When asked which organizations are closest to her heart, Clair replied, “Whichever one I’m working on at that moment,” with a laugh. She enjoys being President of the Boulder Community Foundation serving Boulder County’s Board because she says the Foundation cuts across all lines, from health and human services to the arts and education. Ultimately though, all of her organizations hold special meaning for her.
And Clair is extremely valuable to them… she has received eight prestigious awards in the past six years. Most recently she received the Community Food Share Lifetime Service Achievement Award and the Girl Scouts Mile High Council Woman of Distinction Award.
A talented fund raiser, Clair raised $1.5 million as the Capital Campaign Co-Chair for Community Food Share, of which she was president. When asked how she accomplished this feat, she replied, “One person at a time.” She asked many generous individuals, corporations and foundations. Her advice: “Get the right people to make the right asks. Ask in person, and keep asking. Day after day of different folks, and you’ll be successful.”
Bank One encourages employees to give back to the community, and Clair plays matchmaker between employees and nonprofits. She helps employees, particularly new employees, to choose which nonprofits to volunteer with. “We have an obligation to give back to the community that supports us,” she said.
Clair could have been pegged as a humanitarian at a very young age. Her earliest memories of volunteering are giving some money to an orphan and trick-or-treating for UNICEF. Later, she became a candy striper and then volunteered with her sorority in college.
Clair says that several people who’ve worked for Bank One have served as her mentors. And she vividly recalls three men who took a chance on her back in 1975 by hiring her at Affiliated First National Bank in Boulder: Tack Browning, Ken Charlton and former Bank President Leo Hill. “They encouraged me to keep moving forward and doing more,” she said. Clair was named president of First National Bank of Louisville at the age of only 30.
Clair’s favorite parts about Boulder are the quality of life, the small town feel, the beauty, and all the caring people who work to keep Boulder special. She also loves the Pearl Street Mall and Boulder’s restaurants.
Her greatest indulgence is lots of exotic travel, Clair says. Some of her favorite travel destinations are Bali, Fiji, Hong Kong and Thailand. Her next big trip is a Mediterranean cruise to Greece, Spain and Italy, and a trip to Margarita Island and Venezuela.
In the future, Clair would like to spend more time in Sanibel Island and in her home in Ouray. She’d like to travel more, eat more chocolate and have more time for nonprofits.
Clair says that volunteering keeps her cheerful because taking action makes her feel like she’s helping. She says, “If you help, it makes your heart sing, and it’ll come back to you in spades.”
What is your motto?“Happiness isn’t having what you want, but wanting what you have.”
Who is your hero and why? John Sackett, the CEO of Avista Hospital. He is smart, kind and lives a deliberate life boldly, despite having cystic fibrosis.
What is the quality you most value in people? Brainpower and a sense of humor
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Raising the money to build the Community Food Share building, being named president of a small bank at a very young age, and my husband putting up with me for nearly 30 years
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Not having self-esteem, not knowing how to read, being hungry... when you work with nonprofits, you see lots and lots of misery.
What is the best advice you have ever received? Buy low, sell high.
Which social event is your favorite? The EFA Celebration event, Pizazz, Community Hospital Fashion Show, Community Foundation's Community Stars event, Razzle Dazzle...etc.
Do you have any pets? Golden retriever and fish in the pond out back
What is the greatest gift you have ever received? My mom gave me her wedding and engagement rings.
What one word describes you best? Annoying
What words would you like others to use to describe you? Smart, funny, philanthropic
What was your first job? I worked in the family’s leather and lace manufacturing business throughout my youth. My real (nonfamily) job was scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins in high school.
Favorite clothing stores? Chicos, Coldwater Creek
Favorite restaurant? Flagstaff House and La Familia
What word or expression do you use too much? “The truth is stranger than fiction.”
If there were one thing you would change about yourself, what would it be? I’d be a scratch golfer, more patient, and more into looks.
When you move, what will your home tell its next owner about you? “STAND BACK... you are in for a bumpy ride!”
Which talent would you most like to have? The ability to iron
What is your current state of mind? Deranged, but at peace
What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Looks
Saturday night at midnight is most likely to find you…? Definitely asleep