Dara Eckart is the Executive Director of Friends of Strays, a non-profit, no-kill shelter located in St. Petersburg. After spending 15 years at Indiana University in fundraising and administration, she moved to Florida in 2015 to pursue Dara’s goal of leading a non-profit organization. In her first year at Friends of Strays, she led the organization through previously unseen growth including doubling the number of adoptions and increasing adoptions income by more than 60%. Dara is working with the Friends of Strays Board on a strategic plan that includes entering a capital campaign to purchase or build a new facility for continued expansion of the shelter that includes a low-cost public spay/neuter/wellness clinic. Dara has dedicated her efforts to improving the reputation of the organization in the community and making a difference in the lives of homeless and abandoned pets through strategic restructuring of organizational policies, public outreach, fundraising events, and building relationships with businesses, donors, and influential members of the community.