As we reach the one-year anniversary of Clarity’s launch on July 1, we want to take some time to share more about our team and the people who have been part of the vision since the beginning. And in every team, there’s that one special character that brings joy, unity, and a sense of purpose. For Clarity, that character is Clarence T. Owl.
Who is Clarence?
My name is Allie Howe, and this story is going to start with a personal anecdote because I originally created Clarence. I’m the Operations Manager at Clarity, with the classic start-up secondary title of team graphic designer and illustrator, and get to contribute to the visual side of Clarity. I drew the first iteration of Clarence while sitting at an early team meet-up with Director of Engineering, Jason Leveille. Clarence was originally intended to be a friendly guide to assist people in finding their way back to the Clarity app when they stumbled upon a 404 error page.
With his endearing appearance, the (at the time unnamed) owl swiftly captured the attention and affection of the Clarity team. It wasn’t long before he began making appearances in various internal areas, like emojis and celebratory drawings. It was when Co-Founder and COO Rich Sedmak brought the owl to the physical world as a larger-than-life plush and bestowed the name “Clarence T. Owl” that the identity was cemented. Now often joining team meetings through his own zoom screen, Clarence has become more than just a visual representation: He evolved into a cherished member of our team.
Clarence: The Support Bot
Recognizing the potential to enhance our workflow (and have fun while doing it), the engineering team took Clarence’s influence a step further. Jason and engineering architect Ray Peters came together and built an internal chat bot named Clarence, with the goal of providing more automated support, streamlining communication between teams, and saving valuable time and resources. Jason says “I love Clarence. All he ever wants to do is help. […] I suspect that Clarence has probably collectively saved us hundreds of hours.” School and family users may not know that behind the scenes, Clarence is assisting team members every day throughout the support process.
The Future with Clarence
Where is Clarence’s future with Clarity? Jason confidently states, “The great thing is that we’ve only just begun. There’s so much more he’ll be able to do for us.” Along with introducing Clarence as a team member, we are excited to share a sneak peak at the ways he will be helping out families directly in the Clarity application. While Clarity already offers handy tips and directions to families and schools, in the year 2 application Clarence and other visual cues help the user understand where to look and what to change when Clarity needs confirmation or new information.
Anyone who was at AISAP at the end of June 2023 will have also spied something new amongst the Clarity team: collectable enamel pins, all bearing the proud face of Clarence T. Owl. Team members could also be found wearing Clarence hats to shade from the San Diego sun.
Clarence has undeniably become an integral part of our Clarity team, has won our hearts, and made a lasting impact on all of us. With his cheerful presence and unwavering dedication to helping others, Clarence symbolizes the spirit of teamwork, innovation, and continuous improvement. As we look ahead to the future, we eagerly anticipate the new heights Clarence will take us as we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of Clarity.