An Interview with Marlene Clark

1) Why do you love what you do?
I am really driven by helping people understand that they don’t have to do it alone, and I think that stems from my core value of partnership. We work so hard on our relationships in our personal lives, but all too often that doesn’t translate in the workplace. Blind spots stop people from being able to create great partnerships, when really it’s all that we want. It’s like when you’re driving down the road and you don’t see the car that is right next to you because it is in your blind spot. The same goes for our relationships. There are things we can’t see (from our limited point of view) that keep us from achieving the level of partnership we desire. Once we are able to “see” these blind spots, then the next course of action comes naturally.

2) Name a famous person who has been influential in your life:
You may laugh, but I would say Jesus and Madonna (and I’m not talking about Jesus’ mama!). I am attracted to compassionate rule breakers –– who shake up the status quo – I even married one.

3) What is your favorite restaurant in Austin?
It’s such a cliché, but of course I love Uchi. However, dining on the patio at the Paggi House is always a favorite.

4) Tell me about your first job:
At 16, I started a business renting inner tubes from a corner property above the Comal River. My marketing strategy was simple: arrange the tubes differently everyday…and play hackey sack in a bikini. My philosophy was to keep it simple and stay true to who I was – and it worked. I ran the business for six years, and it’s where I first learned about customer service, money managing and leadership development. We sold the company to a family member, and it’s still going strong today!

5) Describe yourself in three words:
Tenacious, compassionate and fair.

6) If you could live anywhere in the world, obviously you would pick Austin. What would be your second choice?
Bali left a huge impression on me. The people are full of gratitude, compassion and acceptance. You feel ethereal just being on the island. I always felt loved and alive there, and that atmosphere made me want to pay it forward.