Every organization has at least one person who is almost too full of life. A person who you know can cheer you up on a bad day. That one coworker that is always positive and can make you smile when you need it most.
For Brafton’s Boston office, one of those people is Emily Clark.
A Rochester, New York, native, Emily came to Boston after graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2014. She started her career here as a Social Media Specialist before moving over to the Account Management team to take on a Content Marketing Specialist role. Her three-year Braftiversary isn’t until October, but she’s already crushing it as a Senior CMS with a portfolio of happy clients.
Emily loves her work, but her favorite part of Brafton is the people. She often brags that her co-workers are like family and her clients are great too.
26.2 miles of inspiration
When she’s not hard at work developing marketing strategies or helping organize bake sales, Emily is running and training to run a pretty big race. Maybe you’ve heard of it?
The Boston Marathon is 26.2 miles of sheer willpower and dedication. That’s a far run, but Emily has had some practice and she’s ready to give it her all. She’s run a bunch of 5ks and 10ks, a relay race and even a half marathon. But this will be her first full marathon. It’s my second marathon. You know, the second time I’ll be watching a marathon in person.
Now, if you’re thinking the same thing I am, then you also want to know why someone would voluntarily run a marathon. If she’s being honest, Emily says she asks herself the same question. Despite the occasional thoughts of, “Can I do this?” she wants to prove to herself that she 100 percent can actually reach the finish line. Emily knew 2017 was her year after attending the marathon last year, so why not tick this off her bucket list now?
You’d have to be living under a very, very large rock to not know about the Boston Marathon. Emily, along with many others, believes the Boston Marathon is one of the most iconic, well-respected races in the country. After the 2013 bombings, the marathon took on a new, more emotionally charged meaning for nearly every Boston resident.
“I’m honored, in a non-cliché way, that I get to be a part of it all,” Emily says.
While this marathon brings out thousands of people to cheer on the runners, there are four in particular who will be in the crowds on race day that Emily can’t wait to see at the finish line.
“My fiance has been my No. 1 supporter and I love thinking about him at the finish line,” Emily mentions. “My mom, dad and sister are also making the trip to Boston for the big day, and I want to make it beyond worth it for them.”
So, you could say family is a big inspiration for Emily, but there are also so many others things driving her to cross the finish line. Running was how Emily got through a difficult time in her life, and she told me it’s a reminder of how far she’s come and helps her prove to herself that she is healthy and strong. She is chronicling her experience training for the marathon on her personal blog if you’re interested in following her story.
A connection worth running for
Emily is not just running to say she did it. She’s doing it to support Tenacity, a Boston based charity that helps kids in the public school system ready post-secondary school success. When I asked Emily why she picked the charity she did, her answer was simple.
“I really wanted to run for a charity that I felt connected to.”
Emily admits she struggled in middle and high school and she knows those years can stink when you’re going through them. So for a program to be there for support is what she calls amazing. Emily told me she thinks we all could have used that, and I agree.
Not only does Emily feel a deep connection to Tenacity, but she’s had some extra help with training too. A former Brafton employee and Emily’s BFF, Hadley Pendleton, has been by her side through it all. While Hadley is running to support a different charity, the girls train together. They run outside as much as possible but also participate in MyStryde (fun running classes) to keep things interesting.
I got a chance to speak to Hadley recently about training with Emily.
“I literally can’t picture the past three and a half months without Emily. We’re essentially forced to hang out six days a week, which is pretty cool when your training bud is your bestie,” Hadley said.
Through splashing, slipping, huffing and puffing on their way through hundreds of miles ran so far, Hadley said she has especially enjoyed having a front row seat to Emily getting stronger and faster.
As sweet as it is to have a training buddy, it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for Emily. She admits this has been the most mentally and physically challenging thing she’s ever done. If we’re being honest, it’s difficult for me to even think about my dear friend here running 26 miles, but that’s beside the point. Emily is training five days a week and running outside whenever it’s possible. New England weather isn’t always so kind this time of year – or ever, really. Yet, when Emily reaches a new distance, she loves the feeling of knowing it’s the farthest she’s ever run.
Bake sales, candy grams and parties! OH MY!
Along with preparing to run the marathon, Emily has been tirelessly fundraising for Tenacity. Aside from her Girl Scout cookie days, this is her first big fundraising project. With the help of friends and family, Emily was well on her way to reaching her first fundraising goal. Yet once Brafton found out she needed a little extra help, our Fun Committee really adopted it as our own.
Feb. 14 brought a Valentine’s Day bake sale in our Boston office and candy-gram sales in Boston and Chicago, where all the funds went back to Emily. We rounded up our best bakers and cooked up sweet treats for all to enjoy. Our candy-grams were little-packed bags full of candy to pass along to co-workers. At $1 apiece, both were a roaring success.
On March 10, Emily and Hadley hosted a fundraising event at a local bar where they raffled and auctioned off a bunch of awesome prizes to raise money for both their charities.
Friends, families and coworkers braved the snowy evening to celebrate the girls with drinks, appetizers and raffles.
While I did not win the Bruins tickets I wanted so badly, I still had a blast with my co-workers while supporting two amazing girls. Another fundraising event classified as a success.
As the marathon inches closer, Emily says she is very excited but also so nervous.
“I’m feeling more ready every day. It’s game time.”
When asked if she has a goal on what time she wants to finish, she said she doesn’t have a time limit for herself. She just wants to focus on the experience and crossing the finish line.
Anyone in the world can watch the race on April 17, and if you do, look out for a chatty blonde in a red Tenacity team shirt. She will most likely be chatting it up with Hadley for some of the race, but when it’s time to focus up, she says some “hardcore” emo, alternative and rap music will be on her race-day playlist. But the crowd might be a good motivation too.
Brafton is already so proud of Emily for all she has accomplished, in the office and on the road. If Emily’s personality and passion are any indications of how the day will go, we’ll be seeing her at the finish line in no time.
We’re all so proud of you Emily. Here’s a little extra inspiration from your friends and coworkers!
Take every little moment in and remember how far you’ve come thus far. You’re usually the cheerleader for everyone around you, and for once in your life you’ll have thousands of cheerleaders on the sidelines for YOU. You’re going to kill it, Em. – Hadley Pendleton
You’re our own Dory. Always so happy, full of life and inspiration. Just keep running. Em. We’ll be there at the end for you! – Courtney Charroux
You truly put 100 percent into everything you do! Throughout your marathon training, I’ve been impressed by your ability to stay positive and excite others about your fundraising efforts. I know everyone is eager to see your crush it on April 17. Best of luck! – Katelynn Conlon
You are such an inspiration to your Brafton team and everyone you come in contact with! Can’t wait to watch your cross the finish line, you beautiful ray of sunshine. – Cassidy Donovan
Run, Em, run! If your hard work and determination from the past four months is any indication, I know you’ll cross that finish line like the strong BAMF you are. Your Brafton fam will be cheering you on! – Allyson Dilsworth
Emily, you are one of the strongest and most inspiring people I know, and you are going to absolutely kill it! I’m so excited for you, and I can’t wait to cheer you on. I’ll be the person screaming at the top of my lungs, I hope you’re not too embarrassed. 🙂 – Christina Mowry
Your energy astounds me, and your drive and compassion are amazing. You’re one of the few people I’d ever brave the hell of a marathon crowd for. I can’t wait to see you cross the finish line! – Samantha Gordon
If you want to learn more about why Emily is running, check out her fundraising page here.