Presented By

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  1. The Elevation of Tex-Mex
    Mico Rodriguez
  2. The Bounty of the Barnett Shale
    Kelcy Warren
  3. The Entrepreneurial Woman
    Tomima Edmark
  4. The Growth of the Vietnamese Community
    Jennifer Nguyen
  5. The Founding of Uptown
    Phil Cobb
  6. The Changing Face of Politics
    Craig Watkins
  7. The Brain Gain
    Dr. Hao Zhu
  8. The Four Sport Town
    Mike Modano
  9. The Underground Culture
    Katherine Owens
  10. The Catholic Migration
    Father Ivan Asencio
  11. The Organized South Asian Community
    John Hammond
  12. The Next Way to Develop
    Jeff Blackard
  13. The Allure of the Silicon Prairie
    Anousheh Ansari
  14. The lighting of Reunion Tower
    George Schrader
  15. The New Old Tradition
    Jennifer Moreno
  16. The Test Kitchen
    Mariel Street
  17. The Art Magnet
    Kevin Moriarty
  18. The Glamorous Return of Dallas Shopping
    Brian Bolke
  19. The Strengthening of the Gay Community
    Jack Evans and George Harris
  20. The Resurgence of Downtown Dallas
    Art Ortiz
  21. The Megachurch Boom
    Ed Young
  22. The Fundraisers
    Lynn McBee
  23. The Refuge
    Pedro Amaya
  24. The Reason Dallas Took Off
    Ron Barzyk
  25. The Girl Who Stayed Home
    Erykah Badu
  26. The Preservation of Our Historic Buildings
    Virginia McAlester
  27. The Thriving Ethiopian Community
    Birhan Mekonnen
  28. The New Dallas ISD
    Jessica Leija
  29. The Rebirth of the Trinity River
    Peter Payton
  30. The Trains Start Running
    Ladrika Davis Gross
  31. The Architect of an Art Scene
    Stephen Lapthisophon
  32. The Calculator That Changed the World
    Vonnie Howard
  33. The Rise and Fall and Rise of Deep Ellum
    Frank Campagna
  34. The Big Move
    Kendra Norwood
  35. The Expanding Empire in Fort worth
    Scott Hernandez
  36. The Family Recipe
    Chuy Cruz
  37. The Transformation of Oak Cliff
    David Spence
  38. The Now-Legal Immigrant
    Jesus Castillo Carrizales
  39. The City of Philanthropists
    Lyda Hill
  40. The Transplants
    Tara Vornkahl
00 The Transplants Thursday, July 10, at 6:25pm at the Stoneleigh Hotel

Tara Vornkahl

As an intern at an economic development nonprofit near her hometown in central Illinois, Tara Vornkahl discovered a passion for helping people with ideas connect with the resources they needed. But the nonprofit couldn’t afford to hire her, so in 2012, desperately in need of a job and a plan, she prayed. And then she Googled. She’d heard that Dallas was affordable, great for grads, and that the startup and entrepreneur communities were booming.

“I really wanted to be part of that, but I didn’t know how,” Vornkahl says. “It was funny. It’s kind of like God was listening.”

She found the Dallas Regional Chamber. She did a phone interview, then drove to Chicago to meet with the Chamber’s senior vice president while he was there on business. When she got the job, she had two weeks to pack and move. She threw herself into work, connecting with the Dallas Entrepreneur Center and volunteering with a church. Still, it wasn’t until Vornkahl moved to the Village Apartments, where she’s now lived for a year and a half, that things clicked. 

“It’s like this little nest of protection,” she says.

Dallas has long been a haven for transplants. As the city’s population grew over the past 40 years, so did the number of young, educated singles. Between the 1970s and 1990s, the net migration of adults between the ages of 25 and 29 to Dallas rose each decade, though it declined in the 2000s. And since the late 1960s, the Village Apartments, the city’s largest apartment property, with 7,263 units and nearly 10,000 residents, has played a role in sheltering the upwardly mobile. Village residents in the ’70s and ’80s recall wild pool parties and disco dancing at the Clubhouse. Today, amenities include yoga classes and wine tastings.

Vornkahl doesn’t see herself leaving anytime soon. Nine months ago, she came out to friends, family, and a few coworkers, and found the city so accepting that she calls it the best decision she ever made. 

“It’s something that is scary and so liberating at the same time,” Vornkahl says. 

And she still has things she wants to accomplish—like being a voice for LGBTQ young professionals and helping lead the Chamber’s educational initiatives.

“I think people forget that you can pave your own future.”