Tell us a little about your family.
My husband Adam and I both grew up in the Des Moines area. We moved to Waukee nine years ago. We have four amazing kids—three daughters and one son—who are 13, 11, 6 and almost 2 years old. Their activities run the gamut from dance to Scouts, to band, to taekwondo. As you can imagine, they keep us pretty busy.
As we enter the holiday season, is there any tradition and/or Waukee event that’s a can’t-miss for the Clarkes?
I have a large family—I’m the fourth of five kids, and we have 12 nieces and nephews. So holidays for us are filled with a lot of family! A few of our favorite traditions include packing Christmas Child boxes with our kids, adopting a family, making snow people (if it’s a white Christmas) and eating!
Tell our readers a little about what you do.
In my day job, I head business development for an institutional investment firm. I oversee marketing, sales and client service. I’m also a board member for the Iowa Child Advocacy Board, a state organization that oversees the Court Appointed Special Advocacy and foster care review board programs because I want to help stand for all of Iowa’s children. I was also fortunate to be elected to the city council in 2017. I am completing my first year as a council member.
What made you want to take on the responsibility of public service?
I’ve always been engaged in service. It may sound silly, but I felt called to do more. I didn’t know exactly what that meant until I attended some council meetings. Oftentimes people don’t realize the huge impact made by the local city council. Waukee has amazing and talented city employees and a strong council with a diverse set of skills. But I felt my analytical background and my experience in planning strategically for growth would be a good addition to the team.
On a more personal note, there’s a lot of divisiveness and ugliness in politics. It’s not just today in 2018. I door-knocked for a candidate when I was in college. I was threatened, chased off the doorstep, and called some pretty awful names, all by people who didn’t know the first thing about me. That happened here in Iowa. It’s also happened when I’ve gone to the statehouse to advocate for things I believe in. I’ve been shut down fairly rudely by people who are paid out of my tax dollars to represent me. And my kids witness it regularly—ugly arguments in their school or on television. At some point, I realized that if I want our kids to have a good role model in that arena, someone who respects and listens to people, who is willing to change her mind when new information is introduced, and someone who won’t “throw shade,” maybe I need to stand up and be that person.
In this issue, we take a sneak peek at the new state-of-the-art Fridley Palms Theatre set to open in Waukee very soon. Is there any movie you’re looking forward to when their doors open to the public?
If this were a live interview, people would see me laugh! I love movies and am excited about the theater, but having four kids basically means my movie time ends up being their selections. In our house, the kids are very excited to see the new Fantastic Beasts and Mary Poppins Returns. While I am excited for those too, I personally love anything action-oriented.