Time is our most valuable resource,” says Cara Alexander Stark. “It is among the very few things that, once lost, can never be recovered. The truth of the matter is that there’s time for everything we care about — how we plan or fail to plan our time is the problem.”
Luckily for Jefferson City, Cara cares a lot about her hometown and has prioritized her time accordingly. Whether she is serving as a volunteer for the Red Cross, Capitol City Cinema, Lighthouse Preparatory Academy, or Stained Glass Theater; attending a Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce event; or creating a haven for people to commune over a glass of wine and a meal at her downtown restaurant Cork & Board, you’ll find Cara doing her part to contribute.
A former newspaper delivery kid covering the downtown area, Cara’s connection to the Jefferson City community comes naturally and has been simmering for years.
“Everyone cares deeply about the future of their families and workplace,” Cara says. “I believe the same should be true of their community. When I left Jefferson City to live in Chicago for a short time, one of the things I missed most was the sense of community that our city has. Investing time into enriching my community has been an easy decision for me as I have been blessed tenfold with friendships, camaraderie, and a strong sense of belonging.”
Leaning into, strengthening, and embracing the symbiotic relationship between community and self enabled Cara to both grow her roots and give back along the way. Ever evolving — she’s a self-described “work in progress” — Cara has taken every opportunity Jefferson City has given her as a chance to grow.
“I am proud that I have tried to learn from my failures and mistakes,” she says. “Without those events, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I truly believe that making mistakes is a fundamental part of the learning and growing process.”
Strong mentorship has also been critical to Cara’s success. Mentors she met through her work at the Missouri House of Representatives, particularly her former boss, Trevor Fox, have helped shape Cara professionally and personally.
Perhaps it was these experiences that readied Cara for a year rife with transitions and challenges, including getting married, starting a new job, reinventing a restaurant with her husband, watching her dad accept a dream job, encouraging her mom as she began graduate school, and celebrating her siblings’ new moves and entrepreneurial ventures. “Last year allowed a break in routines that exposed a sense of new possibility — it was a year of reinvention,” Cara says. “Yes, it has been challenging, but the new and strange always is.”
Lighthouse Prepatory Academy grad, Bachelor of English from the University of Missouri
Family Adam Stark (husband); Mary and Gregory Alexander (parents); Daniel, Sam, Margaret, and Rachel (siblings); Elizabeth (sister-in-law)
SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES
Facebook: Cara Alexander Stark
MOST USED SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM
Facebook, largely because of my business.
FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM
FAVORITE YOUTUBER OR YOUTUBE CHANNEL?
Laura in the Kitchen because I am almost always hungry.
FAVORITE MUSICIAN OF THE MOMENT
John Prine and ABBA.
WHAT PHRASE BEST DESCRIBES YOU?
Work in progress.