Storyteller at the intersection of spirituality, digital design, and social change.
Clarissa Joan Middleton is a storyteller at the intersection of spirituality, digital design, and social enterprise. Mrs. Joan is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of The Being Academy, a digital gymnasium for mental clarity, spiritual growth, and transformational wellness practices.
Her research “Cognitive Science, Belief, and Interactive Media as a Distribution Platform for Experiences that Enhance Human Development” has been published by the USC Digital Libraries for public viewing. Clarissa’s work in virtual reality, non-linear storytelling, SAAS applications, digital publishing, and massive open online courses has been supported by the USC Office of Religious Life, the USC Creative Media and Behavioral Health Center, The Max De Pree Center for Leadership, IntraVarsity Christian Fellowship, the 2019 USC Games Expo, and the IndieCade Games Conference 2019 at Santa Monica College.
In the Fall of 2019, Clarissa’s digital health and entertainment platform, The Being Academy, demoed at the 2019 Missiology Lectures conference: “Techno-Sapiens in a Networked Era: Becoming Digital Neighbors” hosted by Fuller Theological Seminary. The Being Academy's mission is to create digital wellness space where members can"maximize their God gifted potential to live a very good life." The academy offers interactive experiences for relaxation, meditation, self-reflection, behavioral health interventions, and personal transformation.
As a Mellody Hobson Scholar, Clarissa's graduate studies were graciously supported by the George Lucas Family Foundation Endowed Student Support Fund for Diversity. From 2017 - 2018, Clarissa also served as a scholar-in-residence at the USC Media Institute for Social Change. Prior to her career in media, She worked as a senior financial analyst as AXA Equitable and a business strategy consultant for Impact America Fund. She is currently a visiting scholar at the USC Creative Media and Behavioral Health Center under the direction of Marientina Gotsis. In 2020, she was a featured guest on The Theology of Work's podcast, "Making It Work" highlighting her professional journey from Finance to Media Arts.
Clarissa is a talented writer whose work can be appreciated on Moguldom Media’s digital publication MadameNoire, a lifestyle publication catering to 9 million African American women monthly.
Clarissa lives in Newport Beach, California with her husband, Theodore, and their three children Genesis, Viva, and Theo III. She received her B.S in Finance, Cum Laude, from The Tobin College of Business at St. John’s University in 2009, and her MFA in Interactive Media from the USC School of Cinematic Arts in 2019. Fight On!