focus immediately to solutions is something I've started incorporating into my work-style. Hiccups will happen along the way of any project. Learning from and managing them effectively and proactively isn't only necessary, but essential for improving processes.
- Clear and effective communication is everything. Among every team I've been a part of, effective communication (or lack thereof) has been the #1 indicator as to whether I was happy in that position. Over time I've learned how necessary it is to be on the same page and clearly outline: expectations, requirements, frequency of check-ins, boundaries, and what success looks like - right from the outset. Effective communication is about respect, trust, and commitment. I'd like to thank both a slew of previous employers as well as my husband for teaching me that one!
- Almost always, done is better than perfect. As a recovering perfectionist, this is one I've struggled with most of my life. We all want to put our best work forward. From my childhood on, I was taught to do everything right. The first time. But again - we have a limited amount of resources. Understanding the opportunity cost of that extra inch means recognizing that we may be losing a foot elsewhere. This is why it's so important to understand priorities, have a clear vision where you want to go, and a plan for how to get there. You can't accurately weigh the value of your actions against your goals if you don't have any.
- Figure out your flaws, and exploit them. I am a deadline-driven person. This means I generally need pressure to get motivated to tackle a project or task. That being said, I know procrastination isn't always an option - and rarely is the best course of action. Because I've had to self-motivate for so long, I've learned ways to impose my own deadlines, introduce a ticking clock into my workflow (I'm a huge fan of the Pomodoro technique, or the Hackathon method of completing a project in just a few days, then going back to revise). We all have flaws. If we're honest about them, we can learn to use them to our advantage.