Carine Clark: Celebrating Cancer

Wed May 25 09:00:58 EDT 2022
Episode 180

At 48 years of age, Carine Clark was given a 20 percent chance of surviving ovarian cancer. But Carine wasn’t ready to be done—she didn't know it, but she had yet to become one of the first female chief executives of a Utah tech company and would later be named “Utah Business” magazine’s CEO of the Year. What Carine did know is that she had two sons that she really wanted to raise after she struggled with infertility for years. So Carine gave cancer everything she had to give—and she’s still here. On this week’s episode, Carine explains why her cancer diagnosis is worth celebrating with her family each year, and how her faith has played an integral role in her journey.

When things don’t go your way, you gotta say thank you.
Carine Clark

Episode references:
Articles about Carine

Fireside with Carine:

Carine on Latter-day Saint MBA podcast

Carine on Whitney Johnson's Disrupt Yourself podcast

All In episode with Rebecca Hirschi

Show notes:
2:28- Celebrating the Day of Diagnosis
4:43- Everything In Extremes
8:28- Part of the 20 Percent
11:31- “Pre-Worry” and Pre-existence
15:03- Making Promises
22:27- The Master’s Plan
27:18- Not Wasting Cancer
29:38- A Sacrifice of Time
35:14- “He Will Never Enable Us To Be Weak”
37:54- Knowing You’re Going To Die
42:23- What Does It Mean To Be All In the Gospel of Jesus Christ? 


Morgan Jones Pearson 0:00

Carine Clarke is a very funny person, a very smart, very successful yet very funny person and I appreciated her humor even more listening back to this episode while marking edits. She is so funny that she makes an episode about ovarian cancer feel positive and upbeat. But Carine Clark's battle with cancer was no joke. She was 48 years old when she was told that she had a 20% chance of survival. As she told Deseret News, "I had worked for 20 plus years to build a brand and a presence, something I really enjoyed and was proud of. And I had worked 22 years to raise my two kids. And now I have to face the possibility that I exit stage left?" But Carine refused to exit the stage without a fight. In fact, she's still on stage today. Carine Clark is currently a venture partner with Pelion ventures, but she is a former three time president and CEO of high growth tech companies specializing in helping companies scale from $100 million to 100 million and more. She serves on the board of directors of Domo, the executive boards of the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development and Silicon Slopes, a nonprofit helping Utah's tech community thrive. She has received numerous awards including the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Utah region, and Utah Business Magazine CEO of the Year. This is All In, an LDS Living podcast where we ask the question, what does it really mean to be all in the gospel of Jesus Christ? I'm Morgan Pearson, and I am so honored to have Carine Clark on the line with me today. Carine, welcome.

Carine Clark 1:45

Thank you so much for asking me to share some time with you.

Morgan Jones Pearson 1:49

Well, I am so excited about this and grateful to. I'll give my friend Kim Carlile a little shout out for connecting the two of us. Kim is one of the world's greatest. And I'm so excited to talk with you. I'll tell you I wrote a handful of stories I used to write for the Deseret News and I wrote a handful of stories about people that were battling cancer. And the interesting thing is we did one episode of this podcast with someone who had cancer but was already on hospice and ended up passing away. And she was incredible. And it was a remarkable episode. But I don't think we've really done much outside of that. And so I'm excited today to talk with you about the things that you learned from your journey with cancer. But every year your family celebrates a day in your life and in their lives as well. I wondered if we could start out you could take me back to that day. Tell us what it was like. And then as the episode progresses, hopefully we'll see why that day is worth celebrating. And spoiler alert, it is not the day that you found out that your cancer was in remission.

Unknown Speaker 3:00

That's right. So a lot of people celebrate the day that they either finished their last chemo, they celebrate the day or they got the news that they're cancer free. They celebrate the day that you know that they don't have to worry about cancer anymore. Heads up. There's never a day that you don't have to worry about cancer anymore. We celebrate the day that I was diagnosed, which is January 20 of 2012. So this year is my 10th anniversary, and I'll tell you a little bit later about what we're doing for that. But my oldest son got married a few years ago, and we were celebrating this January 20th [and] she said it's a little weird to me that the day that you were diagnosed, and for us it was like why would that be weird? And she was uncomfortable with it because it just, it's just odd. And she is the lovely Rachel and I said, "Rachel, January 20th of 2012 is the day that the world changed for this family. Because when you get cancer, especially when you have no cancer in your family, and you don't even think about cancer, it changes your lens. And so I did 18 months of chemo, and when you think you're gonna die for more than 18 months, it changes you forever. And it makes you a better person because I already know I'm gonna die. And so I live differently. And I feel like if that cancer comes back, I will have done everything that I wanted to do. I don't want it to come back. But you know, I am a person of tremendous faith. And still I want to be here as long as I can because you know, I want to pick my kids' spouses and I want to have that, you know, influence in the lives of people that I care about. But that day was a really big day for us.

