About Darlene Rios Drapkin
Certified Main Street™ Management Professional
- Neighborhood Commercial District Revitalization
- Multi-cultural Programming
- Neighborhood Commercial District Management
- Business Improvement District Formation
Darlene Rios Drapkin, principal, is a commercial revitalization specialist in urban districts and business improvement district (BID) formations. Independently and as a Program Officer for Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national non-profit, she has provided assistance to implement comprehensive revitalization programs in urban neighborhoods around the country including the San Francisco Bay Area, Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Toledo, Buffalo and several sites in Michigan, as well as the state-wide New Jersey and California Main Street programs and citywide DC Main Streets.
She served as Main Street manager in Fruitvale for five years, an eclectic commercial district of Oakland, CA. Under her direction, a sense of pride and place emerged in Fruitvale through special events such as the award winning Dia de los Muertos Festival, the "It's Your Business" Series, and the Fruitvale Foreword publication. Over 100 facades were completed and 140 volunteers were active on committees. She launched the Fruitvale Ambassador program involving youth and community members to act as neighborhood guides in the commercial area identifying safety and cleanliness issues and promoting the district to shoppers. In 2001, the culmination of her efforts resulted in the passage of a property owner based Business Improvement District.
Darlene is past vice-president and founder of the California Main Street Alliance. She is certified in Downtown Management through the
National Main Street Center. She has consulted on strategic and specific plans as well as Business Improvement District formations for downtown management associations and city governments through collaborations with various organizations including PlaceWorks (formerly DC&E). She provided BID management to Oakland's Temescal district, for almost eleven years, providing leadwhich has recently been deemed a stronghold of commercial activity in Oakland. See article: Oakland areas bloom with community benefit districts. She managed the adjacent challenging KoreaTown/Northgate district, between 2008 to 2011, setting up the foundation for ts gradual ascent towards similar vibrancy, now realized.
Darlene's professional background includes international sales and marketing experience in high tech and hospitality. She's worked with such companies as Compaq Computers, British Airways, and Marriott Hotels.
Darlene has an MBA from the American Graduate School of International Management. She is a native Spanish speaker and has conducted business in French and Portuguese. Her cross-cultural experience helps her meet the unique needs of multi-cultural communities.