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Honorable Clarease Rankin Yates

Top 20 Inspiring Woman Impact Maker Award


Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Ballroom at Bayou Place

Honorable Clarease Rankin Yates was appointed to the U.S. Immigration Court in 1990. She is the first African-American woman in the United States to hold that office. Originally from Philadelphia, Judge Yates received her bachelor’s degree and her Juris Doctorate from Temple University. She is married to Cary P. Yates, former senior vice president with Wells Fargo.  She and Cary have been recognized as a power couple for community service by several organizations. Together they have five children and 10 grandchildren.

Judge Yates began her legal career in the office of Philadelphia’s district attorney, worked as an attorney with the United States International Trade Commission, and served as senior legislative analyst for the District of Columbia. Upon relocating to Houston, she served as an adjunct professor of law at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University for eight years. Judge Yates is also a member of Class XIV Leadership Houston. The organization’s mission is to enlighten, empower, and engage leaders in the Houston community.

As someone who is constantly looking for ways to improve her skills and knowledge, Judge Yates became a certified fashion image consultant in 2003. Her affinity for teenagers led her to publish a book in 2005 on the ABCs of common courtesy, entitled, Indestructible Beginnings. Her interest in youth also led her to become a certified etiquette trainer for teens in 2011. She uses Indestructible Beginnings in conjunction with her workbook while conducting her etiquette classes. In 2014, to further develop her expertise as an etiquette coach, Judge Yates completed an intense course at the Protocol School of Washington and is now a certified business etiquette and international protocol consultant. She has also completed the Manousso basic course on mediation.

Not only does Judge Yates believe in her own personal development, she believes in the development of the community and the people in it. She is the Founder/Director of Let the Fashions Begin, a 501 © (3) corporation, whose purpose is to speed up the process of finding a cure for sickle cell anemia. For the past 18 years, the funds the corporation has raised from the Let the Fashions Begin Men of Style Gala have been instrumental in making the Texas Children’s Hospital Clinical Research Center a reality.

In keeping with her interest in the community, Judge Yates has served on the boards of the Houston Holocaust Museum, the Houston Chapter of the NAACP, the Houston Symphony, and the Houston Community College Foundation Board.

She currently serves on the international committee of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Committee (HLSR) and served as a captain for the black heritage committee of the HLSR.  She is also a lifetime member of Delta Sigma Theta as well as a lifetime member of the NAACP and served as the chair of its youth committee. She served as an officer of the Houston Chapter of the Links, Inc.

She is a member of Fort Bend Church and was a founding board member of Windsor Village United Methodist Church's Credit Union.  

Because of her devoted service to the community, Judge Yates has been recognized as a Woman on the Move by the Houston Chronicle and Channel 11, was recognized as a Woman of Distinction 2012 by the Crohn’s & Colitis Association, is the recipient of the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce Breakthrough Women’s Award, and received the Onyx Style Magazine & Sisters Network Guild Distinctive Style Award in 2007. In 2017, she was named by Women's Business Magazine as one of its 50 Most Influential Women.

There is no doubt that Judge Yates believes in the continued development and betterment of one’s self and one’s community understanding the two go hand-in-hand.

It is for all the reasons mentioned above, and many more, that Honorable Clarease Rankin Yates has been named a Top 20 Inspiring Woman Impact Maker for 2019.

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