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Community Engagement with Cory

Cory, a Project Manager with Clarkston Consulting, shares his career experience and involvement in community engagement.

Cory’s Career Experience
I must be one of the fortunate ones, even during my elementary school days, I knew consulting was my calling. There are pictures of me as a 5th grader dressed up in as suit with one of my dad’s old suitcases headed to my 5th grade career day. I vividly remember my teacher asking me who I was supposed to be, and I answered proudly, – “A Consultant.” To be honest, I didn’t know what a consultant was, but Dwayne Wayne from the hit show, A Different World, was a consultant and I thought he was cool. So, there you have it, the origin story of Cory Jackson, the consultant.

The first 3 years of my career post-college were spent working for a large consulting firm as a systems analyst in their government and state & local practice. Although rewarding, the work didn’t interest me. Then came Clarkston. I joined the firm through the third-ever Clarkston Academy, and since joining there hasn’t been a limit to the experiences that have enriched my career journey.

My sweet spot is program and project management, but I have had the opportunity to work across all verticals and lead projects, ranging from creation of dashboards to equip a sales organization to make better decisions on their trade spend, to M&A projects integrating a traditional OTC cosmetics pharmaceutical company with a fluid direct-to-consumer adjacent. Working at Clarkston has given me the opportunity to grow quickly and activate my skills in a space that is shaping how we live, buy goods, and save lives.

Although I can boast that I have always known what I wanted to be since childhood, I could have never imagined the places it would take me, the things I have done, and the ways I have been able to affect change in the world through people, process, and technology.

Community Engagement at Clarkston
Clarkston’s partnership with Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code (GWC) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to close the gender gap in tech. GWC has reached 300 million girls through their online resources, campaigns, books, and advocacy work in the U.S. and around the world. They have served over 300,000 girls through their Summer Immersion Program, Clubs, and College Loops. GWC values diversity, equity, and inclusion, which are the core reasons why Clarkston chose GWC as a philanthropic partner. Clarkston is currently in the fourth year of the GWC partnership and are actively engaged in the Clubs and Summer Immersion Programs. Clarkston has also tailored a program called, “Write Your Future,” where we partner with local Philadelphia and South Jersey GWC chapters to present a program where participants work on a simulated project with one of the firm’s clients. As the years go by, Clarkston’s involvement grows deeper in giving time, talent, and treasure.

How I got involved with Girls Who Code at Clarkston?
During my time in the Clarkston Leadership Experience, my cohort and I were asked to find an initiative that would serve the firm in a positive way. It has always been my belief that the workplace should engage with the community, so I responded with a mission to find a philanthropic partner. That initiative must have resonated with the leadership team because less then a month later, I was asked to co-lead a committee of stewards to help find that partner. After a thorough evaluation process, Clarkston selected Girls Who Code as a partner because of how closely our core values matched. My involvement in Clarkston’s partnership with GWC came to light by bringing my passion for community engagement to work with me.

Girls Who Code activities and their impact
It has been a pleasure to lead the community engagement initiative at the firm. Through working in the lead capacity, I’ve had the pleasure to work closely with Clubs and the Summer Immersion Program (SIP). Clarkston has hosted 5 SIP field trips to the Atlanta and Chicago metropolitan areas. Last year I was able to participate as a SIP speaker where I got to lead two one-hour sessions teaching the SIP participants in the Washington D.C Metropolitan area about the wonderful world of consulting.

Since working with GWC, I have a better understanding of how to be an ally. Although I can never fully understand the disparities that hinder women in tech, it has given me great joy to be a part of a community engagement initiative that is looking to close the gap.

What we can do to help close the gender gap in STEM
If you want to help your community, you have to get involved! I must admit, I was very afraid and sometimes felt out of place leading the charge with this initiative in the firm as a man. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing or offend anyone, but I am happy I took the chance to be part of something that is bigger than me. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn. I am humbled by the presence of the great young women that are the future leaders of our world. Getting involved can be scary, but just do it!