Do what you love and never work again in your life, or that’s what they say. Many of us have had the thought of leaving our career to pursue our passion, but something always holds us back. For the majority, it’s the fear of the unknown that keeps us in the same position.
Dominique Clark, wife of Wesley Clark, and mother of two stunning little girls, Zara Rae(4) Zoë Drew (7), pushed past that fear and left her job at Duke University as a Clinical Research Coordinator, to follow her calling and become a Certified Matchmaker and Relationship Coach.
Since then she has added many additional titles to her name including, Digital Strategist, Entertainment Journalist, Radio Host, On-Camera Host, and Author and we can’t leave out child of God, as she attributes most of her success to Him. WayToParent had the chance to score an exclusive interview with Dominique where she shared her journey and the amazing life experiences she has encountered since making the decision to follow her dreams. Here’s a recap of our interview with the phenomenal Dominique Clark:
How did you realize what your passion was and what led you to pursue it?
A. I always thought I would become a doctor, however I changed my mind while deciding if I should attend PA school after receiving my acceptance letter. I realized I was surrounded by all these incredible medical professionals who had devoted their lives to academics and career success but when it came to love, they sucked. They were socially awkward and didn’t know how to date.
They had invested so much time into their career that their social life took a hit.They admired my relationship with my husband and often asked how we were able to maintain our relationship for so many years. They wanted to know how I did that, so I started (just for fun) creating online profiles for them, and connecting some of them on the job. I realized that I was spending more time doing that than the actual job that I was getting paid to do. My boss even commented on how good I was at matchmaking. People started referring me to their colleagues and I was literally at a point where I had to decide whether I was going to pursue this career in relationships or continue to pursue medicine.
My mom told me I was gifted and that the gifts and talents God had given me far exceeded the four walls I found myself in. I realized I had way more impact in helping people to see themselves in the way they should be seeing themselves and realizing the value they had to offer someone in a relationship outside of just their careers. I was also very good at connecting people and being able to determine who was appropriately aligned with each other. I knew that I had to be legit if I was going to do this as a career. I became a certified Matchmaker and Relationship Coach at the Matchmaking Institute in NY. I went on to get my MBA where I learned to market my business and scale it.
What are some of the barriers you faced while pursuing your dreams?
A. I started Matchmaking when I was in my early twenties, so I had to really prove myself and get people to trust that I knew what I was talking about. I accomplished this by getting them to see that if I was successful at creating my own healthy love story then I could also do it for other people.Another barrier was dealing with men who were very superficial. I would get a lot of men that would say “I’ll participate if the women look like you,” but that became a problem when I set someone up and they didn’t look like me. I had to get my clients to look beyond what they thought I could bring and just be open to connecting with a person with great integrity and great intentions when it came to love and relationships. I had to be honest with myself about who I wanted to work with, and it wasn’t about the dollar, but the character and integrity of the person and if their intentions were well. It wasn’t about if they could pay well or if they were good looking.
How do you balance being a family woman along with having a job that requires so much of your time?
A. I can’t do any of this without the support of my family. They give me the space to do what I feel like God has called me to do. My children and my family are always first, ESPECIALLY my man. I don’t believe in balance per say, whatever needs to take precedence at the time takes precedence.Another thing about me is that I bring my family with me. My husband is my official camera guy, and if I have a set I bring my girls with me. I try to incorporate them in everything that I do so that they know they are a part of the journey and not just witnesses to it. I don’t know about balance but I prioritize and make sure that my family is included in everything I do.
What does a Matchmaking experience with you look like?
A. When people sign up to work with me, we start with internal coaching. I’m partnered with Nordstrom in different cities, so they will meet with my personal shoppers at Nordstrom and they’ll help to develop an external look that matches who they really want to be. They do the makeup, the hair, and we do professional photo shoots. This is so when I am marketing them I’m presenting them in the best light. The best thing about my team is that they don’t make them look like someone else. I don’t want them to feel like, “Oh my God I have to get a makeup artist to go on this date because I don’t look the same.” They naturally enhance what they already have, and they teach them how to replicate the look themselves.When you sign up with me I’m not just helping you get a man, I’m helping you get over your limited beliefs. I’m helping you tap into your self worth so when you show up in the dating world or in life you’re unapologetic, you’re fearlessly asking for and expecting for what you want, and you see life and love from a place of abundance as opposed to a place of scarcity, because you believe you’re worthy of love.
What has been the peak of your career so far?
A. I would have to say the things I’m doing in the media space now. Everything I did as a Matchmaker and Relationship coach led me here. The person who published my book was a radio host, and she said to me “Dominique I feel like you have such a great message and people need to hear it, how do you feel about doing radio?” I don’t have a radio, broadcasting, or communications background but I decided to be flexible and go with it. That’s how I ended up having my own radio show in Atlanta. The experience made me realize I was passionate about something I had no idea I was even good at. It gave me the opportunity to tap into another gift God had given me. It also allowed me to reach more people. It went from the radio to the red carpet, sitting down with celebrities and interviewing them. That is the highlight, realizing that we are multifaceted people and that God didn’t send us here to just do one thing. I’ve only been doing the media part for the last 3 years, but I’ve interviewed some of the most amazing people.
Tell us about your book, “She’s Valuable But Does She Know It.” What inspired you to write this?
A. This book was motivated by my relationship and matchmaking business. I realized the women I worked with could tell me about their professional successes, their value and assets from a professional stance but personally they couldn’t do the same. The first question I ask anyone when they consult with me is “Why you, what makes you valuable, and what value do you add to a relationship?” They often struggled to articulate “This is why I’m valuable, this is why I’m worthy.” So I realized I needed to create something, write something as a guide to help women know that not only are you valuable but you matter and you’re enough. This inspired me to write the book, and with it I started leading talks across the country to predominantly women audiences talkin with the theme of self worth, self value, and self love. I host a She’s Valuable College Tour each Fall where I talk to young women at HBCU colleges about understanding their worth because this is the time when they are most susceptible to conforming and trying to figure out who they are and what they want to do in the world, so it’s really important for me to set the foundations and plant those seeds.
If your career progresses as you’d like, what will be the next step in your career?
A. I started with Sheen Magazine as a journalist and was a cohost for their Kemmi Awards. While working with them I created a relationship column for them that continues today.I’ve also done work for BET AWards and TV One, Boss Magazine, Radio One, American Black Film Festival, just to name a few. I was scheduled to be at the Stellar Awards but it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
What advice would you give women who are trying to figure out what their passion is? A. Even though there are things we may not have experience with, we should show up, because we never know what God has in store for us, or where he wants to take us. It’s about saying yes to being available.