Obsidian Spotlight: Claire Clark
Updated: Jul 26, 2021
Claire was born and raised in Granville, NY in the beautiful Adirondacks on the Vermont border. She was the youngest child with two older brothers and two sisters.
She started college in Johnson, VT for Sports Medicine hoping to become a Physical Therapist. Her oldest sibling Jil, was running a computer camp at Castleton State College in VT and offered Claire a job as a camp counselor with the requirement of acting as a primary care-giver to a quadriplegic camper named Rodney. She said this would be good training for the PT focus. Jil’s only stipulation was that Claire had to take the computer classes too so this was the catalyst in her life of technology.
23 years later Claire completed her BS through Franklin Pierce University in NH, primarily through remote classes in Virginia after moving from NH to VA in 2000 with her then husband and three young sons. She has worked in many areas of the Federal Government through several companies commuting three hours a day to Northern Virginia sites, but has happily landed close to home contracting with FEMA as a SharePoint Administrator.
What has been one of your proudest moments while working with Obsidian? When a user feels heard and compliments me on my demeanor I really feel proud. I evolved into this tech world from a customer service and help desk background, and realize not everyone can assist users with empathy and compassion. None of us come into this world knowing this stuff and egos must be set aside to best serve others. There are so many new elements in our FEMA environment and working remotely for the last 18 months has been especially challenging for folks so they appreciate a little and hand holding and personal interaction. I am in awe of those parents who have worked remotely with young children home all that time, homeschooling and dealing with being the family network technician to keep everyone healthy and on line.
What is your role at Obsidian? I am a Share Point Administrator supporting a FEMA contract for their Intranet and Microsoft 365 cloud environment. I had worked on the contract for 3 1/2 years through another company and the role was primarily Intranet support. Since migrating to Microsoft 365 and deploying MS Teams last March 2020, we are now supporting the entire Office 365 suite at some level, including InfoPath, MS Forms, Teams, OneDrive, OneNote, Teams Planner, PowerBI reporting tool and an ever evolving plethora of released apps from MS. We have just activated Microsoft Power Platform throughout our FEMA tenant and are now supporting PowerApps and Power Automate (formerly called Flow).
What question would you like to ask our CEO? Did you choose the name Obsidian for the company? I love the definition I found online. “A strongly protective stone, Obsidian forms a shield against negativity, providing a grounding cord from the base chakra to the center of the Earth. It absorbs negative energy from the environments and blocks psychic attack and negative spiritual influences. Obsidian brings clarity to the mind and clears confusion.”
If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor? Oprah Winfrey- although she doesn’t know it, she is my mentor and has been for decades.
Fill in the blank: I once met… Marilu Henner who played Elaine on the TV show Taxi. Our family loved watching it together (my parents were from NY City and my Dad was a taxi driver for a few years, so the humor and accents were always a welcome laugh to us all. She was really cute and fun and is still working in theater in NYC.
What is your favorite way to spend the weekend? Noodling (Pool noodle for floatation while trading water) in the lake gabbing with friends over a cocktail and snacks. It’s a tiny bit of exercise and you can cool off while getting a little vitamin D.
What are your 3 favorite bands/artists? What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to? Dave Matthew’s Band, RadioHead, and a tie between Aretha Franklin & Stevie Wonder. The most fun concert was at Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA) to see The Dave Mathews Band and John Mayor. My close friend Topher was an “Ants Marching” fan member and got front row tickets, then we snuck the rest of our posse up to the front with us so we could all dance and sing together all night.
What is the last book you read? I don’t love to read, but love to be read to so I have an Audible subscriptions and have always loved podcasts & audiobooks (formerly known as books on tape). What Happened to you by Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Bruce Perry. They are working to change the narrative of what’s wrong with you to what happened to you; Excellent book for anyone. A close second would be Tribe by Sebastian Junger - I really feel the COVID pandemic was here to teach us the principles in this book.
What ranks number one on your bucket list? Travel!!! I want to see and do it ALL. We learn so much from other cultures through their traditions, politics, food and lifestyle and it helps remove the fear of the unknown. Prejudice is caused from fear, so it’s really the only way to world peace in my belief.
What advice do you wish you could give your younger self? Be kind to yourself Claire. You don’t have to be everything to everyone and self care is not selfish. Yoga taught me this. Namaste~