Brandeis International Business School

With $4 million gift, Barbara Clarke, MA’91 endows faculty chair at Brandeis International Business School

Distinguished Brandeis Faculty Chair in Business to support scholar from historically underrepresented population

Barbara Clarke, MA’91 is a leading investor in women-led technology startups.

Barbara Clarke, MA’91 is a leading investor in women-led technology startups.

Investor, economist and entrepreneur Barbara Clarke, MA’91 has pledged $4 million to establish an endowed faculty chair at Brandeis International Business School.

The Distinguished Brandeis Faculty Chair in Business will support a senior faculty member from a historically underrepresented population in the fields of business, finance or economics. The chairholder will be a distinguished scholar who has made outstanding contributions to teaching and research in their discipline.

Clarke is a leading investor in women-led technology startups and the founder and chair of The Impact Seat LLC and The Impact Seat Foundation. She is a graduate of the Lemberg Program in International Economics and Finance, forebearer to the International Business School, and a member of the school’s Board of Advisors.

“This gift is a wonderful display of generosity and commitment to Brandeis International Business School,” said President Ron Liebowitz. “The inaugural holder of this professorship will be a highly experienced and esteemed Brandeis faculty member, as well as a thought leader to the business, finance or economics communities at large.”

Dean Kathryn Graddy said Clarke’s goal to increase demographic diversity in the fields of business, finance and economics aligns with the International Business School’s mission. The business school and Brandeis University’s Economics department have also long been home to trailblazing women economists, including former professors Anne Carter and Rachel McCulloch.

“Throughout her impressive career as an investor, economist and entrepreneur, Barbara’s guiding philosophy that diverse teams develop better ideas and deliver better results has a proven track record of success,” said Dean Kathryn Graddy, who is the first woman to lead the International Business School. “We share Barbara’s commitment to promoting inclusive leadership both at Brandeis and beyond. The establishment of the Distinguished Brandeis Faculty Chair in Business will have a positive impact on everyone at the International  Business School — especially our students.”

Clarke earned her Master of Arts in International Economics and Finance (MA) just four years after the founding of the Lemberg Program. The program would later become the Graduate School of International Economics and Finance, which was renamed Brandeis International Business School in 2003. Clarke said her time at Brandeis — which included a stint as McCulloch’s teaching assistant — was transformative.

“My Brandeis experience helped launch my career and the university’s commitment to social justice still resonates with me today,” said Clarke. “The proof is in the data: diverse teams consistently outperform monoculture teams. It’s important for me to increase inclusion and representation in all industries, including higher education. This gift is a way to help achieve that goal while simultaneously giving back to Brandeis.”

Clarke founded The Impact Seat in 2015. The Boston-based consultancy focuses on driving inclusive innovation. She also launched The Impact Seat Foundation last year “to create a world in which women, particularly women of color, succeed as business leaders,” according to the foundation’s website.

Clarke joined the International Business School’s Board of Advisors in 2020. Earlier this year, she committed $250,000 to help establish the Peace Scholarship Fund. The fund was created by the International Business School in response to the humanitarian needs caused by the war in Ukraine and other war-torn countries.

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