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Black History Month Community Champion Spotlight: Damara Carter

February 2024
This Black History Month, we’re celebrating community champions, who happen to be part of the talented staff and board at the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh.

Damara Carter is the URA’s Chief Financial Officer and has been serving the Pittsburgh community with the URA for 15 years. With over 27 years of financial prowess and a deep understanding of the URA's inner workings, Chief Carter is a true asset to the organization. Since joining in 2009, she's been at the helm of vital finance functions, bringing stability and innovation to the URA's financial landscape. From managing accounts to championing fiscal responsibility, Chief Carter's impact is both remarkable and essential. Join us in celebrating her as a shining star in our Black History Month Community Champion Spotlight! 

What community impact and/or outcome are you most proud of achieving in your time with URA?   

My role at the URA is to ensure the organization's financial sustainability. This involves managing funding from various agencies and ensuring compliance with reporting requirements. It might sound mundane to some, but for me, it's incredibly rewarding to ensure that every dollar is accounted for and utilized effectively. 

Beyond the numbers, what truly fills me with pride is witnessing the tangible impact of our projects on the community. Whether it's overseeing the development of a major project like Target in East Liberty or spearheading upcoming ventures in blight remediation, seeing these initiatives evolve from mere ideas to tangible realities is immensely gratifying. Knowing that these projects are not just buildings or developments but symbols of progress and hope for the neighborhoods we serve is what keeps me motivated every day. 

What excites you about the URA’s mission?  

The fact that every community, regardless of its background or socioeconomic status, is included in our mission to sustain prosperity is incredibly inspiring. Particularly, I am passionate about our focus on blight remediation, as it plays a pivotal role in revitalizing and uplifting disadvantaged communities. Being able to contribute to this meaningful cause, where every effort directly impacts the lives of those who need it most, is truly fulfilling.

What advice would you give to other Black professionals in your field?  

My advice would be to remain open to continuous learning and innovation. It's crucial not to follow the status quo or opt for shortcuts without fully comprehending the underlying principles and reasons behind certain practices. Take the time to truly understand the intricacies of your craft and be willing to explore different approaches and methodologies. 

In our ever-evolving field, staying stagnant is not an option. Embrace new technologies, methodologies, and best practices, but always ensure that you have a solid understanding of the fundamentals. By doing so, you not only enhance your skills and expertise but also contribute to advancing your field as a whole. 

Furthermore, I encourage Black professionals to seek out mentorship and networking opportunities within the industry. Building a supportive community of peers and mentors can provide invaluable guidance, insights, and encouragement as you navigate your career path. 

Ultimately, remember that your unique perspective, experiences, and talents have immense value. Embrace your authenticity, strive for excellence, and never stop learning and growing. 

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