Camele Clark-Barrett '06, M.B.A. '09
Incorporates Service in New Career in Consumer Advocacy

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Camele Clarke-Barrett ’06, M.B.A. ’09 checked her inbox one afternoon and found a survey from her alma mater. She immediately began filling it out, finished and clicked send. If there’s one thing the self-described lifelong learner does not do it is let an opportunity pass to share her viewpoint. “In this day and age, when everything is moving at 100 miles an hour, the only touchpoint we have is through surveys.” In fact, in her work as a finance leader at Consumer Reports she encounters thousands of surveys and truly knows their value from the inside out.

Joining the 87-year-old company this past summer, Clarke-Barrett was thrilled to turn her in the direction of consumer advocacy. It was a move not without serious consideration, as she had spent almost 15 years working her way up the ladder as a finance professional at IBM.

Somehow the prospect of challenging herself, learning a new side of the finance profession became a curiosity she had to take to the next level. Now settled in at the nonprofit consumer organization dedicated to independent product testing, investigative journalism and consumer-oriented research and education, her leap of faith has proved satisfying.

“I am responsible for the way we go about managing our budgets for the products we research, working side by side with consumers for truth, transparency, and fairness in the marketplace,” said Clarke-Barrett. She loves that this work puts her up closer to decision making that impacts the public and even helps shape public policy. Empowering and informing consumers, incentivizing corporations to act responsibly, and helping policymakers prioritize the rights and interests of consumers for a truly consumer-driven marketplace in Clarke-Barrett’s line of work is remarkably rewarding.

For Clarke-Barrett there is one simple way to sum it all up. “It’s serving. I’m a big proponent of serving.” As an alumna of an institution with a Latin motto that translates to consumed in service, this is quite fitting. Her student experience at Mercy was enriched by close conversations and relationships with her professors, who in their own right believed in truly serving the needs of students – something she said she never would have had at a smaller college. As a student athlete, she feels she developed even more bonds – committing herself to making excellent grades while still showing her competitive spirit on the court. She says her own personal drive was only further inspired and celebrated by mentors like former athletic director Neil Judge and then MSOL/EDGE Director Benjamin Manyindo.

Clarke-Barrett’s successful academic career is more impressive when you consider she had only been in the United States briefly with many adjustments to make from her previous life in Jamaica. “My core family was here, and I was apprehensively transitioning from a familiar life.” She certainly would move beyond her hesitations of life here, excelling at college and shortly after succeeding in the corporate world. Yet, Clark-Barrett takes nothing for granted. Her stellar work ethic and belief in faith and family always lead her choices in the boardroom and within the community.  

“I always wanted to marry my career to a cause.” Today, when Clarke-Barrett looks at a television on a shelf in a store she knows her work helped in that process. She emphasizes that consumers have an integral role in the marketplace and speaking up and sharing their feedback is a huge part of how any mission is achieved. It’s two pronged, she says. “Data tells the story. Organizations use it to help them serve you better.”