Human Resources Executive Finds Meaning in Engaging with Students

    September 4, 2019

    This article originally appeared in the Kania Magazine

    Sometimes loved ones know you better than you know yourself.

    Patti Clarke ’86 credits her husband with helping her discern that she should focus her volunteer work on The University of Scranton. In 2016, she was asked both to join the school’s Board of Trustees and take over as chair of its President’s Business Council (PBC). Clarke was conflicted over how that could fit with her numerous other volunteer commitments. Her spouse, David, put things in perspective.

    “He said, ‘It seems to me that your real passion is around Scranton,’” she recalled.

    Clarke, the chief talent officer for the Havas Group, ended up saying yes to both commitments. It added another facet to her already close relationship with the University. She led the restructuring of the PBC’s career-coaching program, returned regularly to speak to Kania School students, and mentored interns and new employees who come to Havas from the University.

    The French advertising and communications company is one of the world’s largest, and Clarke is responsible for global human resources and talent and cultural strategy for more than 20,000 employees in over 100 countries. The job marks the latest in a long career for Clarke, who earned her bachelor’s degree in management from the Kania School in 1986.

    The New Jersey resident credits Jesuit education with broadening her horizons. “I was open-minded to a lot of opportunities. I wasn’t lock-set into any particular thing,” she said. “When you look at my career, I went from insurance, to Wall Street, to data information, to advertising. I can’t help but think that the breadth of The (University of) Scranton education had something to do with that.”

    Clarke spent 20 years with Dun & Bradstreet, the global data and analytics company, where she was chief human resources officer and also ran global internal communications. Before joining Havas, she ran a consulting business.

    In college, Clarke started out as an accounting student but switched to management because its broader scope appealed to her. Working with the Kania School as an alumna has shown her how far its programs have come since her undergraduate days when there were fewer internships and much less networking with alumni.

    As former chair of the PBC (a new chair was announced in spring 2019), she helped to implement a career-coaching program in Kania. It matches students with alumni working in the field to which they aspire. Clarke always takes time to work with interns from Scranton.

    “I really love meeting with students – I love helping them,” she said. “If you get engaged (with the University), you will be richer for it. There are lots of ways that Scranton gives back to you.”

    Read more from the Kania Magazine, here.

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