Morgan Jones Pearson 4:52

So as I was preparing for this interview, I listened to a couple of different podcasts that you were on and I also listened to a talk that you recently gave that was on YouTube. And you said something where you said "I do everything in extremes." And I think that that might kind of set the stage for who you are, your background, where you're coming at this from. So what do you mean by that? And how do you think that doing everything in extremes speaks to what you've been able to accomplish in your life up to this point?

Unknown Speaker 5:25

I don't think it occurred to me that side of me before that I have this extreme personality. I think I'm a catastrophizer or it's always the worst case that's going to happen. And I was talking to my son about it. Oh, my gosh, I am so extreme and everything. He's like, Mom, have you ever missed a flight? And I'm like, No. I'm a 3 million miler, by the way. I have never missed the flight. Not one flight in my life. He said, Because Mom, you get there so early. Opportunity favors you. Because you're always so prepared. You've always thought of everything. And he said, Have you ever been pickpocketed? Have you ever been robbed? I'm like, No. And he said, Because you always wear your purse on the inside of your jacket. Like your whole life is extreme so it's okay. My first bike race I rode 75 miles. I mean, truly, when I got the diagnosis, my protocol was two cancer drugs every three weeks for six months. No, no, no, I found one that was three cancer drugs every single week for six months, and then one drug every 21 days for a year. Oh, yeah, sign me up for 18 months. So I now know that about myself. And I celebrate the fact that I'm not afraid to just really do hard things. And it's probably, it's part of my DNA apparently.

Morgan Jones Pearson 6:49

Well, when you say when you were talking before we got on this interview, Carine was telling me about how her son was recently doing the home MTC. And she said she crushed the home MTC, which I think also speaks to this.

Unknown Speaker 7:03

Crushed it. And I want everyone to know, I'm the first female president of the home MTC and my son said, "Mom, I'm gonna have three mission presidents by the time I get back." I'm like, "oh, no, young elder, you have four because mom was the president of the home MTC and I dominated it." So you know, and I think extreme personalities are tough for some people. But you know, this is pretty much who I am. One of my celebrations this year is that I'm riding my bicycle. I don't look good on it. But I still show up. I'm riding my bicycle for Huntsman Cancer, which is the cancer hospital that I did all my treatment and I love the culture that they've built. They saved my life. And you need to commit to raise $500 for Huntsman to be on the Huntsman Hometown Heroes team and I proudly wear that jersey. So Morgan, I'm supposed to raise 500. To this day and the race isn't for another month. I've raised $83,455. It's extreme. My goal is 100,000. And I'm gonna get there. But I think the next the next team, team, or person closest to me is like 4,000 for a team, 2,000 for individual riders. So I'm not bragging. I'm just saying when I got to bring it, I bring it. And I have a lot of really great people who've been generous and kind and all I asked for was $10 from my friends. And I just want to be the goat of all fundraising for Huntsman so...

Morgan Jones Pearson 8:36

Amazing. You shared a few things previously about your reaction to learning that you had cancer. Tell me a little bit about what that was like when you first found out that you had cancer.

