Meet Demi Knight Clark (32) Chief Girl Friday & Owner of Girl Friday PR + Marketing

Tell us about how you chose your career/business and what your responsibilities include?
I chose my career after spending 12 years on what I call doing the “Hamster Dance” in corporate America. I was full of ideas, enthusiasm, spirit and opportunity – and fought my own beliefs to fit into the mold of someone else’s ideals. In a down economy, I saw the light -and when everyone else thought I was nuts, I “jumped off the cliff” to see if I would fly on my own. Six months later, I can say I’m happily soaring! 🙂 I do contract and
freelance PR and marketing work for clients in the NASCAR, motorsports, beauty & homebuilding industries…with NO day being the same.

Tell us about your company ?
What makes my company “tick” is women. It became crystal clear to me, as I started networking for business opportunities, that women are extremely passionate animals in business – we rally around causes, lift each other up to succeed & partner up whenever we can. Now that’s neat – considering in corporate America, I always preferred to work with the men due to cattiness. Outside that “mold,” women are expressive, passionate small business owners & entrepreneurs who are the strongest network en masse that I have ever seen. Inspiring!

What are some of the most fulfilling projects you have been involved with so far?
My most fulfilling, by far, has been working with up-and-coming women in motorsports – crew engineers, drivers and pit crew. They are the “unsung heroes” of the sport – to include the support staff of wives, team owners and office staff – who get little credit. In the midst of the huff and puff of Danica Patrick, women are “quietly making noise” throughout stock car racing, putting their noses to the grindstone to prove to the boys network that they belong there. And in 2010, you are going to see them explode on the scene in a way you’ve never seen before…they will finally have their moment to shine. It’s awesome to watch, and it’s as big as Title IX was to sports in the 70s and 80s – something we can give our daughters and be proud.

Are there any people in your field you would like to meet and/or work with and have not yet had the opportunity?
ABSOLUTELY, tons! I’m a networker by trade, so I’ll always want to meet someone fascinating (and without gain…rule #1 in my book is to live by the Laundry Theory – giving without expectation of returns, so it will all “come out in the Laundry.”) I would love to meet Kelly Ripa – she shares my energy level and seems to keep it all in check with her family; Michelle Obama, who is creating a nontraditional role in the White House, for a longstanding traditional position of “First Lady;” and Lyn St. James, who should be well credited for paving the way for every woman who sets foot on a racetrack.

What are some of your favorite ways to network?
I love LinkedIn – it might be “lurky” and “passive” to some, but for those of us who grew up in the digital generation, it’s perfect. I can look at my degrees of separation from others, call on friends for introductions and get to work. It gets a person looking for new business over the hump of “cold calling,” which never works. I sat in an office as a Marketing Director receiving those calls for years, cringing as I listened to voicemails – all I asked for was to 1) know my business and 2) have credibility by getting to know me. Now I apply that to business – I am friends first, listening and learning their business – and the business will follow. LinkedIn is great for that. Testimonials are also golden to me – happy clients will always recommend to their friends.

Do you have a mentor – if so how did you choose one another?
I have several mentors, depending on the scope of their expertise. It’s hard to have just one, when you have a lot to learn in life! My best “life coach” mentor is my aunt, Jan Ellis. My mentor in motorsports is longtime Cup Series team owner and general manager Eddie D’Hondt. A person I would love to have as a mentor is Krista Voda- in a time in motorsports when women were more on the sidelines, she jumped in as a journalist and pulled no punches…gaining respect on and off the track.

What have you learned from your mentor? What do you hope to learn?
From my aunt – how to listen and make your audience feel like they are the only people in the room, as well as the power of positive energy; and from Eddie D’Hondt, how “sight can cure the blind” daily – that even the most dyed-in-the-wool believers to a theory, can change their minds after you prove your case solidly and without emotion. Just prove results and credibility and respect will follow. I hope to learn consistency – it’ the
one thing as women, I think we all struggle with. Being as passionate as I am, sometimes it’s overwhelming to others to have that level of energy. I learn daily how to “dial up and dial down” that energy meter, based on my audience.

What’s been the most surprising thing that has happened to you so far in your career?
Every day, I wake up wondering what “gift” I will get today. It’s really awesome to have the great things happening that are happening to me – and every day, something greater comes along; whether that be a new connection, a business opportunity, or a “what the heck, why me but I’m flattered” request. When I lived my corporate life, I never considered myself an expert nor someone who had something to offer. Now, owning my own business, I understand the power of knowing your gifts and sharing them to others. The charge now: getting others to realize their gifts too!

What do you do for fun/relaxation?
I love to spend time with my husband and two little girls: Maizie, 5 and Willa, 3. They are both fearless and teach me to get out of my comfort zone. We’re helping to renovate my grandparents’ summer home on the Chesapeake Bay, and I’m having a blast “acquiring things” for their/our education – wakeboards, waterskis, trips to Tangier Island and history education, conservation efforts through the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. It’s such a big world out there, why sit on the couch?

Any parting advice for someone who would like to follow in your footsteps?
Stay open minded, don’t “read your own press releases” and stay humble, don’t limit yourself and find 10 things to repeat to yourself EVERY DAY that will make your business go somewhere. Meaning – 10 affirming statements like, “Every CEO in America will want me advising them.” If you take focused, positive steps towards those statements every day, you will get to your goals. It’s the law of attraction.

How can our readers connect with you?
Please visit my website at – my blog is also available there and has insight on navigating positively through a “tough economy” (which I think is so oxymoronic of a statement – economics are always tough, it’s how you approach with strategy!).

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