314-399-8812 info@investstl.org


Executive Director


Who and what makes and holds community has been at the core of Dara’s personal and professional pursuits. Supporting people, especially Black and other people of color, in waking up to their own power and accountability to create communities that work for and honor their needs, desires, and brilliance is what motivates her– even in the complexity and chaos that comes with collective people endeavors. As an urban planner and architect with a focus on centering voices of communities of color in policy design, strategy development and impact measurement, Dara works to advance opportunities to build wealth and power in Black and other racially and economically marginalized communities through equitable development and investment practices.

Dara is honored to serve her incredible team and board as the first Executive Director of Invest STL since 2019. Prior to Invest STL, Dara served as St. Louis Director of Operations for national non-profit Urban Strategies; Senior Planner in the St. Louis County Executive’s Office of Strategy + Innovation; Senior Planner in St. Louis County Planning; City of St. Louis Homeless Services; the Housing Authority of the City of Bridgeport, CT; and a designer in a small architecture firm.

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.

Dara and her two children are proud residents of Hyde Park in North St. Louis City. Her rituals and interests include reading a bazillion books, listening to a googolplex of podcasts, being a secret economist, being funny on the sly, taking forever to finish the same painting for the last four years, occasionally remembering she used to be a photographer, keeping her plants (and her kids!) healthy and growing, and rushing the net on tennis courts across St. Louis.


Phone : 314-399-8812   Ext. 103
Email : DEskridge@investstl.org

For scheduling, contact Ly Syin Lobster at llobster@investstl.org.