Journalist Caroline V. Clarke was born on Christmas Day, 1964 in New York City. As an infant, she was adopted and then raised in the Bronx, New York. Clarke later discovered that her biological mother was Carole "Cookie" Cole, the daughter of the famous musician Nat King Cole. She received her B.A. degree in English from Smith College, and then earned her M.S. degree with honors in journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She also studied at Spelman College from 1983 to 1984.
In 1987, Clarke was hired as a reporter for the North Jersey Herald-News. She then joined the Connecticut Law Tribune in 1988, and became a staff writer for American Lawyer in 1989, where she was a contributing winner of a National Magazine Award for Outstanding Single Topic Issue. Then, in 1993, Black Enterprise magazine hired Clark as a senior editor. In 1998, she helped launch Black Enterprise Books, and served as its editorial director until 2003. During this time, she was promoted to editor-at-large of Black Enterprise magazine, and, in 2009, became Black Enterprise’s general manager of interactive media. In 2010, Clarke was named executive editor of Black Enterprise and became host of Black Enterprise Business Report. She also serves as editorial director of Black Enterprise’s Women of Power Summit, the nation's largest annual conference for African American women executives.
In 2001, Clarke, through Black Enterprise Books, published her first book, Take a Lesson: Today's Black Achievers on How They Made It and What They Learned along the Way. She also authored Postcards from Cookie: A Memoir of Motherhood, Miracles and a Whole Lot of Mail, which was published in 2014.
Clarke has served on the boards of Spence Chapin Family Services and the BE BRIDGE Foundation. She is married and has two children.
Caroline Clarke was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 9, 2014.