Director, Strategic Initiatives
University of Idaho
Danielle Horras has built her career around strategy and how it can help leaders achieve their goals. Her work has spanned higher education, public education, the world of business and beyond, and the effects have impacted thousands.
“I perform my skills through facilitation, nonprofit and for profit groups alike,” she said. “I am always working with people who want to better themselves, wherever that might be.”
Horras, director of strategic initiatives for the University of Idaho (U of I), is responsible for driving the implementation of partnerships and projects that support the the school’s strategic plan in Southwest Idaho.
She got her own university education at the University of Idaho, earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the Moscow-based school. She went on to work as an associate director with Stevens- Henager College for seven years, and then worked in Carrington College in a variety of capacities.
In 2014, she joined U of I and got to work. Horras’s role has included facilitation of the Kuna School District’s strategic plans and sitting on the board of directors at RISE, a nonprofit organization that supports public schools in the Treasure Valley.
“The goals we have as the land grant university are big and we can’t get there alone, we can’t get there as well without partnership,” she said. “I think the perception of the U of I in Southwest Idaho has dramatically increased because of the plan. We have presented ourselves as a partner for folks — we’re in the meeting, at the table, where conversations are being had.”
In her time at U of I, Horras has advocated for early childhood education, helped all nine of the Southern Idaho Conference (SIC) school districts reduce summer reading loss and helped provide better access to college admissions and enrollment.
“I’m so lucky to get to work on system level change for our community,” Horras said. “And because I get to work on these big questions, I happen to be surrounded by really smart people who work really hard and care an awful lot about the future of Boise.”
It’s a lot of work, but for Horras, it’s worth the effort.
“It is really easy to put extra energy in when the people I’m working with and the problems I’m solving are so impactful to society,” she said.
Wendy Johnson, Kuna School District Superintendent, SIC President and RISE Vice President, wrote a letter of recommendation for Horras.
“There’s a humbleness there, and a generosity of spirit,” Johnson wrote. “She truly cares that our kids get the best.”
Horras said a turning point in her career came when she was selected to train at Prometheus Academy with John Warden, the author of “Winning in Fast Time.” There, she learned the importance of both setting big goals and creating a realistic way to implement them.
“Strategy is usually seen as an ethereal castle in the clouds,” she said. “Let’s start there, but then let’s build a ladder so we know how to get to that castle in the clouds.”