People often say that everyone has their own stories written even before birth. Some also call it destiny. However, one woman who is filled with dreams, passion, and perseverance aims to prove them wrong and show she can be the author of her own story. Akilah W. Darden, MBA, LEED, BD+C, is the president of an executive construction management company, The Darden Group, LLC.
Akilah, whose name means “leader, first one, intelligent”, first born of a set of twins, is an all-around woman. She gained a degree in Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina. She did not stop there and wanted to learn more, so she went to Marymount University located in Arlington, Virginia, and earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, specializing in Finance. Along with those degrees, she became a LEED-accredited professional in building, design, and construction. Aside from being the president of The Darden Group, LLC, she is also president of the Board of Directors for ACE Mentor of America, Indianapolis affiliate, and treasurer of her family’s non-profit organization the Donald White / Mandla A. Ndwanya Memorial Fund (WhiteNdanyaMemorialFund.org). She is also an active member of other boards and nonprofit organizations.
Akilah has received numerous awards throughout her construction career. Most recently, in May 2020, she was awarded the Business and Industry Award from the Center for Leadership Development. Even though Akilah is a busy woman, she always makes time for her children, including being the former PTA President for her children’s school. She also has time to teach, travel, shop, and cook. Sometimes, when she has spare time, she puts her thoughts into words on her blog website.
Akilah made use of all her learning from her studies and experiences to make The Darden Group, LLC be one of the best in the industry. The key to their success is Akilah’s 21 years of management experience, her management of over $1 billion in construction, and her passion for bringing their clients’ dream into fruition. They make sure they build strong internal and external relationships, which would lead them to gain a widespread network of clients. They value their clients’ visions, goals, and expectations. Hence, they make sure they ask the right questions that would, in turn, lead to connecting with the right people for the job.
Some of the market sectors The Darden Group, LLC specializes in are healthcare, aviation, government, institution, office, education, culture, interiors, renovations, historic preservation, restoration, sustainability, and mission critical projects. Akilah has had successful commercial projects in Washington, DC, Virginia, Maryland, Indiana, Washington, and Arkansas.
The Darden Group, LLC, is an expert in projects with advanced critical planning, intricate staging and logistics, future developing projects spanning multiple market sectors, fast tracking schedules, and maintaining ongoing operations. Amid their focus to be exceptional in their field, The Darden Group, LLC is also a certified Women Business Enterprise, Minority Business Enterprise, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, Women-Owned Small Business, Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and HubZone.
The Darden Group, LLC wants to share with others; hence they launched an online course, entitled Efficient and Effective Tools for Construction Managers, an interactive course which provides a printable 50-page workbook, downloadable templates, thought-provoking guided questions for further understanding of the topics, and a printable certificate of completion at the end of the course.