University of Michigan
Clarinda Barnett-Harrison is the director of Economic Prosperity and executive director of the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund within United Way for Southeastern Michigan. In this position, Clarinda is developing a strategic path forward to strengthen United Way’s positioning on efforts related to financial stability, wealth-building and workforce development — creating access to economic mobility for all families in Southeastern Michigan.
Clarinda formerly served as the executive director of business and foundation engagement and the director of the Business Engagement Center at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. During her tenure, she developed the strategic vision for how the university will effectively engage in meaningful partnerships with industry and the funding community. A primary area of focus had been on connecting the campus to industry in talent and applied research and positioning the campus to enhance economic growth in the southeast Michigan region.
With more than 15 years of economic development experience, Clarinda brings a wealth of knowledge, having held leadership positions at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and other local and regional economic development organizations.
Clarinda earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts concentrating in economics, management and psychology from the University of Michigan. She also received a master’s degree from Wayne State University in urban planning with an economic development concentration, as well as a professional economic development certification. Additionally, she secured a certification in economic development finance from the National Development Council.
Clarinda’s contributions to the business community have been recognized by several publications. She was named a Michigan Chronicle Women of Excellence Honoree in 2018 and included in Crain’s Detroit Business’s 40 Under 40 in 2017, and she has earned the Michigan Business Professional Association Women in Leadership Shooting Star Award. Also, the Michigan Economic Developers Association honored her with the Mike Conboy Award for Professional Development, and the Detroit Young Professionals recognized Clarinda’s professional contributions with a Vanguard Award.
Clarinda also donates her time and expertise as the immediate past chairperson of Teen HYPE Detroit, as a trustee at the Detroit Historical Society, a board director for the Michigan Non-Profit Association, and as treasurer for Voices of Women to Win Political Action Committee.