Unknown Speaker 8:49

So the cancer that I had was ovarian cancer, there's no indicators, there's no tests, there's no way to know that you have cancer, just that you don't feel great. Evidence of that is that 60% of brand new, all new ovarian cancer patients are stage three. So it's not a disease that people survive. Typically, it's just a horrible, awful disease. And so I actually had an ovarian cyst rupture. And so they thought that's what the problem was. But it turns out, this is one of God's tender mercies to me is that behind the ovarian cysts, there was a massive tumor that had also ruptured. So that horrible cyst ended up saving my life. And I also had cancer of the appendix which like I said, Why gotta be extreme all the time. And so when I was at the my Regional Medical Center, they said, We got to send you up to Huntsman in a medical transport because you know, if it's cancer, they know what to do. If it's not cancer, they know what to do. So I'm in a ambulance, I'm going to Huntsman, I'm going to have surgery. And so finally after surgery and everything when they come back and say you have cancer is bad, I'm like I have cancer like I'm so shocked and I'm already at Huntsman Cancer. You know, I think we, I think we have to process things. And we don't believe it until it's true. So when I got the diagnosis, it's awful to watch your husband or your parents get that news because it feels like a death sentence for a lot of people. And so I asked the doctor, what's my survival rate? And he said, I'm not going to tell you. And I said, I actually have the internet in my hand. So why don't you just tell me? He said, most people don't survive, but your survival rate's 20%. And I was like, huh, I have these two dudes that I worked really hard to get here. And my sons are 17 and nine at the time, and I am still raising my husband. So I didn't feel like I could actually leave. I turned to the doctor who I just barely met and said, Okay, what do I have to do to be part of the 20%? Or the new 21? And he's like, why aren't you curled up in a ball sobbing uncontrollably on the ground? I'm like, dude, is that gonna help me get better, because I'm a vision and a plan person, my vision? Not die. My plan? Do everything to not die. And it was so curious to him. So fast forward, we're great friends now. He said, your oncologist and I, we knew, we knew this was going to be different. We knew that we were going to be in for a ride with you, because you took it head on, and you didn't let it control you. And you didn't follow anyone else's script, you decided I'm gonna take this on my own terms.

Morgan Jones Pearson 11:38

So cool. I think one thing that struck me that you said, you talked about how, and obviously you have a great sense of humor. And so I love the way you said, I'm not even going to start thinking about the second wife. I think that that like legitimately is something that a lot of us do. You mentioned earlier, like being somebody that jumps to worst case scenario, I'm also the same way. And one thing I found when I'm going through something hard, is I will like mourn things that haven't even happened yet. Right? So with you, how did you turn that off? Like, how were you able to not think about those things?

Unknown Speaker 12:17

So it's really hard. And I had a lot of help. So I have this concept in my brain, called a pre-worry, you know, because we like to pre-worry. And then I actually worry, and then I got post-worry, right? And if you pre-worry, it doesn't mean you have less worry at the actual time. So it's a waste. And for me, I could see despair on the horizon. Like I could see, I don't want to die this way. I want to die saving a child from a burning building. I don't want to die from a horrible, horrible cancer that, like people don't like to talk about, that most people don't even know a survivor of ovarian cancer. Most people don't know someone who's had it. So I could see despair. Like, I worked really hard to get these two boys here. They told me I'd never have any children. And I'm like, okay, that's like a really long time. And oh, by the way, nothing's hard for God. But thank you so much. So now I have them here. And then I'm gonna die? And I've worked really hard my whole life to save money, food storage, and I've done everything right. And now I'm going to be like off the ride? And so while I could see despair on the horizon, it never got to me. It never came close to me. And I think because it's hard to describe to people, but the moment that I knew that it wasn't going to get to me, I didn't know I was gonna live. I just had...it felt like there were these angels around me that were lifting me up. And I was more curious about who they were than the fact that that there was this influence that I couldn't describe or explain to anyone. And I was like, Are these my relatives? Are these people I work for? Are these people that owe me something like I was just curious about it. And what's weird is like, I have something in the back of my brain that's like a memory of a life before or after that I can't really articulate but it felt so normal. And I was lifted at that moment. And I realized I am going to be just fine. Not that I'm going to live. But that, like I said I'm a person of tremendous faith and it was time to use that faith and it was time to not ask God why me? For me, I felt that I had seen everything that was going to happen in my life, that I saw every challenge and every awful thing and I was like, Yeah, I can do that. And I might have said, I might have said to God, "Look, I'm the best person in my family to have cancer so give it to me. Do not give it to my sons, do not give it to my husband, do not give it to my mother, do not give it to my father, like, give it to me." So when I decided that then all of a sudden it was all mine. And I was going to be grateful for it. And I was gonna use it. I wasn't gonna waste it.

Morgan Jones Pearson 15:12

You mentioned your sons, and you mentioned you fought really hard to get them here. We just recently had an episode on this podcast about infertility. And just like how all-encompassing that journey can be. And so you did all of that, you got them here, and then you find out you have cancer. And I was impressed by the way that you worked so hard to kind of protect your sons from seeing you with cancer, they never saw you in the hospital, they never saw you throw up, you fought super hard to keep your hair which some people told you wasn't possible. Why were those things so important to you?

