Lara works with nonprofits to address organizational issues and partner with others for sustainable impact. She specializes in working with complex collaboratives working toward shared goals, helping them identify successful strategies and design plans for action. Building on her past work with the Nonprofit Centers Network, Lara has an abiding interest in improving the performance of promising collaboratives. She is also highly motivated by the question of how nonprofits can adapt their strategy to a dynamic environment, and seeks to help clients think ahead to identify new challenges and opportunities.
"I like to work with clients to uncover hidden truths. It's often something they already have intuition about, but through the consulting process, it crystallizes. It's fun to be the catalyst for someone to look at something that's been in front of them all along but see it differently."
Lara thrives on the challenge of complex projects marrying strategy to effective operations, such as nonprofit business planning. One of her most memorable achievements was leading a project to build evaluation capacity among a cohort of nonprofit shared space centers, which in turn helped inform the broader field. Past clients include HealthSpark Foundation, Denver Shared Spaces, Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Western New York Human Services Collaborative, Urban Land Conservancy, and the Recycling Partnership.
"I think it's critical to leave clients with tools they can use when the consultants are gone. I like the notion of developing tools that can be replicated elsewhere and shared across the sector."
Lara's consulting is informed by her background in business and finance as well as nonprofit management. Prior to joining La Piana in 2017, she served as executive director of the Nonprofit Centers Network, where she also held the position of national programs director. She has been the principal of her own nonprofit management consultancy and was executive director at Mile High Community Loan Fund. Lara has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and an undergraduate degree in economics and regional science and Japanese from the University of Pennsylvania.She is a past board member of Denver Community Ventures and looks forward to her next opportunity for board participation.
Lara is available as a speaker on strategy, best practices in collaboration, and how trends are affecting the nonprofit sector. She has presented sessions for the Council on Foundations, Opportunity Finance Network, and National Network of Fiscal Sponsors.
Learn more about Lara in this La Piana Consulting staff interview.