In this episode of the Beacon Podcast, Lighthouse Counsel Senior Consultant David Snow speaks with Carolyn and Clark Baker. Clark spent much of his life as a YMCA executive in Tennessee and Texas. Throughout his career, he successfully raised millions of dollars to build new YMCAs and camps. He is also proud of the 23 staff members he personally mentored who now lead YMCAs across the United States. Carolyn Baker, Clark’s wife, documents leadership lessons from Clark’s life through stories in her new book, “Work, Play, Pray Hard: Life and Leadership Lessons of Visionary CEO Clark Baker.” In this podcast, Clark and Carolyn discuss:
- How Clark developed his leadership philosophy
- The importance of talent
- What’s unique about “Work, Play, Pray Hard”
About our guest:
Clark Baker was gifted a Y membership when he was a child and, as he told his wife, Carolyn, when she was writing a book about his career, “I basically went to the Y one day and never came home.”
Clark has been a member of the YMCA for nearly 50 years and on the full-time staff since 1970. He began his career as a Youth Director and later was the Executive Director of the YMCA in Washington, IN. In 1976, he became Vice President/Operating Officer for the YMCA of Central Florida, in Orlando. In 1982, he was named President/CEO of the YMCA of Chattanooga; and in 1987, President/CEO of the YMCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. In 2002, he was appointed President/CEO of the YMCA of Greater Houston.
The Houston Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators named Clark its Executive Communicator of the Year in 2005, when the Houston Y celebrated a $93 million budget.
Clark also has received the NCCJ Humanitarian Award, the Jaycees Man of the Year Award, and induction into the Seaton Society of St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville. In 2000, he received a lifetime achievement award from the National Association of Philanthropy for outstanding fund development for the YMCA and other nonprofit organizations.