Jeff Clark is the pawprietor (a k a store owner) of Madison-based EarthWise Pet, a pet boutique and groomer, along with his husband, Timothy. (See the family of three, along with pup Siena below!) Learn about Jeff Clark…
Hometown: I grew up in rural Blooming Prairie, MN, and for the past 16 years have called Madison, WI, home.
First job: Grocery bagger at Hy-Vee (Owatonna, MN).
Favorite ways to spend your free time in WI: Relaxing on the lake, dining at the many great restaurants in Madison, tending to my flower garden, sipping coffee on our sunny screen porch.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: Making the leap from a corporate career to owning our own business. I was always successful and very good at my previous jobs (technical services at Epic for nearly nine years, and about three more years of consulting afterwards), but I never found them very fulfilling and would find myself bored. It was very scary to make the leap into owning our own business, but I have no regrets now!
The biggest obstacle you overcame: I was diagnosed with stage IV cancer at the age of 18 and after more than a year of treatment including chemo, radition and multiple surgeries, I’m very lucky to still be here today and living a happy and healthy life. I think the impact cancer had on my life has made me a stronger and more determined person today.
Someone who inspires you and why: The many young activists around the world who are using their voices to push for positive change, whether for the environment like Greta Thunberg or human rights like Malala Yousafzai. I look back when I was their age, or for that matter even now, and think wow, most of us have a long way to go. Their bravery, dedication and ability to push beyond all the voices telling them “no” should encourage us all that the future can be brighter and inspire us all to work on making our little corner of the world a better place before we leave it.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Just go for it! When you find the thing that you think will make you happy, make the leap and give it a try! Life is too short to dread doing something every day that doesn’t fulfill you.
Favorite quote: “Be the reason someone smiles today. Or drinks. Whatever works.” –Earl Dibbles Jr. This quote was used to describe the “true me” by a lovely lady I met and had the opportunity to be on a Habitat for Humanity team with building a home in Costa Rica. I think it fit me very well!
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: In 2016, I joined a Habitat for Humanity team to build a house in Buenos Aires, Costa Rica. I went by myself, leaving my then-partner now-husband at home. I had the time of my life with such an amazing team of people from all over the United States. We seemed to have an instant bond and many of them have continued to be really good friends today. We sweated together, laughed together, cried together and challenged each other throughout the week and it was one of the must fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had.
What makes someone fabulous: Someone who has a heart of gold, lives to make others smile and can make me laugh until I cry.