Unknown Speaker 15:58

So when when someone in your household has cancer, it's sucks all the oxygen out of the house. All of a sudden you hear it on TV, you see it all of a sudden, everybody tells you about their cancer stories where people didn't survive. And so I did not want my children to be dragged through the dark swamp of everything. In the late 90s, my father was diagnosed with a brain tumor. And it was just so shattering for the family. Because here's a colonel, retired colonel in the army who was a combat guy, who went to Vietnam two times. And now all of a sudden, he can barely speak and walk and everything's changed. So he had surgery. Thankfully, he survived it. But when he came out of surgery, I was in ICU with my siblings. And here's this giant of a man who's got all these bolts and drills in his head, he's all white from the surgery, it's a freak show picture. And so my nightmare when I wake up in the middle of the night, like in cold sweats, it's that image. And so I never want to give my kids that image, they don't need to see the awful part of cancer where I'm hooked up to IVs, where I can't keep any food down, they do not need to see that to understand how serious it is. I need them to be boys, I need them to make sure and clean up their room. My older son was 17 and took me 11 years to get him, brilliant man. And he's like, Mom, don't worry, I am going to find a cure for ovarian cancer. And I'm like, Oh, buddy, thank you so much. But I just need you to graduate from high school and stay on your path. My younger son was a survivor of a set of triplets. He's like, Mom, don't die. Don't leave me with dad. And he's like, You have to promise, promise, promise. And I'm like "My son, I love and adore you. I cannot promise you that I will not die. But I can promise you that no human will fight harder, I can promise you that I'm going to show you what it means to stand up for something really awful with guts and with grace and with tenacity. Because someday you're going to have something really awful. And I'm gonna show you how to do it. And if I don't survive this, you will be okay. But I won't lie to you." And so we had this conversation almost every night when I put him in bed, because he just needed to feel like he had some control. So I don't need them to see the dark underbelly of it. Some people actually said to me, you're not doing your kids a service by shielding them from this. And I'm like, I'm the mom of these two amazing humans. I get to decide that not you.

Morgan Jones Pearson 18:45

Yeah, well, I thought the story about you know, how diligent you were in those hair treatments was just so impressive. Like regardless of how you feel about whether or not to shield somebody from cancer, to work that hard for something that you believe in, I think is inspiring.

Unknown Speaker 19:08

Well, and that wasn't vanity, though. People think it was vanity. No, no, no, I didn't want my son's friends. Like they had these little friends to say to them, dude, why is your mom bald? Like I don't need them to explain that I want to fight it privately. And when you're a six foot bald woman, everyone knows you have cancer. And people try to be very kind and gracious, but everyone treats you like you're dead. And I didn't want that. I didn't need that. I want to fight this. And I wanted to win something. So to have my hair. I won something over cancer like it didn't win.

Morgan Jones Pearson 19:44

Yeah. Which I think is rad. One of your sons left on a mission while you were going through treatments and you made him promise that if you were to pass while he was gone that he would not come home. Tell me a little bit about that.

Unknown Speaker 20:01

So my son, I said brilliant human, you know, won the state science fair at 15, lots of scholarships, just this amazing, amazing person in how he looks at the planet. And it had always been his goal to go on a mission, he had been really clear about that. He gets his mission call to Taipei, Taiwan, Mandarin speaking. It's exciting. It was just after the Church had changed the age for young men, young women to go on missions. So you know, he's ready to go. And we're getting his visa figured out, we're getting all the paperwork. And he's like, Mom, what do I do if the Second Coming happens while I'm on my mission. And I'm like, oh, gosh, with him. It's always the unasked question. So it really wasn't about the Cecond Coming. He was about what do I do if you die? So I said, buddy, if the Second Coming happens while you're on your mission, just do whatever the mission president tells you. But if I die while you're on your mission, you don't come home. He's like, Mom! I'm like, buddy, you don't come home. Because I've already listed in my well who my pallbearers it's not you or your brother, I'm having my brothers and my band members, bury me, you do not need to be here to put me in the ground. You need to be the best missionary and you need to live your life. And he's like, I can't promise that I'm like, No, here's the deal, I need you to promise that I need you to pinky swear, promise me that you will not come home. So it took him a few days. And then he came back and said, Mom, okay, I promise that I will not come home. And it was important for me that this didn't disrupt his life forever, because I think he wouldn't have gone back if he had to come home. And so I felt so strongly about that I wrote the Mission President a letter and said, you're getting a great missionary, you're welcome. But you need to understand that here's the situation. And if I don't survive this, you don't send this boy home, you let him be sad for like a day. And then you get his big butt out there and keep him working. And so thankfully, I didn't die. But every time we talked, so back then it was Mother's Day and Christmas Eve, he would want me to get really close to the Skype camera so that he could see if I had eyebrows because he knew I would never tell him if it came back. And he wanted to know. So I think that it also lets me feel like I had a little bit of control from the grave of you know how I wanted him to take his life head on.

