De’Ara Balenger is a Director with williamsworks. She is a disruptor, creative and strategist. She has been a thought partner and strategist to brands like Everlane, Walmart and Piece & Co., media platforms like AT&T and Teen Vogue, cultural institutions like the New Museum, and high-profile celebrities and activists. With over a decade of experience in public service and executive leadership, she works with brands to look beyond tokenism and surface level PR campaigns. Through this approach, De’Ara seeks out modalities that impact the trajectory of culture, resulting in a stronger foothold in communities and increased value to the bottom line.
Formerly, De’Ara was the Director of Engagement for Hillary for America, where she forged strategic and creative alignments with Pusha T, Cleo Wade, Tracee Ellis Ross and Samantha Ronson, among others. She was the spark to activating the creative community and built a roster of millennial influencers, celebrities, activists, entrepreneurs, designers and artists that the campaign tapped into for support.
During her time in the Obama administration, De’Ara was a Special Assistant and then Senior Advisor to Cheryl Mills, Chief of Staff and Counselor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. De’Ara worked on a myriad of issues from responding to the 2012 earthquake in Haiti to criminal justice development. In the criminal justice development space, De’Ara was a Rule of Law Advisor, responsible for designing multimillion dollar metric based programs to improve policing, access to legal services, criminal sentencing, prison reform and judicial independence in Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Liberia, Macedonia, Kenya, Yemen and the Maldives.
After the State Department, De’Ara was an advisor to the offices of Secretary Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton on speaking engagements in advance of the 2016 Presidential campaign. De’Ara was also a part of then Senator Clinton’s team during her 2008 Presidential campaign. Prior to her service at the U.S. State Department, De’Ara was the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Youth Commission and an Assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade County.
De’Ara is a national organizer and strategic advisor to the Women’s March on Washington and is on the Board of Directors of the Lower Eastside Girls Club. She has been featured in publications like Politico, Vogue, PopSugar and the Root. De’Ara is also a 2017 Glamour Women of the Year Award recipient.
De’Ara has a B.A. in Black Studies from Macalester College and a J.D. from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University.