Alumni Spotlight: Teaching the Value of Learning to Future HRD Leaders


After a string of career attempts that never quite fit, Jay Clancy began to realize that he was meant for more than just a job. With a passion for helping people grow and a refocus in his career, Clancy is now a growing entrepreneur who shares with future techpreneurs the importance of continuous learning.

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Clancy is a College of Technology alum from the Human Resource Development (HRD) department and a board member for the Digital Media program. Clancy received his undergraduate degree at Texas A&M University, before obtaining his master’s at the University of Houston. He is the founder of Strategic Ascent, a division of Clancy Learning LLC that creates learning and performance solutions to help employees become optimal performers within their company.

Before becoming an entrepreneur, Clancy transitioned from a number of opportunities that never quite fit him. Rather than seeing this as failure, these setbacks became a motivation for Clancy to create a space where he could make a difference with people and organizations through learning.

“I realized that starting my own business was really just trying to make a place where I fit, and then trying to grow it into a place where others fit too,” said Clancy.

Clancy has always felt called to make a difference. After realizing that his passion lied in helping others learn, he made the transition to UH to earn his master’s in Training and Development.

“I really do believe that learning – both in organizations and everywhere else – is the most important thing in our lives,” said Clancy. “In fact, learning has been the biggest constant in our journey to grow the business.”

Throughout his duration as a graduate student, Clancy believes that his time at the college played a large role in how he started his business. “The College of Technology moves boldly into nontraditional directions and helps evolve fields that the world later recognizes we cannot live without,” said Clancy.

Clancy continues to invest his time into the college through the Student Society of Human Resource Development (SSHRD), helping future HRD leaders transition into the real world.

clancy2“I feel like students are at a tough age where they have to navigate what they want to do in their lives, which can be a really difficult thing,” said Clancy. “If I can help these students to have the skills they need to be successful after graduation, then my work was worth it.”

Not only does Clancy invest in current UH students, but he also takes their potential and helps them grow through job opportunities.

“Almost all of our employees have come from UH,” said Clancy. “COT staff go out of their way to grow the students in their lives and careers, so I know that when I hire a COT grad, they will have a good foundation.”

As Clancy continues to grow his organization, he emphasizes the importance of learning. “As we continue to learn, we develop new innovations that lead us to not only become more successful, but to make a difference in the world,” said Clancy.

“Like every business owner, we strive for the day that our business pursuits will ‘pay off,’ but there really is no way of guaranteeing that,” said Clancy. “But what we can do is keep learning and keep rising to the challenges that confront us.”