Morgan Jones Pearson 22:36

Carine, you had some powerful experiences, while battling cancer that you've talked about helped you see that God was aware of you. And I loved how you talked about how you had a master plan. But you had to realize that the Master had a plan. And that plan is often or always better than our plan. I wondered if you'd be willing to share any of those experiences that that made you aware of God's awareness of you.

Unknown Speaker 23:08

So there were so many miracles along the way that you don't think about, right. And you know, I'm one of those people that believes the atonement paid for everything. So it already paid for my cancer. I believe that God loves us, and He wants us to be happy. And I think that we build our lives, we have this master plan, like we're gonna do this by this age, and we're gonna get married in the temple, we're gonna have children, we're gonna do all these things. But I realized that the only master plan is the Master's plan. And He has a plan for us. And we have to trust Him, because it's never a straight line. So I'll give you an example. When I knew that they had to remove this tumor. They put me in this transport. I went up to Huntsman, I got there at nine o'clock at night. They're like Mrs. Clark, we're going to take you into surgery first thing, and I was like, This is proof that God loves me. And he wants me to be happy because I'm one of the 12 people that has done everything he asks. And so I have the Fastpass, I had my checkbook of like a rate of pay, because I wanted to get this alien out. I wanted to get the plan to get better. And so I told my husband Yeah, don't come up in the morning get the boys off to school. I totally got this, you know, I'll be fine. So they roll me down there really early in the morning. And at Huntsman the surgical centers are all at the University of Utah. So you gotta go through like the bowels of the parking lot and everything, it's weird. I think they fixed it. But I'm on my way to the O R. And I'm in the pre-stage area, and they're walking in, I'm being rolled in. And this woman comes out and she's like, No, no, no, take her back. Take her back, take her back. We can't take her I'm like, no, no, no, no, I'm next. One of God's people is next. And she's like, Oh, no, no, you have to go back. We can't take you. And I was so bugged, because it's like my expectations were set. I didn't sleep all night. So they go back to my room and then my husband comes up and I am like stewing in my own gravy all day long. I'm like, I'm having these conversations with myself. I'm like chopping wood in my brain. I'm like, seriously, seriously? Well, what we got to do? I'm trying to solve for this. So finally in the afternoon, you know, they come back and they're like, Mrs. Clark, we're going to take you back down. So I'm like, Thank you, and I'm being a little bratty about it. Because I haven't eaten since Monday, by the way. So they roll me back down, they put me in the same spot. I'm waiting to go in. And this guy shows up in a suit and a cowboy hat. And he's like, I don't know who you are. But I've been trying to get to Montana all day long. My flights been delayed, delayed, canceled, delayed, delayed, cancelled, delayed, delayed, canceled. He said, finally, I call my office and said, Is there someone I'm supposed to operate on? And they said, yeah, there is. So he left the airport came right to the hospital. And he's like, Mrs. Clark, it's your lucky day. Turns out this guy is world famous for his technique. Turns out he does the surgery laparoscopically, three little tiny incisions that I can't even see. Turns out that I would never have gotten him. And he was the perfect guy for me. His bedside manner perfect for me straight to the point, Mrs. Clark, you could die tonight. Now I'm like, okay, not on my schedule. I have a son who does not eat his father's cooking. So your job? Take whatever you gotta take, but you keep me alive. And he was like, Okay, I mean, that was the beginning of our relationship. And when I was, you know, they give you all the anesthesia, crap and all this stuff, the whole time, I was thinking, Oh, my gosh, when things don't go your way, you got to say thank you. Because if I had had surgery in the morning with the other surgeon, I would have had like 300 staples, I would have had this massive wound that was taken forever to heal. And my doctor's opinion is that when a woman's fighting cancer, we need to not leave a big wound because we need that body to fight cancer, not heal the incision. And so he was a gift to me. And it was a gift that there's no way that was just an accident that I got him as my surgeon, it was a miracle that I got him and I felt so at peace going into that surgery, and I apologized for being a brat.

Morgan Jones Pearson 27:24

It's such a good story. One thing that I found really interesting that you said repeatedly in the stuff that I was listening to was that you are determined to not waste cancer. Seems to me like that would be something that a lot of people would be like to heck with cancer, I'm done with it, whatever. But how do you think that someone or, how have you, made the most of the experience of having gone through cancer?

