Forward 40 (4tea)

Episode 9 - Walking Through & Opening Doors of Opportunity for Yourself & Others featuring Starla Hart

September 30, 2019

Starla D. Hart, MPA, has worked to enhance the lives of people in Indianapolis for more than 17 years and serves as 16 Tech Community Corporation’s Director of Community Initiatives. She leads the innovation district’s work with Near West, Northwest and surrounding neighborhoods to ensure that the economic benefits of 16 Tech extend to nearby communities.

In addition to her ongoing work with the surrounding neighborhoods, Hart oversees the 16 Tech Community Investment Fund, a community-focused fund that, under the advisement of a community-led advisory committee, will invest in neighborhood projects that provide maximum impact.

Prior to joining 16 Tech, Hart supported the Great Places 2020 initiatives as a Program Officer for Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Indianapolis, focusing her work on transforming strategic places in Marion County into dynamic urban villages.

Hart served as Director of Neighborhood Partnerships at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Office of Community Engagement, serving for 10 years as IUPUI’s liaison to the Near West neighborhood. This body of work led Hart to become the founding director of Source River West, a hub for entrepreneurs in the River West Great Place that offers place-based entrepreneurship and small business supports for residents in urban Indy neighborhoods.

And because she is just as intentional about her acts of service to her family and community, Hart is a mother of two and serves as a member of the Mayor’s Cultural Investment Advisory Council, board member for Matchbook Learning and advisory council member for Indianapolis Contemporary. 

In this episode, Starla reflects on her journey to the community development sector. She shares how each of her roles allowed her to pivot into the next and hone in on her entrepreneurial spirit. Starla extends her wisdom on how the next generation of leaders of color can tap into opportunities within their respective communities to ensure the sector is representative. Ms. Hart has a career of building and serving the community, walking through previously closed doors and opening doors for others to have their voices present and heard. Starla exemplifies selfless authentic leadership. Take notes on how she is working to balance it all. 

We are blessed to be able to serve with beauty and balance as we share Forward 4O’s platform with this phenomenal WOC in the nonprofit and social enterprise sector.

Stay connected with Starla on Twitter @simplystarla and also the work of 16 Tech here

Continue to support Forward 40 on IG and Twitter @forward4tea.  Be in touch to nominate a guest to be on the show. You can also learn more about the host Coach Faith here.