Teresa Clarke

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Teresa H. Clarke
Personal details
Born (1963-02-08) February 8, 1963 (age 54)
California, USA
Residence New York City, New York, USA

February 2010 – President Chairman and CEO at Africa.com Former Managing Director at Goldman Sachs & Co

Co-Founder at Student Sponsorship Programme South Africa

Teresa Hillary Clarke (born February 8, 1963), daughter of Audrey M. Clarke and Roy Poindexter, both of Los Angeles, is a prominent American investment banker, entrepreneur, and expert on Africa.[1] Her career has spanned a wide range, from being a managing director at Goldman Sachs to co-founding a scholarship and mentoring non-profit, Student Sponsorship Programme in South Africa. Over the last several years, she has funded and led Africa.com, the largest Africa-related website.

Growing up in California, Teresa H. Clarke comes from a line of prominent women, including her mother and grandmother who were both alumni of Howard University and went on to successful careers in education and community service. Her mother, Dr. Audrey Clarke, retired after serving for ten years as the superintendent of schools in Lynwood, California and later became a professor at California State University at Northridge in the graduate school of education.[2]

Her mother graduated from Howard University in 1958, Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude and won a Fulbright Scholarship to the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina that same year. Her grandmother attended Howard as a member of the class of 1933. In honor of their Howard legacies, Dr. Audrey M. Clarke established the Audrey M. Clarke and Elvira F. Clarke Fellowship for International Learning at Howard University.[3]

Clarke has a bachelor's degree in economics, cum laude, from Harvard College (1980–1984), an MBA from Harvard Business School (1989) and a law degree from Harvard Law School (1989). She has served on the board of Southern Africa Legal Services (Legal Resource Centre), the Tony Elumelu Foundation, the Opportunity Agenda, serves on the board of the Student Sponsorship Programme South Africa and is an emeriti board member of the Harvard Business School Alumni Association.[4]

Clarke is fluent in Spanish, French and Portuguese and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She has received numerous awards for her work in Africa, including the Government of South Africa’s Freedom Day Award,[5] the Education Africa’s Humanitarian Award for Africa, the Merrill Lynch/Africa 2.0 Business Leadership Award,[6] the International Women’s Society Humanitarian of the Year Award,[7] the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Educational Leadership Award, and the Girl Scouts of Connecticut Woman of Achievement.[8] Clarke was named one of the top 25 Women in Business by the Network Journal.[9]

In 2010, Black Entertainment Television honored Clarke and won the Shot Caller Award on their internationally televised awards show Black Girls Rock! [10]


In August 1989, Teresa Clarke joined the real-estate department at Goldman Sachs & Co. in New York as an associate. She worked in the investment banking division for six years before leaving to found and serve as Managing Director of the South African office of Abt Associates, the Cambridge (Mass.) public-policy & management consulting firm. Her clients in South Africa included companies such as Transnet (holding company of South African Airways), Johnson & Johnson, and institutions involved in the coordination of the education and public health development sectors.

Teresa Clarke lived in South Africa from 1995 to 2000. During her time in South Africa, Clarke also taught corporate finance in the MBA program at Wits Business School.[11]

In 1999, she co-founded Student Sponsorship Programme South Africa. SSP provides academically talented but economically disadvantaged South African students with scholarships and support to attend private schools. The non-profit trust program based in Johannesburg has provided more than $10 million in scholarships to more than 1000 children. Some 90 percent of the students complete the program. About 90 percent of SSP’s graduates qualify to attend university. For her work with SSP ZA, Clarke has been recognized by the South African government, among many others.[12]

From 2004 to 2010, Clarke returned to Goldman Sachs. Her first contribution was to play a key role in launching the firm's Global Markets Institute. She later moved back into the investment banking division where she led mergers and acquisitions, and corporate finance transactions for Fortune 500 companies in the US and Europe. She was also the manager of the GS Africa Aspen Program, a leadership development project for emerging public- and private-sector African leaders created in cooperation with the Aspen Institute.[13]

Recent events[edit]

On February 12, 2010 Teresa Clarke ended a twelve-year career at the investment banking firm to focus on Africa.com.[14] She launched Africa.com in February 2010, her goals for Africa.com were to change the way the world engages online with Africa and to be the platform for those changes.[15]

“I’ve owned the Africa.com domain name for around ten years. In 2000, I was hired to help the firm that owned the domain name figure out what to do with it. When that organization disbanded, I was fortunate enough to secure the ownership of the domain name. “Over most of the last decade, I worked at Goldman Sachs. During my free time, I imagined what I would do with the domain name, and I looked at other African websites.” “I love working for Africa.com because our work is so broad. We are embarking upon a deal that will provide our users information on the financial markets in Africa, and we recently published a blog on developments in public education in South Africa. I work with a great team of people that I have hand chosen, and I couldn’t be any happier."[16]

Clarke has been featured as an Africa expert at the World Economic Forum in Africa and India, the Milken Institute [17] and the Fortune/Time/CNN Global Forum. In 2008, she received the Freedom Day Award from the South African Consulate. On November 4, 2010 Clarke was a speaker at African Leadership Network's inaugural ceremony. This event is the equivalent of the World Economic Forum in Davos but organized by and for Africans and people of African descent.[18] She has also lectured at Oxford, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Wharton, Stanford, and Tufts.

