W Mark Clark


W. Mark Clark / President and CEO of Pima Council on Aging, who recently received the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arizona Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers

Q: Where were you born?


Q: How did you become interested in your career field?

I grew up in a family of public school educators. Service to the community was a very important value. In college at NAU I started volunteering, something both my parents modeled for my whole life, with the local mental health center. They had a crisis hotline that was completely volunteer operated. That led to me to my first job out of school at a drug abuse treatment agency in Phoenix. From there it has been a great professional life in human services, here in Tucson, in Washington, DC, and Cleveland.

Q: What is the biggest challenge of your job?

These days, it is navigating this COVID environment, completely transforming several of our larger programs like our community lunch program and healthy aging classes, and growing our other programs. All of this while working to keep our workforce safe.

Q: What is the greatest reward of your job?

The knowledge that the places I have worked have made a significantly positive impact on the people and communities we serve.

Q: Do you have any family members in Tucson?

I have one stepson who lives here. My wife has a brother-in-law and nephew (with a family) who live here.

Q: Where would you most like to vacation next — and why?

A: I am looking forward to visiting the Rhine region of Germany. A significant number of my ancestors emigrated from there in the early 1700s. I’ve not been there.

Q: What was the last book you read, and what did you enjoy the most about it?

A: Mayflower: Voyage, Community, War by Nathaniel Philbrick. A couple of years ago I was able to confirm an old family story that my father’s family had a Mayflower ancestor. This book also does a good job of correcting many of the myths that most of us learned as school kids. It is important to have an accurate understanding of our history, both the good and the bad, of which there is a lot.

Q: In 20 words or less, describe your perfect day.

Having an opportunity to take a walk, spend a little time in a museum and share a meal with friends.

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