Audience in Lecture






Chief Executive Officer


Umoja Student Development Corporation


Dr. Kara Allen (she/her) is an unequivocal believer in young people and the adults who uplift them. Kara also serves as chief executive officer at UMOJA.

UMOJA is a national social impact organization whose work focuses on adult capacity building as the primary vehicle for creating safe, inclusive and restorative spaces. Kara brings to UMOJA 15 years of experience working to disrupt and reimagine systems that thrive through injustice. Most recently, Kara served as the president and chief executive officer of a nonprofit that supports young people impacted by the foster care system and homelessness through their journey to self-sufficiency. Kara also serves on the Board of Directors of CoachArt, The Wayfarer Foundation, and Black & Brown Futures, and is working alongside local leaders to support the Chicago launch of “Coffee, Hip Hop & Mental Health.”

Kara attended Purdue University before earning her master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern California. She also completed her doctorate in Educational Leadership for Social Justice at Loyola Marymount University and researched labeling and trauma through narrative therapy and critical race theory. Kara has both created and taught a variety of courses including, “The Interface of Society and Human Development,” “Navigating Necessary Change in Human-Centered Workplaces,” “Human Sexuality and Sexual Identity,” and “Operations and Finance Practices for Therapists and Leaders.” She also speaks and trains on a variety of topics ranging from change leadership to women in the workforce. Kara loves sneakers and biking to donuts with her seven-year-old daughter.