Spotlight Series 27  Dara Munson

Spotlight Series 27
Dara Munson


This month’s spotlight is just a little more special; featuring three generations who love (and wear) the many moods of Maria Pinto – Dara Munson, her mother, Vernice, and her daughter, Taylor.
Dara is the President & CEO at Family Focus, a non-profit that seeks to give parents the support, knowledge, and resources they need to give their children the best possible start in life.


Best piece of advice you've ever received?

In all things, have faith and remain authentic to myself.


What was your path to getting where you are today?

I have always deeply connected with the needs of others in my community. My early career was in the justice system followed by time as a founder of non-profit organizations. I’ve held several leadership positions in this sector and have had the opportunity to serve on boards of directors. All of these experiences led me from my hometown in Detroit to Chicago in 2016 to lead Chicago Child Care Society (CCCS). CCCS merged with Family Focus in 2021 to form an organization serving nearly 20,000 children and families in NE Illinois through Early Care and Education, Youth Development and Whole Family Support services.


Photo credit: Special Thanks to Sarah Kammerer for the beautiful photography for this spotlight. 

What do you love about being a woman? What brings you joy?

The love of my family and friends, traveling the world and of course working out brings me immense joy. I appreciate being able to allow my femininity shine through no matter what I’m working on. I appreciate the tribe of strong, capable and fierce women around me reminding me that I am all those things as well. 


What are you watching, reading, and listening to right now?

Reading: Fool Me Once: Scams, Stories and Secrets by the Trillion Dollar Fraud Industry by Kelly Richmond Pope and Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity by Peter Attia.


How do you create a work-life balance for yourself?

My goal is to harmonize the competing priorities on my time versus balancing them. There is often one aspect of life that requires more attention than another so seeking true balance is stressful in and of itself. There are ebbs and flows to life so I work to lean in and out to the things needing my attention as they arise. I am also very blessed to have people close to me who are supportive and encouraging.


If you could live anywhere (and money is no object), where would you choose?

I would live in Africa, either Nigeria or Ghana.


Best gift you've ever received?

My now 25-year-old daughter, Taylor Marie.


What wisdom would you tell your younger self?

Professionally: Never second guess yourself or take yourself out of the game. Personally: Don’t worry about having things figured out all the time. Life unfolds beautifully and you will grow and evolve through every experience so take it all in with intention.


How would you describe your personal style?

Classic, timeless, feminine and sometimes flirty. What is important to you when it comes to buying clothing? Quality, style, uniqueness and edge.


Who are some of your style or fashion icons?

Michelle Obama.


What are some of your favorite features of the Maria Pinto Collection? Why?

Maria’s pieces have just enough edge to them. They often feel tailor made for me. They are easy to care for and I love the colors she selects with each collection.


What are your favorite Maria Pinto pieces? Why?

All of them!


Look 1: Esmee jacket in Black and Ten T-shirt in Optic with the Mimi shorts in Black

Look 2: Neva coat, Goddess dress, and Obi belt in Lilac

Look 3: Blixen Coat in Deauville

Look 4: Sharon mini tunic in Supermoon

Look 5: Anouk vest and Springsteen top paired with the Stanwyk pants in Mud

Look 6: Monique jacket and Ricci dress in Violet 

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