Eagleton Faculty, Staff and Visiting Associates
B.A. degree in government, University of Virginia
Tara Dowdell is an accomplished entrepreneur and communications strategist. She is the founder and president of TDG Speakers, a niche speakers bureau, and Tara Dowdell Group, a public relations and marketing agency driven by a passion for helping socially conscious organizations and businesses grow. In addition to her business ventures, Tara is a respected television commentator and speaker. She appears regularly on MSNBC and PIX11 News where she provides progressive analysis on a range of political, government, and business topics.
Dowdell’s proven expertise, unique insight, and engaging style have also made her a sought-after speaker. She has addressed several major conferences and events such as the New York University Stern School of Business Women in Business Conference, Big Ideas in Higher Education Conference at Rutgers University, the Southern Women in Public Service Leadership Conference, the Center for American Women and Politics “Ready to Run” Conference, the Colorado Black Women for Political Action 39th Annual Luncheon, and many more.
Dowdell has an extensive background in government having served as the senior manager of government and community relations for the international shipping arm of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. She was responsible for directing the government and public relations strategy for the multibillion-dollar redevelopment of the Port of New York and New Jersey. Prior to joining the Port Authority, Dowdell was the first Black American and youngest person to serve as director of appointments in the Office of the New Jersey Governor. In this role, she led the office responsible for gubernatorial appointments to over 550 statewide boards and commissions. She began her career serving as a district representative and scheduler for Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr.
Aside from her work in government, Tara has a wealth of political experience. She has served in senior positions on several high profile federal, state, and local campaigns. Additionally, she managed an issue-advocacy campaign for Emily’s List, one of the largest political action committees in the nation.
Dowdell’s accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. In 2010, she was selected by the American Swiss Foundation to attend their prestigious Young Leaders Conference in Basel, Switzerland. Tara was only one of 25 Americans chosen to participate in the conference. Notably, in 2005, after being selected out of over a million applicants, she had the distinction of competing for a job on the third season NBC’s hit show, “The Apprentice.” Dowdell has also been honored by Rutgers Business School, Colorado Black Women for Political Action, the NAACP, and more, and she has been named to the ROI-NJ People of Color Power List several years in a row.
Dowdell is also very active in her community. She serves on the boards of New Jersey Policy Perspective, Greater Newark LISC, and WBGO, a global jazz public radio station. Additionally, she is on the Steering Committee for Eagleton’s Center for American Women and Politics’
Ready to Run® conference.
Dowdell is a graduate of the University of Virginia where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in government.