Meet Connie Ko, The Director of Engineering Leading CLEAR Into New Frontiers

CLEAR is taking identity verification to the next level, and this leader is determined to unearth new ways to apply it in a variety of industries.

Written by Lucas Dean
Published on Sep. 26, 2023
Meet Connie Ko, The Director of Engineering Leading CLEAR Into New Frontiers
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Most travelers have probably witnessed CLEAR’s verification technology in action. With a quick scan of your eyes or fingers, one can be whisked to the front of the line, significantly expediting the often lengthy airport security check process. 

But CLEAR’s team has their sights set on applications that fall far outside of air travel. 

“My vision for the data platform team at CLEAR is to build a robust, scalable and secure data system with operational and quality observability,” said Director of Engineering Connie Ko.  

“This empowers CLEAR to support advanced analytics and foster innovations across the organization while we are expanding our identity verification platform into healthcare, digital marketplaces, sports, and beyond,” she said.

With a strong foundation and a nationwide footprint already in place serving as a proof of concept, Ko and her team are excited to leap into new realms — while still understanding the complex challenges of meeting CLEAR’s high standards for security and privacy, as well as regulatory requirements.

Ko’s ambitions are part of a bigger picture and a culture that champions growth, shared goals and personal development. 


CLEAR’S NY headquarters.


How do you build team culture? What does that look like at CLEAR? Why is that important for the work that you do?

I believe team culture is built with empathy and shared goals. Establishing an empathetic, open communication framework helps build trust and transparency. We always celebrate the wins, whether it be during retro or via a company wide email. This encourages team members to collaborate and share openly with other teams and helps break down any potential silos. We also believe in fearlessly challenging and embracing the brutal truth. We’re always honest with our teammates and ourselves.


“Through clearly defined shared goals, the team can understand the purpose and significance of their efforts.” 


We also encourage new team members to read our co-founders’ original shareholder letter outlining CLEAR’s mission and their vision for the company. This helps our team members establish shared goals and understand the greater purpose of their work from the very beginning. Through clearly defined shared goals, the team can understand the purpose and significance of their efforts. When people see the bigger picture of their work, it’s easy to stay motivated. 


How do you help your team grow their careers? What tools and support do you offer to allow them to stretch their skills?

One of CLEAR’s core values is “Our Great People.” We care deeply about our team members — we’re committed to their personal development so whether you need to learn something for your job or there's a skill you want to brush up on, we’ll provide the resources to make it happen. We host regular tech talks and monthly demos to share and celebrate each other’s work; we offer a yearly personal development budget that can be used for conferences, tuition, certifications, workshops and more. Our dedicated learning and development team is always creating special programming for us — like our annual hackathon — and managers across the entire organization are trained to ensure we’re tracking progress on our team members’ personal growth and development. 


CLEAR’S NY headquarters.


What is something exciting that you are currently working on with your team?

We’re currently working on a data migration project. I’ll admit that while data migration isn’t usually associated with the word “exciting,” I’m energized by the opportunities that this project will bring to CLEAR. It will open up many opportunities for CLEAR to accelerate business decisions and make them with more confidence. Everything we do at CLEAR is about making experiences easier and friction-free. I’m excited to transform the mundane, often friction-filled task of analyzing data into a frictionless experience for our employees. Whether we’re developing new internal solutions or developing new products for our customers, we’re grounded in our values every day, and we’re always looking for new ways to power friction-free living. 


“CLEAR has a startup vibe but still has the safety net of an established company.”


What is the employee value proposition for those thinking about joining CLEAR? What impact does working there have on someone’s career?

CLEAR is in a growth stage and there’s unending opportunity for those looking to grow or pivot in their careers. We’re quickly expanding our identity verification platform into different business sectors and industries beyond the airport. With that in mind, CLEAR has a startup vibe but still has the safety net of an established company. It’s a highly motivating work environment where we face different regulatory, security and privacy requirements every day. The problems presented to us are complex, and we’re encouraged to think outside the box in solving them. We’re always looking for new ways to make experiences safer and easier, and we’re excited to welcome more doers to help us get there.


Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by Clear

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Artificial Intelligence • Fintech • Information Technology • Software • Data Privacy