In the fall of 2010, three friends gathered to discuss a shared vision for an entrepreneurial enterprise dedicated to building hope in the hearts of individuals, families and communities through marketplace opportunities. This vision of hope quickly became the foundation for the formation of DIRA.
Each partner has traveled extensively which has afforded them the opportunity to visit and serve in some of the poorest communities throughout the world. Each has observed the dire conditions that many endure every day, and together, they formed DIRA with the primary purpose of identifying and distributing unique, beautifully designed, handcrafted products that have the potential to provide a steady income through which these communities might improve their conditions.
It is the belief of the founders of DIRA that talent and skills are gifts given to every individual, and it is the hope of a marketplace opportunity that often inspires a person to pursue the successful development of these skills and talents. It is for this hope and purpose that DIRA was formed and from which DIRA derives its marketing message "made to create".
Grace was born and reared in Houston, Texas. She received her degree in Mathematics from Vanderbilt University with Related Works in Computer Science, Business Administration, Religious Studies and Studio Art. She later recieved an MBA from The Tuck School at Dartmouth College where she met her husband. She has worked as a Real Estate Analyst For Goldman Sachs, a strategic consultant for Fidelity Investments, a financial analyst for Prime Cable, an account manager for Ogilvy and Mather and the Business and Marketing Director for Amy's Ice Creams, Austin, Texas. She is also the former Teaching Director of Community Bible Study-South Tampa Class.
Grace lives part time on a game farm in South Africa near the Kruger Park with her husband and three children. Grace is an artist who loves drawing, writing and interior design. She also enjoys studying scripture and running.
Lauren grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and attended Florida State University where she studied Accounting and received an MBA. After college, Lauren worked for Coopers and Lybrand before accepting a position with Outback Steakhouse, Inc. in 1991. Lauren served as Vice President and Controller before leaving to spend more time with her family in 2001.
She currently lives in Tampa with her husband and two teenage children. Lauren has enjoyed working with her husband’s business and serving in various organizations including Young Life and inner city ministries. Her hobbies include horseback riding, exercise and traveling.
Alex was raised in Tampa and studied business at the University of Florida followed by a brief career in commercial banking at Bank of America. She is the mother of five, has recently remarried and gained two step-children as well.
Before co-founding Dira, Alex spent her free time mentoring women and children in Tampa's inner city. Her hobbies include interior design, exercise, playing the piano and cooking.