About Clark Plexico
Clark Plexico has had a long and keen interest in how leadership is developed and the role of leaders in the successful development and implementation of strategy. Because of his many years living and working internationally, he also understands that culture can impact a person’s approach to challenges and their perspective on how to deal with those challenges.
It all started when…
As a teacher at Iranzamin, the Tehran International School in Iran, Clark taught students from over 45 nationalities. This exposure to different perspectives significantly broadened his own horizons. He lived in Iran for two and a half years, studied Farsi, and took courses in Islamic Philosophy and Middle East History at the Royal Academy of Philosophy and Tehran University. For part of the time he was there he lived with an Iranian family and grew to know and respect Middle Eastern history and culture.
Clark then went into international real estate with a company based in Singapore and Hong Kong. He later started his own company based in London and Hong Kong and for another eight years worked in Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, always taking the time to learn more about the history and cultures of each country.
While living in London, Clark earned his MA (with Distinction) in International Relations from the University of Southern California London Program, adding an academic aspect to an already rich international and multicultural background.
After over a decade of working and living abroad, Mr. Plexico returned to the United States where he became highly involved in state and national organizations. He was elected to four terms in the North Carolina Senate and was Chair of both the Education and the Education Appropriations Committees with responsibility for approximately two-thirds of the state budget. He also was a member of the National Conference of State Legislatures where he served on the Environment Committee, and the Southern Legislative Conference where he was a member of the Education Committee. From his Senate experience, Mr. Plexico gained a full understanding of the workings of legislative bodies, committee work, and constituency service.
After serving as State Senator, Mr. Plexico was selected to be the State President for Law & Government Affairs for AT&T. In his role with AT&T he was responsible for the development and implementation of all public policy initiatives in North Carolina, directed legislative and regulatory advocacy, managed the grass-tops and grass-roots efforts, led the corporate citizenship involvement and directed the company’s philanthropy in the state. He also served as Director of Political Advocacy for the nine-state region, and was the National Corporate Representative to the National Attorneys-General Association.
In 2002, Mr. Plexico left the corporate world to return to his entrepreneurial roots and started International Strategies, Inc. He advised companies, nonprofit organizations, and state trade missions on cultural aspects of conducting business outside of the United States, assisted NGO’s to develop their advocacy efforts, and advised educational organizations on creating a more globally oriented curriculum to reflect 21st century needs. He was Adviser to North Carolina in the World, a project sponsored by the Office of the Governor of North Carolina to increase the state’s international presence and global education efforts. He was also consultant for the NC Center for International Understanding and worked with the NC State Board of Education to globalize the curriculum in North Carolina’s public schools. During this time Mr. Plexico continued to lead and participate in many trade and educational missions throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia and South America.
Mr. Plexico has also been Adjunct Professor in the Political Science Departments of North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina - Asheville, and Western Carolina University. At various times he has been a lecturer for the Great Decisions Program of the Foreign Policy Association.
His board memberships reflect his statewide, national and international involvement as he served as Chair of the Board for the World Trade Center North Carolina, was a board member of the International Affairs Council of the Triangle, Stop Hunger Now, Duke University Fuqua School of Business CIBER Advisory Board, and was a member of the Southern Center for International Affairs and the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). He was also a participant at many global forums both in the United States and abroad.
Having served as Senator, lead public policy advocate for a major corporation, and NGO board member, Mr. Plexico gained a unique understanding of the role of advocacy and how to effectively advocate for an organization’s position on issues. He has successfully advocated on behalf of many organizations and issues, particularly those relating to international education, cross cultural understanding, children and families, environmental protection, and electoral reform.
In partnership with other members of the Society of International Business Fellows, Clark was a founder of the Central Eurasia Leadership Alliance (CELA). This is an ambitious, multicultural initiative, promoting regional cooperation and fostering the development of tomorrow's most forward-thinking, mid-career leaders in the Caucasus, Central Asia, Afghanistan and Mongolia. He was one of the first facilitators, later part of the faculty, and continues to facilitate to this day. From the success of CELA, two sister organizations were established for their respective regions: the Middle East Leadership Alliance (MELA) and the Southeast Asia Leadership Alliance (SEALA). Over the years, Clark has been part of the faculty at MELA and currently serves as facilitator for SEALA, as well as CELA.
In 2009, Clark again took an assignment overseas, and became the Country Director in Uzbekistan for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) for three and a half years. After that he spent another year as Director of Political Processes for NDI in Afghanistan. In those roles he worked with parliament, political party leaders, political party members, election commissions, and civil society organizations. He was also responsible for representing the organization in the diplomatic and international communities. While with NDI Uzbekistan, Clark also conducted several seminars and workshops for candidates, members of parliament and civil society in Kyrgyzstan, and led other communication seminars in Ukraine. He has travelled extensively throughout Central Asia and the Caucasus.
In 2013, Clark accepted a two year assignment to head the efforts of People to People International, a global organization started by President Dwight Eisenhower approximately sixty years ago. In this role, Clark was the lead global advocate for an organization with members in over 100 countries. He led the cross-cultural immersion experience to Myanmar, was the keynote speaker at the European Conference in Albania, and the World-Wide Conference in Taiwan, and visited many PTPI chapters in South Korea, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Switzerland, Germany, Albania, and Taiwan in addition to the United States.
Clark has been based in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam since 2016. In addition to being a speaker at international forums and organizational retreats, he conducts training and seminars in leadership development, cross-cultural communications/negotiations, and advocacy/governance. Clark has worked with hundreds of emerging leaders from over thirty countries on leadership development, and in creating leadership networks throughout Eurasia, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and North America.