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July 25, 2016 40 Under Forty 2016

Thomas J. “TJ” Clarke II

Thomas J. “TJ” Clarke II Thomas J. “TJ” Clarke II
Thomas "TJ" Clarke II has studied music since age 7, and has played in many churches since. He's shown (above) at First Cathedral.
Thomas "TJ" Clarke II at the 2015 Man Up conference, which promotes men's health.

Age: 35

Company: City of Hartford; Office of U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy

Title: Council President; Special Initiatives Coordinator

Town where I live: Hartford

Town where I work: Hartford

College: DeVry University (Bachelor's), Salem University (MBA)

Q&A:

What do you do and what are your goals in your current job? In my current job as a council president I work with the mayor and the entire council to create sound policy and be the voice of the residents and taxpayers of Hartford. In my role in the U.S. Senate, I coordinate outreach activities in the urban centers of the state.

What are your goals for your community involvement? Goals for my community are to experience an urban renaissance, which involves the alliance of businesses and communities working together. Neighborhood revitalization is another goal, which includes quality of life for all residents and equitable education. I would like to see small business and economic development flourish.

What's your biggest passion? My biggest passion is to continue to strive for achievement. This is important to me because there are many goals and dreams that I have yet to accomplish. What I have achieved is just the tip of the iceberg. The best is yet to come!

What are your future aspirations? My future aspiration is to one day be the president/CEO of my own political and community development consulting firm, providing quality services to political candidates and also providing technical assistance to organizations that seek to redevelop their communities. I would also like to serve in the U.S. Congress.

What role can young leaders play in shaping Hartford's future? Young leaders can play a very vital role in shaping Hartford's future by becoming volunteers to various community organizations and being involved in boards and commissions. Starting out early can prove to be beneficial later on in a young leaders' career. Their experience will be invaluable. The role I can play is becoming a mentor to a young leader and providing them with guidance on how to navigate through difficult circumstances and balance their personal life while doing things for their community.

List four reasons why you deserve to be a 40 Under Forty:

Was named the youngest councilman elected as president for the court of common council.

Co-founded an organization that helped resurrect the African American Day Parade in 2015.

Is a board member of Blue Hills Civic Association and Upper Albany Main Street.

Devotes time volunteering with Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated for various community initiatives and projects.

Time Tested:

What personal possession in your life has withstood the test of time? My father's gold chain has been in my possession since his death and it has brought about the sense of connection and strength to strive hard, be persistent and to be an overcomer.

What hobby did you develop at a young age that you still enjoy today? Playing the organ and keyboard/piano

Twenty years ago, what did you envision as your future profession? A judge

Who do you consider your mentor? My mentor was my deceased father, Thomas J. Clarke I. Since my father's passing, Dr. Marichal B. Monts, pastor of The Citadel of Love, has served as my mentor.

See the complete list of Forty Under 40 Winners for 2016! 

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