Introducing Donna Clark! Donna is a new member of the YWCA Board of Directors and is the Pupil Services Manager for The Consolidated School District of New Britain. In her role, Donna is charged with supervision and oversight of special education related services, state testing accommodations and extended school year services. In addition, she is also responsible for program management of New Britain’s Summer Learning Experiences. Donna received her Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy and Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT, and is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association. Born and raised in New Britain, Donna remains an active member of the community as a parishioner at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, where she presently serves as Senior Warden. Donna was recognized as an honoree at the 2019 YWCA Women in Leadership Luncheon for her leadership at St. Mark’s.
We sat down and asked her some questions recently to get to know her better.
What does the YWCA mean to you?
As a child growing up in New Britain, the YWCA was the place where I received swimming lessons and spent Saturdays enjoying “open plunge”. I have fond memories of my time spent on Glen Street. Many years later, as an adult, I see the YWCA as a vehicle for change; an organization that values the collective abilities of women as leaders; women who work in partnership with their community to take action on important issues. The YWCA is not just a place. It is a movement. And we are making a positive difference in our New Britain community, as well as our surrounding communities.
What motivates you to give back to your community?
I was born and raised in New Britain; a product of the New Britain public school system. Besides my family, there have been many people in my life who have shaped who I am today; teachers and school staff members, church leaders, neighbors, and parents of
friends. I am grateful for their willingness to be part of my life and I want to do the same for others. I believe that community service is my vocation, whether it be through my professional work in the New Britain public schools, my lay ministry through my church, or my involvement in community organizations.
How you do empower women and/or promote diversity in your own life?
I have two adult daughters and raised them to be strong, independent, open-minded women. I believe in leading by example. I’ve served as the majority leader on a political board (leading a group of male board members) and I presently serve as Senior Warden of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (along with two other female leaders).
I believe in open communication. I think that most people who know me will tell you that I speak my mind. I will shut down those who express comments that negatively impact an individual, or group of individuals.
Lastly, I believe that sharing personal challenges with others can be instrumental in facilitating personal growth; growth for the listener as well as the one sharing. There is tremendous power in relationship building!
What song is your favorite empowerment jam?
“You Say” by Lauren Daigle.
What book has meant the most to you in your life?
Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown, has had a significant impact on the way I live my life. Brene is social worker who conducted extensive research on courage, vulnerability and shame. Here are 3 takeaways from her book:
· Vulnerability means strength, not weakness.
· Understand and verbalize your shame to make it go away.
· Children can only become who you are, so be a role model.
We look forward to working with Donna in her board role over the next three years. Please give her a warm welcome if you see her around!