Carine Clark, Banyan CEO

New company slogan: fun, funded, no bad humans.

Carine Clark can be described in many ways. Cancer survivor. Award-winning tech CEO. Traeger Grilling Instagram user. Silicon Slopes board member. Pantsuit extraordinaire. The list goes on and on…

For the sake of time, there’s one term I would like to concentrate on in particular: new CEO of Banyan. Not too long ago, Clark served as CEO at MaritzCX, named the 2016 Utah Entrepreneur of the Year by EY and 2015 CEO of the Year by Utah Business. She stepped down in November 2016 and has been off the business grid, content to workout during the day, perform family history searches, and organize the neglected corners of her house. Clark did attend the occasional board meeting to keep her professional wits sharp but in her words, wasn’t too concerned with what the future held.

“I knew exactly what I was going to do — take some time off, be with my family, and not give one second of concern to what I was doing next,” said Clark. “I had decided my next company would be fun, funded, and that it would have no bad humans. There was no timeframe but I knew that when I saw it, I would know what it was.”

Fun, funded, no bad humans. Slap that on a tee shirt, paint it red, and Banyan just got great idea #1 from their new CEO. During her 8-month hiatus, Clark admits she received multiple offers from various companies but for one reason or another (see: fun, funded, no bad humans), none resonated.

That changed after a phone call with Banyan’s investors, who made a compelling case for Clark to come aboard.

“If you look at my career, I’ve gone from big company to little company, big company to little company, big company to little company,” said Clark. “The pattern says I’m open to a startup, I didn’t think that’s what I’m going to do, but there are a lot of reasons why this makes sense. I love the Banyan team. It’s fun. There are no bad humans. And we’re past the funding that I won’t have to do myself.”

Indeed, Clark’s career path reads like a seismograph — Novell (big company), Altiris (small company), Symantec (big company), Allegiance (small company), MaritzCX (big company), and Banyan.

Now, we should also realize that Clark’s reading of what constitutes a small company — Banyan is currently at 55 employees — is relative, shaped by her career leading outfits both large and not-so-large. By her definition, Silicon Slopes 4-person outfit would register as a pea-sized company and no offense to Carine, but that’s a slogan we will not be putting on a t-shirt.

Relative definitions of large and small aside, Clark is excited for her next step, backed by experience that comes from leading companies of every shape and size.

“Some people prefer working in big companies, some prefer little companies,” said Clark. “I think I’ve proven I can be successful in any size of company. There are different skills for startups, different skills for a small business, different skills for a massive organization. I feel like I have a nice toolbox of skills…I get into a big company and I love the platform, I love that it’s a big megaphone, but I don’t love that I don’t know everyone’s name. I don’t love that people can hide in the organization, that the team can’t see their fingerprints on everything that happens. So I go to a small company and I love that I know everybody. I can solve every problem because it’s just the team, everybody can fit into a meeting space. I have a barbecue at my house and the entire company can fit in my backyard.”

Banyan was started roughly 3 years ago by Tom Clark (no relation to Carine), a marketing solution for small businesses that focused specifically on dental offices. With Carine coming aboard as CEO, she envisions a future for Banyan that extends into many more areas — “The technology and what we do has application across a lot of businesses” — continuing the mission of attracting, keeping, and communicating with customers.

Both Clarks will be joined by Peterson Ventures Managing Director Ben Capell for a Startup Conversation Series on Friday, July 28 at the Salt Mine in Sandy. I’ve seen Carine speak on many occasions — her passion for entrepreneurship and bringing the best out of her employees is contagious. Come, listen, and see what the future holds for Banyan…

“I love to build people, teams, and companies,” said Clark. “I know I’m going to die (at some point) and when you know you’re going to die, you look at what you’ve done and what you’ve left. Your job? That gets filled up. Your house? The law of entropy sets in, it’s going to deteriorate over time. But if you spend time with people, help them grow and realize their dreams, then you’ve made a real difference.”

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