Russell Clarke grew up in a mill town of 900 people in North Carolina. Even though he had a very sheltered upbringing, he always knew he would leave and make his mark. He started on that journey when he attended the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1973. After graduating, he stayed in Chapel Hill a couple of years before moving on to the adventure of a lifetime.
In 1978, he moved to New York City where he worked for an Israeli-based bank. Needless to say, this was culture shock in its truest form. While there, he mixed well with the international staff and was well-liked by bank clients. However, after a couple of years, he was ready to come back to the South. He moved to Atlanta with the intention of staying 2 to 3 years before returning to North Carolina. Instead, he has stayed for 39 years.
Russell is a banking veteran and was with SunTrust for 17 years. He spent most of his banking career in Corporate Treasury Management where he worked his way up from client service specialist to Department Manager – managing 130 employees and being responsible for billions of corporate dollars. In his final two years there, he managed a group that serviced top corporate accounts. While at SunTrust, he also earned an MBA in Finance from Georgia State University. Though Russell loved the financial industry, he eventually needed a change – one in which his entrepreneurial drive would serve him well.
The change came when he joined American Express Financial Advisors (now called Ameriprise Financial Advisors) in 1997. In the last 22 years, he has built a thriving business, servicing approximately 260 clients in Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, Ohio, and even Hong Kong and Namibia. In addition to his other accomplishments, Russell holds several designations that attest to his love of his profession.
In addition to being driven professionally, Russell is an avid volunteer and activist and has worked with Jerusalem House, a special place for homeless people with AIDS, Basset Hound Rescue of Georgia, The Anti-Prejudice Consortium which teaches middle school students about prejudice and discrimination, and most recently, the Bettie Brand Mothers’ Empowerment Fund that gives women in Atlanta a “hand up, not a handout.” One of his most notable volunteer experiences was working at the Olympic Stadium during the 1996 games.
His personal goals include traveling to every known location on the face of this earth (including the Antartic) and building deeper client relationships by working hard with his team to make sure all their clients prosper and grow. And contrary to everyone else, he doesn’t want to retire. Why retire when you’re having so much fun with your job.