Cronkite Summer Journalism Institute 2012
The Phoenix Mercury devotes considerable time to give back to the community it values dearly. But one woman stands behind it all. Although she is an acting public relations director, she is willing to devote her time for the Mercury as well as the Phoenix Suns.
Currently, she is balancing between her work for the Suns, and now her work for the Mercury. The two teams have teamed up to offer Jr. Suns and Jr. Mercury, programs that together offer boys and girls opportunity to play basketball, respectively.
I had the chance to meet her at one of the Mercury’s practices, as she escorted us to the stands. As I interviewed her, I realized that her job was much more than a source of pay for her. Rather, it’s the contribution to the team’s community outreach effort that she valued the most.
She talked proudly (and reasonably so) of the Adopt-A-Team program, an effort to help high school girls’ basketball teams develop “both on and off the court.” This program is “not just about getting new equipment and getting new uniforms.” It has an intangible impact on the girls. It involves full mentorship and involvement with the team. The high school athletes learn how to write resumes and have great etiquette.
It’s all so that they can “be strong individuals and believe in themselves and to know that they can achieve whatever dream they set for themselves.”
In addition, she talked about the Women of Inspiration, a program that provides role models for girls to look up to.
Clark says, “We just hope that her [Hope Solo] life’s journey can inspire other people to be that same way.”
Although I am amazed at how much the Mercury and Suns have helped the community, I discovered something much more notable: a source of inspiration hidden in the dark.
That inspiration is no one but Clark. As the director, she is the binding force behind the projects that the teams come up with.
She humbly states, “It’s always nice to give back to the community and to use the power that we have for good.” She counts herself lucky; she feels “very fortunate that I [she] have [has] the opportunity to do it.”
by Diana Lee