A sense of belonging has enabled her to thrive at University of Richmond, Jaide Hinds-Clarke, ’20, said. Both on and off campus, the scholar-athlete who plays forward for Spider Women’s Basketball strives to make people feel valued and included.

A gay, African-American woman, her identity derives from three traditionally marginalized groups, yet she exudes a quiet confidence imbued with humility. She’s explored her identity through her majors in leadership studies and sociology and her minor in women, gender and sexuality studies.

“Each discipline is at the intersection of my passions,” Hinds-Clarke said. “Through my leadership studies, I’ve learned how to be a more inclusive, ethical leader. I’ve moved from thinking of leadership as a position to leadership as a privilege.

“My family has always been supportive of me, as have people in my hometown of Westwood, N.J.,” Hinds-Clarke said. “So I’ve always been comfortable with my own identity. At UR, I’ve been able to be in spaces where I’ve been supported and can learn from others who haven’t had my experiences.”

Recognizing that many LGBTQ individuals may have had less positive experiences being accepted than she has, in 2018 Hinds-Clarke co-founded Shades of Pride with fellow Spider Dom Harrington, ’19. The affinity group for LGBTQ students of color operates out of the Office of Common Ground.

“Our emphasis is on building community,” she said. “This year, Shades of Pride is partnering with other multi-cultural groups on campus to raise awareness of our intersectional identities.”

Hinds-Clarke credits her 2018 and 2019 summer internships with Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities (VCIC)—a nonprofit that offers programs to Virginia schools, businesses, and communities to help them achieve success through inclusion—with teaching her much about creating a safe, welcoming community. A Robert L. Burrus Jr. Fellowship supported her 2019 Jepson internship with VCIC.

She counts VCIC president and CEO Jonathan Zur, a 2003 alumnus of the University’s Jepson School of Leadership Studies, as a mentor and role model.

“Jonathan has always cared about my growth and learning,” Hinds-Clarke said. “Last year I worked with him on the VCIC Learning Portal, a diversity and inclusion e-learning platform for K-12 educators that VCIC will launch soon. The environment he’s fostered at VCIC has informed my ideas about what I want my future workplace to be like.”  

Zur nominated her for nonprofit Diversity Richmond’s 2019 Black and Bold Award, which she received in February in recognition of her work on empowering University of Richmond LGBTQ students of color. A month later, Hinds-Clarke received the Jones Impact Award from the University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs in acknowledgement of her contributions to positive social change and the Women’s Basketball Team.

This month, the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement presented her with its 2019 Service for Change Award for the favorable impact she’s had on Virginia communities as a VCIC program ambassador.

Notwithstanding these leadership awards, Hinds-Clarke is quick to point out that she is also a follower.

“Through Dr. Julian Hayter’s class Summons to Conscience, I developed a deep understanding and love for both leadership and followership,” the high-scoring, high-rebounding, 6’1” Women’s Basketball standout said.

“I can’t do anything with my team if I’m not trusted and leading by example. I may be a leader in some contexts, but in others, I’m a follower—of my basketball coaches, my strength-and-conditioning coach, my professors, mentors, and peers. 

“Because I’ve had such a great experience at UR, I take pride in representing UR on and off the court. I’m humbled by all the people who have invested in me, and I try to live in a way that will make them proud.”