Outstanding Southeastern Alumni Profiles

Kara (Glass) Byrd

Kara (Glass) Byrd is a 2008 Southeastern Oklahoma State University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in sociology whose background includes public-private partnerships, community relations, policy change, education and event planning. She is currently the Executive Director of Imagine Durant, a non-profit community based initiative for creating a unified vision for Durant and the strategies to make it happen.

Byrd began her career with the State of Oklahoma State Department of Health shortly after graduation.  She 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. The SE grad was instrumental in increasing the number of student activists in her counties by 300 percent, the number of tobacco-free policies by 200 percent, and created a statewide initiative to expose the tobacco company’s dangerous marketing practices to young girls. The initiative, Behind the Glamour, garnered statewide recognition and was the model for other communities.

Imagine Durant is a community-based initiative to form partnerships for envisaging the future of Durant.  Through Imagine Durant, community dialogues will be created and facilitated to address issues such as health, education, the economy, community, culture and environmental contributions to craft a vision for the next three generations in Durant.  At the end of the visioning process, Durant will have a master plan for the community that will move into a phased plan of action.  Imagine Durant is funded exclusively through grants, fundraisers and community support.

She also owned a successful photography company that specialized in high school seniors, weddings and headshots. She studied in New York with fashion photographer Lara Jade and has been featured in various magazines for her work with model, actress and dancer, Lilyan Cole.  A self-confessed foodie, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, shopping and playing tennis and golf.

Byrd is a member of the Durant Young Professionals Board, Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival Board, United Way Board, Bryan County Healthy Living Taskforce, Magnolia Festival Parade Chair, Durant Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class of 2016, First United Bank’s LEAD Program and 2015 Oklahoma Academy Town Hall Forum participant.