A National Award-Winning Publication

Liana Bran


Lifting Society’s Most Forgotten

Age: 30

Director of Expansion Strategy

Organization: Cara

 Liana believes in entrepreneurship as a tool for social change and places her career firmly at the intersection of business and impact. In February 2021 she joined Cara, a workforce development organization based in Chicago that runs businesses and bootcamps to help people experiencing poverty get back to work. More importantly, the organization aims to rebuild hope, self-esteem and opportunity for individuals and their families in the process.

 Prior to this role, Liana served the small business community for nearly eight years as a program director at the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC). During her time at IHCC, Liana worked with a range of businesses from construction contractors to tech startups and spent her last couple of years running an incubator for Latinx tech founders in partnership with the renowned Chicago incubator 1871. 

 While at the Chamber, Liana discovered the importance of a strong and diverse talent pipeline to the continued growth of the economy. In 2019, she participated in the inaugural Chicago Workforce Leadership Academy, making Liana an Economic Opportunity Fellow at the Aspen Institute. She sees a common thread between her work with small businesses and continuing to help people create a meaningful living and uncover their passions and purpose at Cara. Her hope is to use her collective experiences to scale organizations that affect meaningful change in the community.

 Liana has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a master’s in business administration with honors from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.


Words of wisdom: “Growing in your career doesn’t mean having all of the answers. It means asking the right questions and having enough patience with yourself to learn when you don’t get it right.”