BE HAPPY. LEARN SOMETHING. AND BE KIND.

BY Casey M. Clark

President and CEO
NAPEO

February 2024

My first day on the job at NAPEO was at our December Board meeting, where I was presented a blanket with a giant picture of my face on it. Apparently, this was NAPEO tradition and Pat offered, “Just wait until these are all over the country!”

“I don’t think so,” I said.

Less than two months later, here I am, penning an article about myself for a magazine with my face plastered across the cover. (There’s probably another picture of me somewhere near this column, too!) The irony isn’t lost on me.

With any luck, this will be the last time my face is on anything, but this is as good a time as any to share a little about me that doesn’t necessarily show up on my LinkedIn profile.

After graduating from my beloved University of Dayton, I left my hometown for Washington and never looked back. But my life in the association business started before that.

I earned my first paycheck as a summer intern at the American Trucking Associations in high school. I lived with my sister (now an association CEO) for four summers with the truckers, learning about membership organizations, the intersection of communication and government relations, and building a network of lifelong friends and mentors.

Because of that experience, Washington was the only destination for me after school. I’ve loved raising a family in the Virginia suburbs and patching together interesting jobs into a meaningful career that I never would have imagined and wouldn’t trade for anything.

I’ve found throughout my career that I’m always energized by a challenge. I love team ball and finding ways to leverage the unique strengths of everyone involved to deliver meaningful results.

I feel very lucky to get to spend my time away from the office with my wife, Liz (herself an association CEO!), and the two of our three kids that are still at home, Finnegan and Penelope. (Connor graduated last year and is making his way on the mean streets of Columbus, Ohio.) We all share a love for live music and time on the water, and eek out as much of both as we can muster.

Future column inches will be dedicated to things that matter more to your bottom line, but I’ll share one more personal anecdote before you turn the page to more pressing content.

Every morning, I remind my daughter to do three things: Be happy. Learn something. And be kind.

It turns out to be apt counsel for a new CEO at NAPEO, too. I’m ecstatic to be a part of this great industry. I’m learning a ton every day about all you’re doing to enable the success of small and medium sized businesses all across the country. And I’m overwhelmed with the kindness you’ve shown me as I get settled and look forward to being able to share that back with you when our paths cross this year. That’s a NAPEO tradition I’ll gladly carry on.

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