Everyone knows working with family has its ups and downs. For me, it’s been a positive experience or I wouldn’t be here. I love the National Federation of Professional Trainers and I love working with the family I was born into as well the family I chose. But it hasn’t always been easy.
My dad, NFPT founder Ron Clark, and I are so much alike, we regularly butted heads at work. We are both stubborn and sometimes that meant we couldn’t see eye to eye over NFPT. Thank goodness my sister April Pattee was there to play peacemaker. She has the knack to smooth out communication between Dad and me. It’s always been her superpower.
April’s ability to solve problems with a smile is what makes her so good at helping people. Callers can hear in her voice that she loves her job. She’s here to help with exam questions and to guide people through recertification. If you have a question, she knows the answer. But her role is so much bigger than answering phones. She manages our relationships, all of them, with customers, trainers, vendors and partners.
I naturally gravitate to the back end of NFPT, developing and growing the business often from behind the scenes. At the start I handled advertising. I scheduled NFPT ads with magazines, cycling consistently through about a dozen industry publications. Now, my job is not much different. But instead of magazine advertisements, I’m out there myself, contacting the fitness club owners, the colleges, the workshop instructors and anyone who might have goals that align with those of NFPT. I’d have to say that’s really what gets me going — growing NFPT’s reach.
While I often tell people that my role is to build the relationships for April to manage, the separation of our duties is not always so definite. You can call us the co-owners, CEO and Director of Human Resources or Chief Cooks and Bottlewashers. We don’t care about titles or glory. There’s no pride involved. Both of us will pitch in wherever we’re needed. I do my thing and she does hers, and we trust we can rely on each other whenever we get overwhelmed.
We’re best friends, sisters and business partners. We even vacation together, though our family has to tell us to knock it off when we talk business while we’re supposed to be relaxing. Family isn’t always perfect, but we’re always there for each other. We’re proud that loyalty is reflected in the culture and in the trainer family at NFPT.