Clark got into NASCAR the same way he found several other key positions in his career: relationship development.
NASCAR was one of his clients at a digital media agency, where he was managing a team of marketing professionals, after working his way up the chain in his industry. Based on his great work and the strong relationships he developed with his contacts at NASCAR, they offered him a position. It was “an incredible opportunity for someone who has always wanted to work in media and marketing and for someone who has always been a sports fan.”
The Special Sauce
The final ingredient in Clark’s recipe for career success also comes from his time in the Army: He learned how to stand out and make his strengths known to the people around him. He figured out what he could do differently or better than everyone else and made sure that his colleagues knew what he could bring to the table.
In the corporate world, as in the military, you can’t count on someone else to pull you along; you have to be your own advocate. But Clark is quick to make a distinction. “There is a fine line between being an advocate and being self-promotional,” he says. Make sure you know the difference.
Breaking into the Sports World
Clark joined NASCAR after 14 years of building on the skills he acquired in the military while learning the ropes in the world of digital media. By the time he got the job offer, he had a lot of personal and professional expertise to offer in addition to his love for sports.
For veterans looking to break into NASCAR or the sports world in general, Clark recommends making your “fandom” secondary to what you can do professionally. In your interview or cover letter, don’t overdo it on your enthusiasm for the sport or team. Instead, emphasize the skills, experience and new ideas you can bring to the organization. And don’t forget, you may have learned those things at boot camp.
Vice President of Digital Media
Military Service: Specialist (E-4), Army (1993-1998)
Higher Ed: Bachelor’s degree, marketing, Strayer University