As principal of The 10 Company, Clare DeNicola ’85 develops and executes creative strategies to increase sales, launch new products, enter new markets, enhance customer relations and build brands for Fortune 500 companies around the globe. She credits her Lehigh experience for helping her discover her communications talent while also giving her a jump-start on learning the fine art of proper work/life balance.
Speaking of communications, it was a letter from Lehigh that convinced DeNicola that she would thrive on South Mountain.
“Lehigh sent me a great letter—kind of a pre-acceptance letter very early in my senior year of high school. It said something like ‘you’re in, and we hope you will come here.’ The letter made me feel as if it was a good match,” says DeNicola.
Touring the campus sealed the deal. “I loved the campus. I can remember taking the tour and sitting under a large oak tree at the end of the tour. It was beautiful.”
DeNicola used her four years at Lehigh wisely. Starting out as an English major, she quickly realized how much she loved to write, especially for journalism. She added a journalism major and put her talents to use for the Brown & White. As features editor for the newspaper, DeNicola discovered her penchant for learning about what makes people tick and writing about them in a way that reveals their personalities and illustrates what makes them unique and interesting. She wrote many personality profiles, including those of professors, giving readers a look at the other facets of faces famous around campus.
Being busy at Lehigh helped DeNicola learn how to manage time, priorities and activities—giving her valuable experience that’s been vital to her success in a high-profile and demanding career. Beyond her job at the Brown & White, she was vice president of her sorority, Delta Gamma, held a four-year position as an administrative assistant in the history department and interned during her senior year in the public relations department of Historic Bethlehem, Inc.
“Lehigh prepared me well for life and my career,” she says. “The mix of classes, work on the Brown & White, the internship and work-study experience gave me the right balance—with a similar intensity to the real world of having a job and managing life outside of college.”
Married for 22 years and living in Greenwich, Conn., with husband Frank, son Jack, 15, daughter Olivia, 14, and their four pets, DeNicola has a full life away from the office. Besides taking care of her family, she says helping and saving animals is a “big interest” of hers. Three of the family pets are rescues. She blends this with leading a business in New York City that assists big clients that expect big results. But DeNicola is no stranger to business success at the highest level.
Prior to The 10 Company, DeNicola was president and CEO of IVANS, Inc. and a member of the company’s board of directors since March 2004. While leading IVANS, she transformed the company from an insurance industry network reseller to an innovative technology solutions provider for the insurance and healthcare industries, resulting in significant revenue growth and increased shareholder value. In 2010, DeNicola was named one of the 100 Most Powerful People in the Insurance Industry for North America by Insurance Broadcasting and the Insurance Media Association, an honor reserved for the individuals who control or who have the greatest influence on people, capital, intellectual knowledge, technology and other industry resources. In healthcare, she has been an avid supporter of ways technology can advance the entire healthcare experience for doctors, hospitals, payers and patients and has met regularly with analysts and the media to promote these programs.
Before joining IVANS, she was vice president at the New York headquarters of Grey Advertising’s worldwide public relations agency, GCI Group. Prior to GCI, she was a marketing manager with Coopers & Lybrand for more than six years. After her 1985 graduation from Lehigh with a dual major in English and journalism, DeNicola went on to earn an MBA from Fordham University, attending class while working full time at Coopers & Lybrand.
After 14 years at IVANS, DeNicola left in 2012 and, with a business partner, started her own firm, The 10 Company. A full-service marketing communications agency, the firm has a wide variety of Fortune 500 and emerging high-tech clients. She works on a variety of communications initiatives, including traditional and social media and employee communications. Specializing in C-suite communications, she has worked with CEOs on thought leadership programs, blogging and developing the right social media presence, particularly on LinkedIn and Twitter. And she’s also worked on a couple of CEO transitions and all of the associated communications—both internal and external. These types of high-level and high-impact communications require a special touch and an authentic voice. DeNicola believes she first found that voice in her creative endeavors at Lehigh.
“At Lehigh, there were many opportunities to express myself creatively—which enabled me to develop my strengths and helped me to focus on the direction that would suit me best,” DeNicola states. “By developing my communications skills, whether by writing articles and op-eds on tight deadlines twice a week for the Brown & White, pitching Historic Bethlehem Inc.’s shad festival for coverage by local broadcast and print outlets or writing a paper for my Old English class, communication was at the core.”
DeNicola still finds time to visit her alma mater and remain active in Lehigh societies. She has been a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council and recently assumed a leadership role as chair. She is also a member of the Asa Packer Society.
“Dean Hall is advancing the College of Arts and Sciences in so many ways—progressing on the strategic plan to grow and enhance the college and what it offers to students,” explains DeNicola. “I'm eager to contribute to executing his vision as part of the Council.”
DeNicola adds, “Being active with Lehigh gives me the opportunity to stay abreast of what’s happening at the university. From learning about the exciting plans for Williams Hall to engaging with students who have studied abroad, my participation on the Council has enabled me to connect back with Lehigh and experience it not just as the Lehigh I remembered, but what it is today. That’s extremely valuable. It is also fulfilling in a second way, and that is the ability to give back. This is with time and financial support, as well as the ability to provide advice.”
And, DeNicola makes sure to attend at least one Lehigh football game each year. It’s an annual tradition she shares with friends and their families, complete with tailgating and catching up and swapping stories about their time at Lehigh. “I am excited about attending the 150th Lehigh-Lafayette game at Yankee Stadium on Nov. 22. “The Lehigh-Lafayette rivalry runs so strong, and the game itself was such a memorable part of the Lehigh experience. I’m planning to attend with my family. The fact that it’s in Yankee Stadium makes it a very special and memorable event.”