Business & Entrepreneurship Career Community

Adam Clarke '09

Adam Clarke '09

LinkedIn Profile

1. Tell us about your journey since graduation.
Since graduation, I have become a business owner of 1 Bold Step. It all started when I met my current business partner, Jennifer Jurgens. At the time I was working with CQL and volunteering to plan TEDxGrandRapids. Jennifer had become a client and we stayed connected and continued to volunteer together. Eventually, we sat down to talk about how we wanted to pull each other into the companies we were working for during that time. Jen had recently changed roles and decided to hire me through the company she was working for. As part of the leadership team, we were able to grow that company together. But we had always joked about eventually starting our own company one day. However, that became our reality as we eventually started mapping out where we wanted to be in a 1, 3, and 10-year plan. At the time, we already had clients since we had client contracts separately, but decided to partner and officially launched 1 Bold Step in January of 2019. It was a process, but we had a vision and decided to put a plan in place. All of this started from being clients together volunteering together, working together, and finally deciding we want to start a company together.

2. Share a favorite Grand Valley memory.
My favorite memory while attending Grand Valley happened when I was a part of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization. As a member, we had the opportunity to attend the chapter conference in Chicago. This was a great learning experience where I got to listen to keynote speakers talk about starting businesses and the steps to take in order to be successful. I met the founder of Jimmy Johns, Young Entrepreneurs that had started the business, gave great advice, and connected with classmates that are now lifelong friends. It is amazing how when you align with like-minded people, it helps you grow. Not only have some of my friends helped me in my career but part of that group that went to the conference and were a part of that group are still friends. We’ve built businesses, supported each other, stood up in weddings together, had kids around the same time, hiked, camped, and stayed connected through the years.

3. What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
The best piece of advice I have ever received was during school as I was looking for a job. Someone told me to start networking and meet as many people as possible. They told me that since I was still in school at the time, I should take advantage of saying "I’m a student and trying to learn", and they bet people would share their stories with me and help. Because of this advice and my willingness to expose myself to the world, I was able to sit down and talk to people I would not normally have the opportunity to meet. It was amazing how many people (many successful business owners) were willing to sit down, share thoughts, and help point me in the right direction.

4. List three words you would use to describe your Grand Valley experience.
Relationship-building, Eventful, and Rewarding

5. What difference would you like to make in the world?
A difference I would like to make in the world would be to continue building a lasting, positive impact. I have always been motivated to pursue making a positive impact and leaving things a little bit better. I joined Local First, because it made a positive impact on the West Michigan Economy, and got businesses and consumers to think differently about where they spend their money. During my time at CQL, I was involved in TEDxGrandRapids for five years. The main focus was all about bringing thought leadership into the community and bringing awesome people together, and sharing ideas worth spreading. While at SalesPad, I was on the founding committee that planned MICareerQuest, which has a goal to get students involved with future careers. Over 12,000 students continue to participate in the 1-day event and are there to show students what jobs are available after they graduate. As my career has evolved I’ve joined boards like Ronald McDonald House, planned 100s of events, and raised a lot of money to make a positive impact. All of these things have shaped my goals and aspirations in order to continue this legacy through my marketing agency, 1 Bold Step.

July 2023

Interest Area(s)
Business Administration, Marketing

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Page last modified July 13, 2023