On November 7, 2010, Clarke was among the honorees being celebrated on Black Entertainment Television’s (BET) event called Black Girls Rock!.[19]

In 2013, Clarke was invited to join the White House Traveling Press Corps and traveled with President Obama and his family to Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania. That same year she delivered a TED Talk at TEDx Euston (London) on the topic of The Diaspora Divide.[20]

In 2014, she was featured on the Harvard Business School website in a video on Making a Difference. Her life story was also the subject of a profile celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Women at Harvard Business School.[21] That year she was invited to the Fletcher Inclusive Business Summit. A summit at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, whose grounds have been preserved with the express mission to encourage pause and enable leaders from around the world to address the world’s many complex needs.[22]

In November 2014, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker appointed Clarke and 14 private sector leaders to the President Obama's Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA). PAC-DBIA members were selected to advise the President, through the Secretary of Commerce, on strengthening commercial engagement between the United States and Africa.[23]

Clarke is the writer, producer and director of a 30-minute documentary called “Africa Straight Up” [24] in partnership with MTV Africa and TED Talks. Originally produced for online consumption, the film was aired on the Africa Channel in the US and UK, as well as Dutch Television. It also was screened at the White House Conference on Investment in Africa and the Council on Foreign Relations and was shown as in-flight entertainment on South African Airways and Arik Airways

Clarke has been married and divorced twice. Her first marriage was to investment banker Walter K. Booker, a Harvard College classmate. Her second marriage was to Dr. John E. Ellis, an academic physician who was also a graduate of Harvard College. In 2013, Ms. Clarke adopted a son, Brooke Clarke, aged 14, from Ethiopia.


  1. ^ "Teresa H. Clarke Is Married to Walter K. Booker". New York Times. 4 June 1989. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  2. ^ "Fieldwork in Educational Administration" (PDF). Education Leadership and Policy Department. 2009. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  3. ^ "Donor Based Scholarships". Howard University. 
  4. ^ "HBS African American Alumni Association". Harvard Business School Celebrates 50 Years of Women in the MBA Program. 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  5. ^ "The Madeleine Korbel Albright Institute for Global Affairs". Wellesley. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "Africa.Com Recognized For Leadership by Global Business Organizations". 16 November 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "The International Women's Society of Nigeria Presents Its Humanitarian of the Year Award to Africa.com CEO Teresa Clarke". 11 November 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "Why I Resigned from Glodma" (PDF). DSE Digital Out-of-Home Network Operators Conference. 31 October 2013. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  9. ^ "25 Influential Black Women in Business". The Network Journal. 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  10. ^ "Why I Resigned from Glodma" (PDF). DSE Digital Out-of-Home Network Operators Conference. 31 October 2013. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  11. ^ "Teresa Hillary Clarke - Bloomberg". Bloomberg Business. 31 October 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2015. 
  12. ^ "Africa.com CEO Teresa Clarke Honored on BET". PRWeb. 5 November 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2015. 
  13. ^ "Life after the City: from Goldman to Africa". Financial News. 8 February 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  14. ^ "Why I Resigned From Goldman Sachs". Huffington Post. 14 March 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  15. ^ "Goldman Sachs Managing Director Teresa Clarke Resigns to Run Reorganized Tech Company, Africa.com". PR Newswire. 12 February 2010. Retrieved 27 April 2015. 
  16. ^ "Africa.com: The domain that launched a startup". MemeBurn. 8 March 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  17. ^ "Global Conference Milken Institute". Milken Institute. 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  18. ^ "Black Girls Rock!". Huffington Post. 11 March 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2015. 
  19. ^ "Black Girls Rock! Exclusives: Teresa Clarke - Acceptance Speech". BET. 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  20. ^ ""Bridging the Diaspora Divide" - Teresa Clark at TEDxEuston 2013". TedX. 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  21. ^ "Making A Difference". HBS. 25 April 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  22. ^ "Bellagio Inclusive Business Summit". 25 August 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  23. ^ "U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Appoints Advisory Council to Advance President's Business Priorities for Africa". Department of Commerce USGOV. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  24. ^ "Africa Straight Up". IMDB. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 

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