“Every great improvement idea needs a comprehensive implementation plan to transform systems and get results.”
Dara has an extensive track record helping transform promising ideas into high-impact programs and practice. She has a wide range of experiences working in foundations, nonprofit, for-profit, political and public institutions. Over her 20 years of field experience she has evaluated, designed and run programs covering many subjects including child welfare, juvenile justice, domestic and international economic development and education. In each of these areas, Dara has focused on effective implementation as the key to getting positive outcomes.
Dara has worked for and with the Annie E. Casey Foundation on various initiatives, with a particular focus on start-ups:
- With the The Annie E. Casey Foundation and The Duke Endowment, Dara co-founded Kids Insight — a nonprofit dedicated to improving outcomes for kids in child welfare by measuring their social and emotional well-being.
- Dara served as lead policy advisor and integration specialist to the Director of the Casey Child Welfare Strategy Group during the consolidation of three child welfare divisions.
- Dara was an original member of the Casey Strategic Consulting Group and was a key developer of the Casey consulting practice model, creating tools and training teams in effective consulting techniques designed for embedding new ideas into public systems.
- Dara has contributed to Casey’s thought leadership through innovative work on how to help government organizations adopt new ideas as lead author on Casey’s monograph Congregate Care Rightsizing(2009) and the article Helping Government Agencies become More Effective and Efficient: Discovering “Catalytic Combinations” in Public Child Welfare Reform, published in the Foundation Review (2012). Her leadership was also recognized in the Casey publication “Fixing a Broken System: Transforming Maine’s Child Welfare System” as well as by the Huffington Post 2016 article, “Harvard PhD Dara Menashi Uses Technology to Improve Child Well-Being.”
When Dara joined Casey, she brought a new perspective acquired from working in many different sectors of the economy. She worked for McKinsey & Company as an organization specialist for private sector clients, introducing and refining the use of Relationship Network Analysis (RNA) as a consulting tool for mapping and leveraging the informal structure of organizations. She has also worked extensively in economic development at the local, national and international level. Finally, she spent many years evaluating the impact of various education interventions for Foundations and non-profits.
Dara holds a PhD and MPP from Harvard University, where she was awarded best master’s thesis and mentor of the year, and a BA from Boston University in Economics, where she was selected as a Truman Scholar for her leadership and commitment to the public sector.