Women in Business: Sarah Clark

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 763 views 

Class of 2018 Women in Business Sarah Clark CEO Mitchell, Fayetteville

Residence: Fayetteville

Education: B.A., communications, Ouachita Baptist University

Professional background: Clark is a top strategic communications professional with more than 25 years of experience in the corporate arena. She has been with the global PR agency Mitchell since 2010, joining as senior vice president and chief strategy officer. She was named president in 2013 and CEO in 2017. Before Mitchell, Clark was a senior member of the Walmart corporate communications team and an officer of the company. She’s a board member of The New School in Fayetteville, chair of the governance committee for Delta Dental of Arkansas and a board member of the Center for Retailing Excellence for the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas.

What inspired you to pursue your current career? I always enjoyed writing and storytelling, and I had a great professor at Ouachita Baptist University, Dr. Bill Downs, who showed me how important and diverse the area of communications could be and the versatility of career opportunities associated with it. In terms of PR, I loved the creative aspect of it and how to engage and persuade people to act.

What’s one key leadership lesson that’s stuck with you during your career? You get what you give, so speak and act with candor and authenticity to nurture trust.

What achievement are you most proud of so far in your career? Being part of the team that led the charge to protect Walmart’s reputation and helping redefine how the company was perceived as an employer, and gaining Walmart recognition for its leadership in healthcare, environmental sustainability and economic opportunity. Those were transformative years at Walmart, and I was proud to be part of it.

What’s your biggest passion? My son. I adopted him from Siberia and never dreamed how full my life would be. He changed my perspective as a person and leader. He keeps me grounded on my true priorities in life.

What’s the most important aspect of achieving a balance between your career and your family? Be present where your feet are planted. If you are with your family, give them 150% of your attention, and the same for your career. Be all in where ever you are!

What was your dream job as A kid? I wanted to be a teacher because I loved school and have some of the most vivid memories of teachers who gave their all to create a positive childhood experience and instill a passion for learning in me.

What advice would you give your younger self? Don’t be so controlling. Let it go, and it will grow!

What goals do you have in the next three to five years of your career? Continue to grow our business. Continue to hire, develop and nurture the great talent we have at Mitchell. Stay out in front of the changing communications landscape and help the agency be on the forefront of defining the future of PR.

What are three words you would use to describe yourself? Passionate. Authentic. Mom.

How do you spend your time away from work — if there is such a thing? Watching my 10-year-old play baseball, traveling and camping.

What qualities do you feel are most important in a company leader? Collaborative, listener, agile, risk-taker, authentic, servant leader, caring, constant learner, change agent, visionary.

What’s the First thing you do at the office each morning? Read the news of the day.

Of all the mentors in your professional career, who has been the most influential? Mona Williams, my longtime boss at Walmart, has been one of the very best examples of servant leadership in my career. She was in the trenches with her team when she needed to be, and I learned the incredible importance of that. She was calm in the storm, she led with patience and respect, and — dare I say — she taught me how to display love in the workplace by truly caring for everyone. She loved and respected those around her so naturally and authentically.

I wish I knew I how to … what? Play an instrument like the guitar.

What’s your favorite smartphone app? Facebook.
I love staying in touch with my friends and professional contacts in their personal space. You see the real person in all of us by the stories we tell, the pictures we show, the things we follow.

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