about irma

I believe you must change hearts, change minds, and change behavior to achieve transformation.

Irma McClaurin

Dr. Irma McClaurin, Black Feminist Speaker, is the CEO of Irma McClaurin Solutions (IMS), aka McClaurin Solutions, a leadership consulting business, an activist anthropologist, award-winning author, black feminist archive founder, diversity champion, and community engagement specialist. She specializes in helping others find immediate and sustainable solutions to emerging and urgent issues. McClaurin offers support as a leadership consultant and guru, an executive coach, researcher, motivational speaker, workshop facilitator, writer/editor, and diversity strategist. This Black feminist speaker is also a Solutions Executive and a past president of Shaw University, former Chief Diversity Officer at Teach For America, free-lance writer and editor, and mentor  who has committed her life and career to helping others transform the world. She holds the PhD and MA in Anthropology and the Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in English, both from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

McClaurin knows first-hand what it means to lead under fire. As President, only six months on the job, she led Shaw University through disaster recovery after tornado damages and stepped in to take charge as Deputy Provost at Fisk University after the abrupt departure of both the provost and president. This has given her hands-on experience in leading organizational and culture change, crisis management, institutional recovery and stabilization, diversity audits and conflicts, and leadership and faculty development. She uses this first-hand knowledge to support her clients in achieving their goals.

A woman of many talents, McClaurin can speak, coach, comment, and conduct workshops on a variety of topics related to social justice, organizational change and transformation, leadership and resilience, black feminism/feminism, the Irma McClaurin Black Feminist Archive, diversity, community engagement, ethnographic research and methods, public writing, cultural/bio-cultural anthropology, poetry, and literature.

Passion, clear values, and a deep commitment to social justice have guided Dr. McClaurin through a successful journey as a senior executive, and now she wants to give back by leveraging what she’s learned in her work with clients. For example, she uses her writing skills and gender expertise to write expert testimonies for immigration asylum seekers. McClaurin is committed to helping others transform the world and using her unique leadership skill set to be of service to achieve sustainable and transformational results.

Her career spans the sectors of higher education, government, nonprofits and philanthropy, and her leadership background includes serving as Program Officer for Education and Scholarship at the Ford Foundation and managing a $10.9M portfolio, senior faculty member at the Federal Executive Institute (FEI) where she taught leadership education to hundreds of senior federal executives from agencies like the CIA, Veterans Affairs, NASA, DoD, DOE, and many others. She also was Coordinator and Coach for the four USAID leadership programs at FEI.

Other past positions include founding executive director and associate vice president of the University of Minnesota’s first Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC),  and the Mott Distinguished Chair of Women’s Studies at Bennett College for Women where she founded the Africana Women’s Studies Program.

McClaurin has been awarded tenure twice as an Associate professor of anthropology, and received the following honors: A special award in 2017 for “Vision and Commitment” from the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) and the 2016 “Distinguished Alumni Award” from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

A prolific writer and experienced editor, McClaurin is a free-lance writer and Culture and Education Editor for Insight News of Minneapolis. She has penned 78+ columns, and in 2015 earned recognition as “Best Columnist in the Nation” by Black Press of America as the first-place recipient of the Emory O. Jackson National Column Writing Award given by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. This made her Insight News’ first and only award-winning writer. In the academic arena, McClaurin’s edited book, Black Feminist Anthropology: Theory, Politics, Praxis and Poetics, was selected as an “Outstanding Academic Title” by Choice Magazine in 2002. Also an accomplished poet, her poems have appeared in over 16 magazines and anthologies, and are translated into Spanish and Swedish.

Dr. McClaurin is also the founder of the “Irma McClaurin Black Feminist Archive,” a collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s W.E.B. Du Bois Library Department of Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) and the W.E.B. Du Bois Center. She now presents nationally on the Archive and recently appeared on abc7 “Here and Now” to talk about her legacy project: (http://abc7ny.com/society/here-and-now-for-january-21-2018-segment-2—black-feminists/2983911/). Most recently @CiteBlackWomen launched its inaugural podcast with an interview with McClaurin on the Black Feminist Archive.  On her vision, Dr. McClaurin says:

This Archive will be a game changer by preserving and showcasing the intellectual and activist contributions of Black Feminists for all eternity.

Who I Am

  • Activist Anthropologist
  • Asylum expert witness
  • Award-winning Author
  • Black feminist author
  • Black feminist speaker
  • Black Feminist Archive founder
  • Diversity champion and consultant
  • Executive coach
  • Feminist and social justice poet
  • Free-lance Writer and Editor
  • Leadership consultant and guru
  • Leadership resilience trainer
  • Professor of anthropology and literature
  • Researcher and Evaluator
  • Writing coach

Dr. McClaurin Accepts UMass Distinguished Alumni Award

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