Jordan Clark is a globally conscious lifelong learner & Data Scientist working to ‘Quantify the Marginalized Experience in the Age of Humanics’ by measuring the physiological effects of microaggressions. Jordan believes we can solve global poverty by leveraging biometric virtual reality as an enhanced interface to increase people’s capacity for empathy and currently works as a Data Acquisition Specialist for Affectiva, a start-up pioneering the field of human perception AI.
Finish this sentence: I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for ________________.
the public schools that I had the opportunity to attend. Despite growing up poor in a predominately white community, being born on a farm in rural eastern Washington provided me access to quality schools that built the foundation for my academic successes. My career in education with the DC & Boston Public Schools showed me just how lucky I am to have teachers who created a safe space for me to learn whilst in districts that had enough resources to provide quality education for all students.
Resumes highlight professional and educational achievements. Which one of your life or personal experiences deserves to be on your resume?
I never would have thought that I would help to create a White House Tradition as a summer intern in the inaugural Obama White House Internship: A Public Service Leadership Program. Truthfully, the cause for the tradition was a bit selfish as me and a fellow intern happen to share the same date of birth as POTUS (President Of The United States) and we wanted to take a shot with Obama for our 21st Birthdays. Instead, we received the approval to make a card for all the interns to sign and sing Happy Birthday to POTUS while wearing party hats. Come to find out that every year after, on the POTUS’s birthday, the interns would make him a handmade card and sing happy birthday. This experience serves as a blessed reminder of what is possible when you aren’t afraid to speak your truth.
What qualities do you look for when hiring someone on your team? What qualities do you avoid?
I value emotional intelligence, so when hiring someone to join my team I asses how well they communicate. I believe that the future of work is all about wellness and one’s ability to show up in spaces as their authentic selves, so I try to avoid people who lack humility and empathy. I believe that in order to create truly inclusive environments there must be space for imperfect people to fail while showing evidence of having learned from said failure. We are all connected by a universal struggle to liberate our minds of our socialized bias, so I want people on my team who are able to fail with humility while wanting to increase their capacity for empathy by evolving in how they communicate.
“As an openly gay Black cis-gendered man who has a disability— I believe the intersectionality of my marginalized groups affords me an opportunity of perspective, perhaps advantage, when it comes to DEI.”
What’s one piece of career advice you wish you could give to your younger self?
I wish I had more exposure and opportunity to practice and learn the Robot-Proof skill of Self-Care. I grew up exposed to a toxic mindset that sleep and my overall well-being were not a priority. I wish I could go back in time and advise my younger self to make it a habit of practicing mindfulness to develop knowledge, skills, and behaviors necessary to live a balanced life. Part of why I work in the field of Emotion AI is because I seek to develop quantitative methods and measures of capacity and individual’s ability for self-care so that I can better assess how my environment impacts my health.
Which three books, podcasts, or news sources do you think everyone should read? Why?
Girl Decoded: A Scientist’s Quest to Reclaim Our Humanity by Bringing Emotional Intelligence to Technology by Rana el Kaliouby is an amazing memoir of the CEO and co-founder of Affectiva. Rana is an amazing individual who models behaviors other CEOs don’t, so reading more about her story and her internal struggles with imposter syndrome helped me with my own.
Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Joseph E. Aoun is a good read for those who are trying to get a sense of the impact of this 4th Industrial Revolution. After reading Robot-Proof, I was better able to articulate and provide examples of how important emotional intelligence is as society evolves.
Pod Save the People is an American political podcast that is hosted by organizer and activist DeRay Mckesson that I listen to to hear culturally competent commentary on today’s complex racial issues. I am inspired by DeRay’s activism during the height of Black Lives Matter movement and appreciate his ability to tell stories.
Diversity, equity and inclusion is front and center right now. How do you express your commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in your personal and professional life?
As an openly gay Black cis-gendered man who has a disability — I believe the intersectionality of my marginalized groups affords me an opportunity of perspective, perhaps advantage, when it comes to DEI. First and foremost, I express my commitment to the work by being my unapologetic authentic self. I understand that it can be hard to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, yet I do my best to never let it stop me from modeling the behavior in order to showcase the DEI skills. I often feel like I do not have the privilege to separate DEI from my personal and professional life, as it is an integral core value that motivates me to continue this path towards my purpose of leveraging Virtual Reality as a Global Enterprise Solution of DEI.
What’s one tangible step every employer should take to help build a more representative organization?
The reality is we are all ignorant in some capacity; explicit or implicit everyone has unconscious bias. Yet we live in an ever-evolving society, and it’s time for every employer to ask themselves “Who is missing, and why?”
If employers want to truly build more representative organizations, those in positions of power and influence must have the necessary introspective skills to look in the mirror and be honest with themselves. I believe self-awareness is necessary to address gaps in organizational culture that may have arisen out of an implicit bias. By answering this question, employers will be able to identify areas lacking in representation and explore some of the underlying reasons as to why.