Title and Organization:
Tara serves as President of Optima, Inc., a privately held, design-driven real estate firm. Optima is vertically integrated and combines all the functions involved in new construction within one company, serving as architect, developer, general contractor, sales agent, and property manager for all the firms ground up residential communities. Since its inception in 1978, Optima has developed over 30 mixed-use and residential developments in both the Chicago and Phoenix metropolitan areas, and has received over 45 awards for architecture, design, sustainability, and innovation. Tara is responsible for setting and implementing the strategic vision of the company and making all major decisions as part of the ownership team, such as, land acquisition, capital allocation and new development strategy. From 2014-2020 Tara ran the day-to-day operations of the business and oversaw all company entities and business units. During this time Tara also directed all predevelopment planning and deal evaluation as well as the capitalization of the firm and its new developments. Tara has led the capitalization and financing of over $2 billion in real estate, including construction financing for new developments, recapitalizations and building dispositions. She began her career in the industry as a construction superintendent and led the Illinois sales team through the great recession. Prior to returning to Optima in 2014, Tara worked in capital markets at Cushman & Wakefield in New York City, where she underwrote debt and equity transactions totaling more than $980 million. Tara earned an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and holds a Bachelor of Art in communications with honors from Boston College where she also played on the Division I Field Hockey and Lacrosse teams. Tara is a member of YPO Chicago, YPO Santa Barbara, The Chicago Network, CMP, the New Story Builders program, and served on the Guild Board for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago from 2016-2021. She is a member of the 2019 Class of Henry Crown Fellows within the Aspen Global Leadership Network at the Aspen Institute.