Boothies of Booth: Augusta Clarke

Name: Augusta “Gusty” Clarke

Nicknames: Gusty Ballou

Originated From: NYC. But, has lived all over the country: NYC → Neenah, Wisconsin →Chicago, IL→Honolulu, Hawaii → Connecticut → Spain → Providence, Rhode Island → Sheridan, Montana → Helena, Montana

Undergrad Institution: Brown University

Major: Environmental Studies with an emphasis on Law and Policy & Environmental History

Job Before Booth: Development Manager for the Montana Land Reliance

okay…now for the good stuff:

Prior To Booth

I’m a Boothie baby! My parents met during business school at Booth, previously known as GSB. My Mom was among the first wave of women in M&A on Wall Street, whereas my Dad worked with airlines going through Chapter 11. Because of my Dad’s job and our growing family, my mom took a hiatus from Wall Street and we moved around a ton – as I’m sure you saw above.

When I was 8, I read “My Side Of The Mountain” by Jean Craighead George. It’s about a boy that comes from a huge family in New York. He leaves home and moves up to the Catskills where he learns how to hunt and falcon. From what I could tell he was self-sufficient, and  totally living his best life. It gave me the same goal to be totally self-sufficient and self-reliant. For whatever reason, I associated those qualities  with hunting. This obsession was compounded by my family moving to Wisconsin where we lived near the woods. I saw camo and real wildlife for the first time! We also got the first day of hunting season off, which I thought was pretty sweet. 

So, at a very young age I was exposed to conservation through these joining forces of my life paired with my love for fly fishing. In college, I chose to study environmental issues and science, thinking that I might be an environmental lawyer. I’ve always been active. When I went off to college at Brown I played a few sports – mostly water polo and crew,  but I also rode horses for a bit. For those of you that have never really seen water polo played, basically a combination of swimming, soccer, basketball, and wrestling.

Every summer break throughout college I worked in Montana and Wyoming. For graduation, I bought myself a bow. The day after I graduated from Brown I moved to Montana. I went for it. I immediately started working for the The Montana Land Reliance – a non-profit that works for private land owners to permanently protect agricultural lands, fish and wildlife habitat, and open space. To date they’ve permanently protected over 1 million+ acres of land in the state of Montana. While at MLR, I ran their fundraising program and built corporate and local partnerships with Montana breweries and distilleries (check Perpetuity Gin out on Spirit Hub!). I learned a lot about organizing community outreach and advertising, and had the opportunity to start the Future Montana Committee, MLR’s young advisory board. I got to join it (and some of my favorite people in the state) when I started school.

During my first summer in Montana, I taught myself how to shoot my bow and went out hunting with friends. I shot my first deer! I never bought meat  while I lived in Montana. I knew how much the sport meant to me, and how important it is to hunt responsibly, so I became one of the first women to complete the Montana Master Hunter program. In return for learning and being a more responsible hunter, the programs enrolls private land into the program that would otherwise be inaccessible to hunters. In exchange for access, Master Hunter graduates help landowners achieve their conservation goals, whether through game management or volunteering to help with weed management. Alternatively, there is a Block Management Program where farmers are compensated for sharing their land, but, though the vast majority of hunters that participate are ethical and responsible, some are not, which can make landowners wary of hunters in general. 

After Sheridan, I moved to Helena and lived right outside of a trail system. There were not many young people living in Helena, but I got to spend the majority of my time outside. My boss Rock Ringling, of Ringling Circus fame, correctly informed me before moving that Helena is where single people go to stay single. When Rock retired, there  were a ton of leadership changes, but we are still close and he is one of my most important mentors!

I committed my free time to volunteering on several boards. I ended up joining the local chapter board of Trout Unlimited Chapter, an environmental advocacy group that focuses on organizing anglers to protect cold-water trout fisheries around the country. 

I found myself soul searching after finding so many outlets in Montana that brought me joy. I also had the opportunity to join the board of the Montana Environmental Information Center, which does a lot of environmental legal advocacy. At one point, I thought I wanted to be an environmental lawyer. But, though there is a time and place for litigation, it can put communities at odds, rendering conservation solutions ineffective in the long run. I also recognized that:

Conservation is great, but communities can only focus on conservation when they are not destitute.

I didn’t have the business skills that I needed to join or start an investment fund that could help make big changes for Montana’s rural communities. I knew that I needed to spend the next few years of my time wisely, and that school would be my next move. So, I sold my hunting rifles , packed up my bags and my bow, and moved to Chicago to start at Booth.