Unknown Speaker 27:55

So one of my all my friends said, don't tell anyone about the cancer because it will define you, it'll wreck your career, you'll never get another job, you won't get promoted. Well, you know, people say this stuff. It's not true. And so she said, it will define you, you will always be defined by your cancer. And I was determined not to waste it. Because it turns out that the cancer was a gift to me, because it polished me. So I was refined by my cancer. I saw people who were so kind and so lovely and caring and people gave and they lifted my family, they lifted me and I was just, it was overwhelming for me, the strangers, the people in my community in my war who showed up to carry me. And so I'm a better mom, because I already know I'm gonna die. I'm a better executive, I'm a better member of the Church, I'm a better person, because I have been to the darkest place. And I survived. And people say, Oh, you're super lucky to survive. It's like, Yeah, that's right. But I'm not going to waste it. I'm not going to pretend it didn't happen. I'm not going to not think about what I need to do differently and how I need to be better. I am not going to let it control me. But I'm also going to look at it as a gift. because when you think you're gonna die, it changes you forever. And for me, that was a gift. So one day, my I was in the hospital for three weeks after my surgery, and my surgeon comes in and I'm like, Oh my gosh, I'm gonna die. And he's like, you're welcome. That's the gift that cancer gives you. Most people don't get to that until they're like, 6070s 80s. You got it in your 40s you're gonna live differently. And he was right. He was right.

Morgan Jones Pearson 29:46

Well, and I thought it was interesting. There are several things that you mentioned that you do now or don't do now, because you've recognized how important time is and I think one of those things is you said you don't watch TV anymore. And instead, you've spent a lot of time doing family history. So what have you learned about the value of time? And why has family history taken the place of TV? Why are those things so, so key?

Unknown Speaker 30:19

So, you know, I'm in the hospital three weeks, I have no idea what's going to happen, I have a 20% chance of beating this terrible disease. Oh, and I got to have cancer of the appendix too. It's like, Why I gotta be so like, I always have to be the best. You go through these laps, you know, it's like, okay, when you think, okay, you're like, Okay, I'm gonna die. Well, I don't have to clean out my husband's garage. I don't have to take care of my parents, I don't have to pay taxes, there's this whole list of stuff you don't have to do anymore. You're like, okay, that's not terrible. But then you tip over to I won't get to meet my grandchildren, I won't get to help, you know, my sons become the best they can be. I won't get to, I won't get to, I won't get to. And you make these lists in your brain up? My list was like, Why did I spend so much time watching any television because it adds no value to what I want to do? Why didn't I do work for my ancestors? Because since I know I'm gonna die. I'm a little worried about getting on the other side and not knowing where to go. Like, I always do reconnaissance, right? I always know everywhere. I'm supposed to go what I'm supposed to do, but I'm gonna go on the other side, I'm gonna be like, Okay, what if I'm like, I'm lost. So I said, I'm gonna do family history, because I need a ward in heaven, that when I get there, they gotta do the wave for me. I need people that are gonna be like, Hey, over here, don't go over there, like the food's better over here. So it was like my way to connect with the other side. And so on my five year anniversary from my diagnosis, I said to my husband, I wanted something remarkable. And he's like, okay, and my son's, like, let's go to Valters. And I'm like, more than food. So we went to the temple that day. And I think we did 32 sealings that day. And I was like, huh, so I said to my husband, I'm gonna do 500 ordinances by Valentine's Day. And he's like, great. So like, threw myself into it. My sister, Kathleen is the master of family history. So she taught me how to use the tool, we spent all our time just working together as a team. So now, 10 years later, fast forward, we have done more than 7000 ordinances. And so there is a stake in heaven that hopefully some of them will show up, but I'm counting on them to protect my children and my grandchildren, I'm counting on them to be a force of influence for good for them in their lives, just like people administered to me when I was at my lowest. And all it took for all that was a sacrifice of time, because I only gave up one thing, I only gave up television. And I did build a downline of people in my ecosystem to help me so I didn't do all those myself. So the young people in my ward did the baptisms, I have a bunch of tech CEOs that did initiatories, that did endowments. We do most of the sealings, my little missionaries, I send them mail endowments, because the endowments are the bottleneck, but the thing that people don't understand about Family Search and family history is that it's really not for them. It's really for you to be able to build an army of people that will be a protection, and will be miracles for your family when you can't be there. And I think if people understood that, it would be like, during COVID, where you have to sign up for spots. So you're like waiting in line for the temple like you would for a movie. And I get it. And so I'm fierce about getting the work done for my ancestors, because a lot of people think, Oh, my works done well, your tree is a stick, right? So you got to go and get all of your siblings of your spouses, and you just have to go and go capture everybody. And when I die, because I know I'm gonna die. I want people to say to me, you know, you did a lot like you did okay, and you helped us build our family. My favorite thing is that I save the children of the family. And I have them all sealed at once. And so not just one at a time at once, all in the same blessing. And it's a pretty spectacular thing to be there with the parent proxies and then all the children proxies and then that family is made instantly. And so people don't get it, but when you do, you get it.

