Kara Byrd is a Southeastern Oklahoma State University alumnus whose background includes public-private partnerships, community relations, policy change, education, and event planning. She is currently the Executive Director of Imagine Durant, a community-based initiative for creating a unified vision for Durant and the strategies to make it happen. Byrd graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology in 2008 and began employment with the State of Oklahoma Department of Health shortly thereafter. Byrd worked under the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust and taught tobacco prevention and advocacy to youth while working with city governments and schools to adopt local tobacco policies and ordinances. During her time working for the State she increased the number of student activist in her counties by 300%, the number of tobacco-free policies by 200%, and created a statewide initiative to expose the tobacco company’s dangerous marketing practices to young girls. The initiative, Behind the Glamour, garnished statewide recognition and was modeled throughout other communities. Byrd also owns Snowbyrds Shaved Ice & The Modern Tot in Durant. Under her direction Imagine Durant completed a 3-year visioning process, created a strategic plan for the entire community, started the Durant Magnolia Farmers Market, completed a master trails plan with the National Park Service, implemented several trails, has launched The Blue Zones Project Durant and helped to bring together the Destination Durant Team to create a master plan for tourists. Kara also wrote the ordinance for food trucks to be able to come to Durant helping to create a more vibrant nightlife and more events. She believes we are a small town with a big heart and the only way we will move Durant forward is by collaboratively working together towards one unified vision and common goal.
Byrd is a member of the Durant Young Professionals, United Way Board, Bryan County Turning Point Coalition, Durant Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class of 2016, First United Bank LEAD Class of 2016, DIA Economic Development Council, and Oklahoma Academy Town Hall Forum of 2015. She was also recently awarded as a Next Gen 30 Under 30, and Journal Record Achiever Under 40.