Phenomenal Women

Published on October 27th, 2010 | by thevyne

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Woman to Watch: Teresa Clarke

Name: Teresa Clarke

Hometown:
Raised in Los Angeles, CA

Education: Received her JD and MBA from Harvard University

Occupation:
CEO of Africa.com

Career Journey: Upon graduation from Harvard, Teresa traveled to New York to join the real-estate group at Goldman, Sachs & Company. It wasn’t long before she rose to the top, becoming a managing director at the prestigious firm and one of very few senior African-American investment bankers on Wall Street. In the mid-1990s, in between her Goldman Sachs career, Teresa moved to South Africa to serve as managing director of Abt Associates South Africa, a public-policy consulting firm. While in South Africa, she taught corporate finance in the MBA program at Wits Business School and she founded the Student Sponsorship Programme (SSP). The program provided academically talented but economically disadvantaged South African students with scholarships and support to attend private schools. To date, more than 600 students have received scholarships valued at more than $10 million.

Why Africa?
In a recent article, Teresa had this to share regarding why she left the lucrative world of finance for the risky dot.com world; “I first visited South Africa 17 years ago, just as apartheid was coming to an end. I’ve never gotten over the way I was welcomed by both black and white. In Cape Town, I entered a Thai restaurant and the owner reassigned his top waiter to my table. He sent over his best bottle of wine. I was the first black person who had ever dined in his restaurant, he told me, and he wanted to make sure that I had a positive experience. I found a South Africa that was filled with warm, loving and forgiving black and white people and they embraced me. Now, it’s my turn to return the embrace, by helping South Africa and the other 52 countries on the continent seize the future, using the medium through which most people access information today, the internet.”

What is Africa.com? Africa.com ’s objective is to position itself as the one stop shop for relevant, insightful and timely information on all 53 countries on the continent. By leveraging strong partnerships with organizations, Africa.com has a solid pipeline of content and media to distribute including African music videos. The company is based out of New York City, with operations run by 10 employees who are experts in online business. Africa.com currently sources content from colleagues in South Africa, Lagos and Nairobi. Staying true to the spirit of innovation, Africa.com has developed its own proprietary technology that allows it to reach designers and artists from all corners of the world.

Recognition:
The extraordinary work Teresa did for students in South Africa won her recognition by the South African government. In 2008, she received the Freedom Day Award from the South African Consulate and just a couple weeks ago Black Girls Rock! Inc presented her with the the “Shot Caller” award.

Quotable: “Being a ‘shot caller’ is less about calling shots for others, but rather calling shots for yourself.” ~Teresa Clarke at the Black Girls Rock! awards

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