Morgan Jones Pearson 34:47

So cool. I just recently interviewed the people that were the temple president and matron of the Washington DC temple when it shut down and I asked them like what did they learn from being temple president and matron and the biggest thing that they said that they learned was that the temple is not an earthly place, that it's a place that we go to literally be away from the world. And I think that that's so true, I don't think we appreciate it for what it is, in that regard. You talk a lot about how you came to know God through this experience, and to rely on Him more and how you came to know Christ. And specifically speaking of Heavenly Father, you said, He will never enable us to be weak. And you were referring to why He allows us to go through hard things. I think that's one of the biggest questions that people have in this life is, why does a loving God allow us to experience difficult things? How would you answer that question now.

Unknown Speaker 35:54

So I know this more profoundly, because I have children now. So I have this phrase that I use, that I am trying not to pave the jungle for my children, because I need them to be self-healing, I need them to be resilient, I need them to be strong. And I need them to know that I know they can do it. So that's why I don't take away hard things from my kids. Because I need them to know that I know they can do it. And so when I think about that, from God's perspective, we saw how awful things were gonna be and how great things were going to be. And we said, Yep, I can do that. How do I know that? Because we're all here on the planet. The third that we're like, no, out right? There didn't come to the planet. And so when we ask God, please take this away from me. Don't be surprised when he doesn't, because He knows that we can do it. And He's given us everything that we need to be able to do it. He's given us prayer. One of my beliefs is that the prayer for strength is always answered immediately. Always. And no one could give it to me otherwise, the other prayers he can answer when he wants, but when you ask for strength is given to you instantly, He's given us the Holy Ghost, He's given us repentance, He's given us the atonement, he has given us every single thing we need to do, to get through every single thing that we have. So I don't ask him to ever take anything away, because I trust him. And I trust that, whatever I gotta get through, I'm gonna move through it as straight a line as I can. And it's not usually a straight line, it's usually a jagged line. But he gives me things to get me through it every step of the way. And he's not going to enable us to be weak, he's going to enable us to be strong, because he knows we can do it. Because he knows we come out through the other side, we're refined. And he knows that we come out to the other side, that we can do all the things that he needs us to do.

Morgan Jones Pearson 38:00

So well said thank you so much. Carine, I don't know if people have noticed throughout this conversation, but repeatedly, you have said, I already know I'm going to die. Like that is like your mantra. And the interesting thing is, I think we all know that. Obviously, we know we're gonna die. And yet you seem to know it in a more intimate, sure way. Why would you say that is what is it about the experience of cancer that helps you understand that more fully? And why would you say that that is something that is actually worth celebrating?

