Design for America is excited to welcome a new member to our team: Emily Kolar! Emily is our new Program Coordinator who will shape many of DFA’s services to students, mentors, and alumni, while keeping everyone in the network informed about the latest happenings and events.

Emily is an Illinois native who studied Corporate Communication and Advertising at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. She proceeded to work at a non-profit providing services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities before moving to Chicago to work in a fast-paced sales environment at one of the world’s largest logistics companies. She left the company after five years to pursue her passion to help design a better world. After joining Northwestern in 2016 and DFA one year later, she found that by inspiring, advocating and pursuing success with passion and purpose, lives can be changed through hope, happiness, and optimism.

Learn more below about what she hopes to bring to DFA National in her new position!


What made you want to join the DFA team?

I think back to my first experience working at a non-profit and I realize how much it impacted me. I felt great joy in knowing I was assisting people by providing education, training, skills, and encouragement. My goal has always been to make tomorrow better than today by continually making strides to enrich the lives of others and help them flourish. After volunteering during DFA Leadership Studio and working with such an amazing and inspiring team, I knew I had to be a part of the DFAmily.

What inspires you?

I know that people have the potential to change the world, and that’s inspiring! What I see when I look outside is a world filled with color, hopes, dreams, accomplishments, joy and fear of the past and present. I’m inspired by those who try to help others, and live the best life they can despite the mindsets and circumstances they’re given and the situations they’ve lived through.

What do you hope to bring to the team?

I hope to bring not only my ideas from my previous experiences, but my general passion for collaborating with others. I hope to bring a unique, fresh perspective, a positive attitude, and a willingness to take on any task because I truly enjoy helping other come up with solutions to the everyday challenges they are faced with.


Welcome, Emily! We are thrilled to have you on board.