Clinton Arnold, MBA ‘11
Teach. Help. Coach.
Just as our University mission statement is based on the three pillars – productive work, enlightened living, and community involvement, this graduate defines his own calling with three key pillars – teach, help, and coach.
Clinton grew up in Dayton, OH with his seven siblings. Although the older four Arnold children attended public school, the younger four, including Clinton, attended catholic schools. “My sister and I were the first African American students to attend and integrate St. Rita Elementary School in North Dayton. We had a few tough days, but it was a wonderful experience. I then went on to Archbishop Alter High School in Kettering, which is a suburb south of Dayton.”
Clinton’s father passed away tragically when Clinton was fifteen years old. “At the time, I knew it was a turning point. Now, looking back I can truly understand and appreciate how much losing my dad at that time impacted my life. When he died, I promised myself I would succeed in life. I knew that to get into college, I would need a scholarship to pay for it, so I buckled down.”
Clinton used that motivation to excel with his academics, athletics, and extra-curricular activities. He was an all-state baseball player and part of the student council, being elected Student Council Vice-President his junior year and President his senior year.
For Clinton, a senior honor he earned will always be treasured. “Of all the accolades and awards I’ve received over my career, still my most prized award was given to me my senior year at Alter High. I was named the Outstanding Man of the Senior Class of 1982. Alter was a prep school with 97% of the graduates heading to college. It was a big deal to be named Outstanding Man and I am very proud to have been given that title.”
All the hard work paid off and his baseball talents allowed him to meet his scholarship goals. Clinton played four years on the University of Kentucky baseball team and not just played, he earned a place on the All-South East Conference(SEC) Baseball team his senior year and earned a letter all four years. When the dreams of being drafted to play professional baseball did not become reality, perseverance took over and he began his career.
With one more year to complete his undergraduate degree at UK, Clinton started working as a GTE phone operator, earning $5.86/hour. “Luckily, after I graduated in ‘91, I was able to move up a bit from that hourly rate. Over the next twenty-five years, I did everything from an individual contributor roles to senior leadership roles in sales, marketing, product management, project management, and more.”
“After I was relocated from Lexington, KY to the GTE headquarters in Dallas, TX, I started earning promotions up the managerial ranks. I was a Senior Marketing Manager, Group Manager, and then twelve years into my career, named as a director.”
Clinton held director positions for Verizon (GTE’s new name after a merger with Bell Atlantic in 2000) in four states through 2009. This Outstanding Man of the Class earned eight President, Platinum, and Diamond awards for individual and team excellence in sales, product development, channel management, and operations.
“Although Verizon was a very good company to work for, the everyday stresses of certain political aspects of being a director at the national headquarters, combined with a two-hour commute from our home in Pennsylvania to the headquarter offices in Basking Ridge, NJ, every day was taking its toll.”
In 2010, as Verizon’s business was moving more toward cellular services and away from telecom services an opportunity for Clinton would provide a way out of the headquarters setting. He was able to keep all his earned retirement years and move to Frontier Communications when Verizon sold the 14 states to Frontier Communications in Charleston, WV in 2010.
“One year later, I started my master’s degree at UC and I graduated in 2011. Getting a master’s degree was always on my list of things to do. A couple of my siblings had already earned theirs and working in an office just down the street from campus made this the perfect time to get it done.”
Clinton retired from Frontier in March 2013 and began a new venture. He purchased the AAMCO franchise located in South Charleston. During his six years as owner, he doubled the revenue, and in 2020, amidst the global pandemic, he sold the business.
Selling a business is not all Clinton accomplished during the 2020 lock down. As companies were learning to navigate the new virtual workspace, Clinton was asked to do contract work for AnswerNet. “I was helping set up call centers virtually and began working eighty hours a week, which was not something I wanted to do at this point in my career and there was something pulling me to fulfill my calling to teach, help, and coach people. So, I resigned from AnswerNet.”
Although this was a moment in his career when Clinton began to focus more on what he really felt led to do, he had already been fulfilling the “teach” portion of his calling. “While I was running AAMCO, I started teaching one business class a semester at West Virginia State University, as an adjunct professor. I taught human resources, operations, marketing, and entrepreneurship classes, and I loved it. Sixty days after I resigned from AnswerNet, a full-time marketing professor position came open at State and I applied. I won’t say being a professor is easy, but I am having the time of my life. I am able to incorporate all my experiences into the classroom, and it is very rewarding.”
In March 2022, Clinton received a call that brought an opportunity to build the “help” pillar of Clinton’s personal mission. “KISRA (Kanawha Institute for Social Research and Action) reached out to see if I would be willing to come on board as the Interim CEO as the current CEO was very ill at the time. Within this organization, all we do is help people.”
KISRA is located in Dunbar, WV. It is a faith-motivated organization that works with folks who are transitioning out of incarceration, coming out of addiction recovery, suffer with mental health issues, live in poverty, etc. KISRA offers more than a dozen programs in four divisions: Health, Employment, Asset Development, and Learning.
Teaching is not all Clinton does at our rival school across town (we won’t hold that against him). The “coach” piece is also on display with Yellow Jacket students. Clinton became the WV State Women’s Basketball teams’ unofficial team chaplain. “It is my pleasure to provide a motivational speech and prayer before home games. But I also get to do some team building exercises with them. Actually, in my first class at UC, we studied a book called “The Five Disfunctions of a Team.” I have used that book and the exercises in the workbook that goes with it, to give seminars, build teams at my work place, motivate the WV State Women’s Basketball program, and more. The practical learning I experienced in the MBA program was wonderful.”
Clinton is also a certified Christian Counselor and certified Life Coach. “When we were all at home on lock down, I was educating myself on how to help people, and I became a Life Coach. As I advise my marketing students and others, I am coaching folks on life and how to solve problems. The marketing students and I talk about more than just class schedules.”
“I get to teach, help, and coach people all day, every day. I don’t go to work anymore; I get paid to do what I am called to do for the first time in my life. Although I enjoyed the first 32 years of my career, this is the most fulfilling work – KISRA and teaching. And I am still challenging myself to do it better, I decided to start work on my doctorate in business administration degree and am currently attending classes through Marshall University.”
Clinton and his wife, Trina, have been married for 37 years and live in Winfield, WV. They have two children and five grandchildren.