Rena Clark was born and raised in Beaumont, Texas, where she graduated from Hebert High School in 1979 as her class salutatorian. She then enrolled in the School of Engineering at Lamar University and began her studies in the mechanical engineering department. During her time at Lamar, she served as a math and engineering tutor and was vice president and president of the Lamar chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers.
Clark graduated from Lamar with honors in 1984 and began her professional career with GE as part of the company's two-year Manufacturing Management Program, followed by an assignment as a sourcing specialist at GE Flight Simulation & Controls in Daytona Beach, Florida. With her exposure to other functional areas, she began to think seriously about pursuing a graduate degree in business. After applying to several of the country's top programs, she decided to accept an offer of admission to attend Harvard Business School.
In addition to pursuing her academics at HBS, Clark became an active member of the community, serving as the elected vice chair of the HBS Education Committee, where she had an opportunity to showcase the leadership skills she developed at Lamar while working on several campus-wide initiatives with members of the senior faculty and Dean John MacArthur.
After graduating from HBS in 1990, Clark took a position as a management consultant with Bain & Company, based in Boston. She worked on a range of assignments, including new product introductions for an industrial equipment manufacturer, diligence on large companies being targeted for acquisition, and a cost structure analysis associated with acquiring new customers. As she completed her first year at Bain, Clark was offered the opportunity to return to HBS as Director for the MBA Program. During her tenure as head of the MBA Program, Clark had responsibility for all areas charged with providing services to the 1,800 first- and second-year MBA students as well as over 100 faculty and staff. In this role, she was also responsible for the MBA program budget and a staff of roughly 50 professionals.
In 1995, Clark returned to her industrial roots and entered the world of private equity as a portfolio company CEO. She first led a large, distressed commercial printing company's successful turnaround; the firm, with several national accounts with Fortune 100 companies, was eventually acquired in 1998. She next led a carve-out from 1999 to 2001, creating a profitable, standalone operating company that was once a division of a large, international corporation in the specialty chemicals sector.
In 2003, having spent the better part of the prior two years as a community volunteer and nonprofit board trustee, Clark joined The Kraft Group (owners of a group of industrial companies and the NFL's New England Patriots) as the group's VP of Philanthropy & Community Affairs. The Kraft family gave Clark an opportunity to pursue her desire to 'give back and do good.' This provided her with a platform to work with both for-profit and not-for-profit entities while leveraging the Super Bowl-winning Patriot brand to impact communities in need.
In 2007, after four years with the Kraft Group, Clark came to another career crossroad and joined GenNx360 Capital Partners, at the time a newly established private equity firm focused on investing in companies engaged in doing business in the industrial sector. Today she is a GenNx Partner focusing on deal sourcing, transaction execution, portfolio company performance, and fundraising. She serves as chair of the board of directors for one of the firm's largest investments, Schramm, Inc.
Over the last 25 years, Clark has served as trustee or overseer for a number of nonprofit organizations, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Museum of Science, and the New England Aquarium. She is currently an overseer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston and a trustee at both the Chestnut Hill School and Lasell College. She also currently chairs the board of the GenNx360 Charitable Foundation, in addition to co-chairing two HBS class reunions and having served on the boards of the HBS Alumni Association and HBSAAA. In 2007 she received the HBS Bert King Alumni Award for Service and was also acknowledged by the Johnson Publishing Company (Ebony magazine) in 2006 for her excellence in the community during the NFL Super Bowl activities in Detroit, Michigan.
In 2011, Clark was honored to share the stage with poet Nikki Giovanni, MIT Chancellor Philip Clay, and Chief Justice of Massachusetts Roderick Ireland, at the annual Boston 'A Day of Service and Celebration in Honor of Rev. Dr. Martin L. King, Jr,' held each January at Boston's historic Faneuil Hall.
Clark and her daughter enjoy an active life in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. They are dedicated members of Bethel AME Church, where Clark is a trustee and finance committee member.