Profile - Cathy Clark

The ups and downs of meetings

In Random Profile, we interview a stochastically selected staff member about his or her life at the office—and outside of it.

Staff Notes: You work as staff manager for JOSS. Tell me about your job.

Cathy: Most of what I do is assign and monitor work that comes in from funders—NOAA and NSF. I supervise seven administrative assistants and event planners. I assign work to different people depending on what the project entails and people’s skills, abilities, and schedules. I take care of issues that come up and answer questions for staff so they can get back to our funders.

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Cathy Clark

Staff Notes:How did you get into this position?

Cathy: I’ve been in JOSS for 12 years. About six years ago, JOSS created the position I’m in now. I started as an administrative assistant, and then they created the meeting planner position and moved us into that. I loved being a meeting planner because of the challenge of it. You’re thinking on your feet continually and you never know what kind of emergencies are going to come up on site—everything from flooding in the ladies’ room to equipment that doesn’t work in a meeting room with 1,100 people. And things like being in a city where you haven’t been before, in a rental car in the dark in the rain looking for a hotel— they keep your adrenaline up and make it fun.

Staff Notes: What do you like best about your job?

Cathy: I like it when our people come back from meetings and they’re pumped because it was a good meeting and everything went the way they hoped it would, and they’ve gotten some feedback from the funders that possibly there will be other meetings coming up in the future because we did so well. I also really like it that JOSS is an office that collaborates with scientists so that they can gather and focus on what a meeting is all about. We’re in the background doing all the logistics so that they don’t have to think about them.

Cathy Clark

Staff Notes: What is most challenging?

Cathy: Right now, getting funding to go through. Things have changed in Washington, D.C. We have new staff at NOAA and NSF who we’re working with, because a lot of the people we’ve worked with over the years are retiring. Since we’re totally on soft money, keeping current funders happy and looking for new sources of income are some other parts of my job.
Staff Notes: Let’s talk about your life outside work. What do you do for fun?

Cathy: I do old-lady stuff like quilt. I garden, and I love to hike. I love being outdoors—the smell, the sunshine, the feel of it. I’m also heavily into barbershop chorus and have watched a couple of international competitions. My brother and sister are professional musicians, and we were raised with a lot of music. I play the piano and I’m trying to learn the dulcimer.

Staff Notes: Where did you grow up?

Cathy: I grew up in Wisconsin near Lake Geneva. My family all lives in Wisconsin and Minnesota. I travel back once or twice a year. I have two kids, and three grandchildren who I am just now introducing to “Walter the Farting Dog” books.

Staff Notes: What brought you to Colorado?

Cathy: When I turned 50, I loaded up a truck with all my stuff and put my car on a trailer and moved out here and stayed with a friend for a few months until I found a place. It’s been the best thing I ever did. I love it here—I feel like there was divine intervention. And I got this job, which is the best job I’ve ever had.

Staff Notes: And where do you live now?

Cathy: Longmont. I just finished painting the inside of my house and having landscaping done.

Staff Notes: Any big plans on the horizon?

Cathy: When I retire, I want to go to Japan. When I was in high school we had a student from Japan live with us. I’ve kept in close contact with her but I’ve never gone to visit.