Unknown Speaker 38:35

So you're right, we're all gonna die. So I did weekly chemotherapy, not for sissies, I might add. And there was one guy in there who had terminal colon cancer was a friend of mine. He lived seven years longer than he was supposed to. So happy, so chipper, and I'm like, Dude, how can you be so happy, you're gonna die, he's like, you're gonna die. And he's like, I'm not going to waste one second, being unhappy, because happiness is a choice. And that was the kind of the beginning of me figuring out, okay, so the fact that I know I'm gonna die, that means I live differently. So, you know, people have their bucket lists, retirement trips, I decided that I would do all my retirement trips with my kids while they were in my house. Because I control their schedule. And like when you wait for your retirement, they're married, have kids have jobs, they can't go. So why wouldn't you go when you're younger? Why wouldn't you go when you're stronger? Why wouldn't you go when they're in your household? Now, thankfully, I had the resources to be able to do that. Because I worked really hard and saved every penny never did anything fun. So we did all the retirement trips. You know, when you think you're gonna die, you're like, why didn't I eat cake every time I want to eat cake. So I eat cake when I want to eat cake. Why do I spend so much money on stuff? That doesn't matter? Why didn't I donate more? Why didn't I help more? Why didn't I write more letters to people that will be here after you die? So you start to kind of start processing these things. So There were people in my life that are kind of energy vampires. So I thank them for what they had done for my life. I help them if they need it, but I don't spend time with them. There are people in my life that need my help, I show up for them every single day. The reason no TV is because I grew up in Germany, we didn't really have TV. So TV is like this magical thing for me. But it is such a waste of time. It's like, it's like diet soda. I mean, it adds nothing to your life, it might feel good, tastes good. But it's not helping me achieve the goals that I want. It's not helping me be a better mom, be a better fill in the blank. And there are people that are really quite caught up on their shows, they have like their shows, I don't even know what those are anymore. I just know that I spend time doing things that are going to help me do the things that are important. And we're the ones who show up for God, we're the ones that are answers to prayers. So I try to be really open to that every day, I start the day Heavenly Father, let me know, please tell me what you need me to do for you today. Until you tell me I'm gonna try to figure it out on my own, I'm gonna get a bunch of stuff done. And I talked to him all the time. You know, for me, the gospel is so simple. The Gospel is true. The Atonement paid for everything. I trust God. And for me, the Gospel is true, but the culture of the church not so much. So if I ever have a rub on stuff, it's usually the culture of the church. And I am like, who cares? I don't worry about stuff that I used to worry about any more. I say, Who cares? All the time. Because if it's like, it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter. It's not helping me do what's important to me. And what's important to me, is, I love my savior, think about all the things He did for us, I want Him to be proud of me, I want to do a good job for him. And when I get on the other side, I don't want them to say, you know, we kind of gave you a lot. And you didn't really measure up. I don't want that, you know, I want them to say you did just fine. And so like that grade is important to me. But I also want all my children, you know, we wanted a lot of kids, but I have to. So I hope there's a lot of young people that can say, you know what she helped me, she showed me what it was like to be a member of this church and to be a strong woman, and have a strong testimony and still be a great executive. And that's part of what I think is important to me. Really.

Morgan Jones Pearson 42:30

I love that. Okay, well, my last question for you. And thank you so much for sharing all these things. I feel like I am more determined to go out and crush life. So thank you for that. What would you say it means to you, Corinne to be all in the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Unknown Speaker 42:50

Well, we have been given so much. I, I believe that this life is an open book test. Because we have all these tools to help us get to where we need to go. We have you know, we have a living prophet, we have scriptures, we have the all the living scriptures that are coming out all the time from the prophet from all of the people that are here to help us, we have the atonement, it's like you're already paying for a failing grade, right? And we have a lot of do overs, we have the ability to build our families beyond when we're here. We have so many people that care about us, we have prayer, we have the Holy Ghost, and we have the millennium. So I'm counting on 1000 years to like, redo stuff that I didn't get right. And we are not supposed to be perfect. We're just supposed to show up and do the very best we can every single day. And I have one job. Our job is to love everyone. That's it. That's it. And so when I keep the gospel, pretty simple, meaning I trust God, the Atonement paid for everything. I don't feel like I have to solve for the history of the church. So I'm not a different person at work than I am on Sunday. I am trying to be the best person I can every single day. And I use the Holy Ghost. I use everything available to me to really try and do a great job. And this is a God who has a sense of humor, by the way. I'm talking to Him all the time. And He talks to me and for me, I have complete clarity about what I'm supposed to do. But that's my gift of the Spirit. Other people have different gifts and if we work together, we pull those gifts together. There's nothing we can't do.

Morgan Jones Pearson 44:31

Well Carine one thing that I appreciate and we haven't talked about your career in this interview at all, which was intentional on my part, because sometimes I think when we're pulling in different parts, we kind of lose focus. But one thing that I really appreciated and I want listeners to know this is that when I reached out to you about doing this interview, there was zero hesitation which I think sometimes when parts of our lives are compartmentalized, it's like, do I want to do this interview that is about my faith? And I just I appreciate you being willing to bring all of you to every aspect of your life and for sharing your testimony with us. It means a ton to me.

Unknown Speaker 45:10

Well thank you so much. And there's nothing special about my career. I have been blessed. I've used the Spirit to help me navigate really weird things in my career. So thank you. I hope people listen, I think probably my mom and my sister. But Morgan, thank you for asking me and it was a treat for me.

Morgan Jones Pearson 45:28

We are so grateful to Carine Clark for joining us on this week's episode. We are grateful to Derek Campbell of Mix At 6 Studios for his help with this episode, and we hope you know how much it means to us that you spend time with us every week. We'll look forward to being with you again next week.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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