Rolling Out

Clarence Carson shares 3 skills he looks for in a leader

Clarence Carson interim COO of North Lawndale Employment Network
Clarence Carson shares 3 skills he looks for in a leader
Photo courtesy of Clarence Carson

Clarence Carson is the president and CEO of the CCRS group and is currently the interim Chief Operating Officer of the North Lawndale Employment Network. His passion for leadership is exhibited in his work ethic. Rolling out spoke to Carson about his leadership style and the types of leaders he seeks to hire.


Please describe your leadership style?


My leadership style has always been transformational. I thank my parents for endowing me with that pension for collaborative change. My parents were entrepreneurial community changers. They identified neighborhood needs, found key partners in ideation and development, and transformed blocks in Detroit. By definition, a transformation leader places emphasis on change and transformation through inspiring their team to tap into their highest potential.

What is your mission statement?


My personal mission statement is to be of service, provide value, and leave the world better than I found it.

What three skills are critical for the future executive you hire for your organization?

We are seeking individuals that want to work to change Chicago’s neighborhoods for the better every day and are committed to NLEN’s mission. We seek leaders that understand the value of their word and run towards a challenge. Lastly, we seek executives who are innovators of rich ideas, and seek to cultivate strategic partnerships.

Finish this sentence: Teamwork is important because …

Even the best of us can’t do it alone every day and reach our utmost potential. We have to collaborate and be open to new ideas and input, that is how we all advance and all win.

What professional organizations do you support? Why?

I have elevated my participation in several organizations that focus on community enrichment, youth in STEAM, and continuous professional development. For my professional development, I’ve relied on organizations and programming such as the Urban League’s IMPACT Fellowship Program, Leadership Greater Chicago Fellowship Program, and United Way’s Board Leadership Institute.

Organizations that I currently or recently operated actively on the board of directors for are the YMCA of Metro Chicago, The Peoples’ Music School, Michigan State University’s Construction Management program, and the Museum of Science & Industry’s President’s Council, plus the Museum’s Black Creativity Council. Of those named, I wanted to highlight I serve on the executive committee of the YMCA and Museum of Science & Industry’s Black Creativity Council. Each of these allows me to utilize my skill set in real estate operations, risk management, construction, facilities and more to benefit their mission, plus I am able to craft how each impacts our school-age-youth’s enrichment for a brighter tomorrow.

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