Meet The Mentors: Jordana Clarke

Next in a series of fireside chats with our ThincLab Canterbury advisor team.

Wintry hikes with her father and siblings along the icy trails of Banks Peninsula and the Southern Alps as a child taught Jordana Clarke that solid leadership and sure-footed determination were highly valuable attributes in life. These seem to be admirable qualities that she has carried over into her practice as a business mentor and board director.

Indeed Jordana attributes much of her success to the influence of her parents. Communicating well and respecting the viewpoints of others was a gift from her mother, who was always fond of an intellectual debate. Her father held a senior position with a not-for-profit organisation for over two decades. His role involved motivating a large team and negotiating capital-raising for community facilities.

These leadership skills left a lasting impression and a desire to contribute to the betterment of others. With the encouragement of her father, she also took an interest in sharemarket investing. Trawling through annual reports of companies she was following became a habit at an early age. A disciplined approach to assessing the potential of a company remains a skill that continues to serve Jordana well today in her current roles and across her own investments.

Having worked in businesses of all shapes and sizes from startups through to Fortune 100 companies, Jordana began to develop a focus on strategy. Pfizer and Astra Zeneca are household names these days and as a strategist for a global healthcare management consultancy she worked on global launch strategies for billion dollar brands such as these. In another role she managed and delivered outstanding results on a portfolio of over $100M worth of generic pharmaceutical product assets.

But Jordana equally loves the challenge of working with startups that have yet to hit their first $1 million in revenue. “I suspect having a focus on advisory and strategy across more than 100 businesses over the last 20+ years has given me an insight into what works well from a commercial stand point and what a high performance culture looks like,” she says. With so many challenges facing early stage companies, it is a huge advantage to have experienced advisors on your side.

In fact companies that have support through an incubator such as ThincLab tend to have better outcomes, especially when it comes to raising capital and generating revenue, according to a number of studies. “Having advisors to guide a startup through phases such as validation, tech development, fund-raising and building a team is hugely valuable,” says Jordana. “Leaning on your incubator to provide advice on how to right size your growth aspirations and organisational improvements cannot be underestimated. There’s always going to be activities you want to do. It’s about stepping back and looking at what are the priorities and how can they be planned for. We can’t be super human all the time,” she adds.

Jordana identifies that scaling our emerging technology businesses into global markets is one of the best ways we can grow employment as economies transition away from traditional industries. Apart from her numerous governance roles, Clarke spends part of her time working at a digital marketing business that she co-founded with her I.T. specialist husband Chris. The agency specialises in providing advice on SEO and digital advertising to companies both across New Zealand and abroad that are growing and adapting to new market opportunities.

Need advice to support the growth of your technology based business? Join one of our free ThincLab weekly drop-in clinics and let’s find out how we can work together.

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