Boothie Breakdown

If You Didn’t Have To Work What Would You Do:

Get my life in order first! I would first spend a lot of time with my dog, Sage, and the the people that I love, the rest of my time would be spent outdoors and volunteering. My dream is to own a reasonably sized property out West and build a large gathering place for people. A place where we can come together for good friends, good food and good wine.

Do You Think That Aliens Exist?

They got to. There’s something out there. You’d be surprised to hear what the farmers in Montana have been talking about for years.

Currently Reading / Listening to:

Devil In The White City by Erik Larson

Also going Steady With My Investments textbook

How I Built This by Guy Raz (Our favorite!)

After taking Econ I have a newfound superpower of actually understanding things so I’ve come to love listening to these two UChicago Podcasts:

Capitalisn’t – Capitalism is the engine of prosperity. Capitalism sows the seeds of its own demise.

Big Brains – Stories from the people behind the pioneering research and pivotal breakthroughs at the University of Chicago. Change how you see the world.

What do you think made you unique in the MBA application process?

Certainly where I was applying from. In Montana, there’s so much population attrition – a lot of which is due to the natural resource extraction industry. I want to work on sustainable rural economic development and develop ways to divorce communities from the boom bust cycle in order to draw population in and create longevity in their economies.

What App Needs To Be Made:

“Restaurant Roulette” – an app that allows you to choose the specifics of what you want in a restaurant and it gives you a place to go that meets the criteria

Favorite Disney Movie:

Wonder Woman

What’s The Hardest Lesson You’ve Learned Thus Far?

Money has the power to destroy relationships.

Favorite Booth Memory Thus Far:

Ann Mukherjee, the Chairman and CEO of North America at Pernod Ricard did a chat on campus where she talked about marketing and her story but she gave unbelievable leadership lessons within the pretext of her own development. She was vulnerable about how hard her struggles were and incredibly transparent which I really appreciated.

What Job Would You Be Terrible At :

Any job that violated my moral code in some way. And any job that where I would find myself working for someone that I didn’t respect.

What Age Do You Want To Live Until:

I’m terrified of death. I’ll live as long as I am physically and mentally able to be out and about.

Favorite Place To Eat In Chicago:

I grew up going to Cubs games – eating a brat at Wrigley Field.

Favorite Commercial:

What Do You Want To Do Before You Die?

I feel like I’m going to live forever, so I never really thought much about this.

What Do You Wish You Knew More About:

I wish I were better at math (same girl, same). I wish I had immediate intuition with numbers. And – Mechanics. It drives me insane that I can’t fix my own stuff. I want to know how an engine works.

Favorite Artists:

Leon Bridges, J.Cole, John Mayer, Neil Young, Doobie Brothers, Willie Nelson

All of the women in my family are artists. Buying your friends art is one of the most beautiful and powerful things that you can do.

What Is Worth Splurging On Everytime:

CHEESE.

How Will You Make Your Life A “Good Life”?

My dad was a lawyer prior to business school. He instilled stringent integrities in my brother and I that we live by. Do what’s right. Make honest and ethical decisions. Contribute to the community. Present myself as I am, and always be empathetic to others.

Most Memorable Gift That You’ve Ever Received:

When I was 10, my dad gave me a card in which he promised to teach me how to fly fish and my first rod. He put the card in a big box. As a normal 10 year old I was mad, because it was just a note in a box. Little did I know that it would direct and guide my life in more ways than I can explain or rationalize.

What Lifestyle Changes Are You Trying To Make?

Trying to get back to my old habits. Going to bed early. Waking up really early. Spending time on myself in the morning, whether that’s exercising or reading the paper. Intentionally read about things that I don’t generally have an interest.

If Magic Was Real, Which Spell Would You Try First?

I would like to conjure my dog, Sage, wherever I am.

What Do You Think Makes A Good Friend – How Much Do You Live Up To Your Standards?

Good friends are the ones who accept you for who you are and don’t try to change you. The kind of friend that you can not talk to for 5 years and pick up like nothing has changed. If they know you need help, they’ll drop everything and run to you.

I’m good at the latter. However, I’m admittedly terrible about answering my phone and returning text messages. I always strive to be a better friend.

What Do You Want To Get Out Of B-School?

The fundamental business education that I need. I want to come away from it with a diversity of perspectives and have an established base for my future career with a better understanding for the world. Over the past 6 months I can say I’ve already begun to do that. And, obviously, friendships.

Best Trip Of Your Life Thus Far:

Alaska. An unbelievably beautiful place, where I got to do something that I love with the person that I loved – so that was amazing.

Who Do You Go Out Of Your Way To Be Nice To?

Customer Service Representatives – they do not have a fun situation. I also go out of my way for people who have been vulnerable around me or have opened up to me in some way. It is a huge gift and it’s important to make them feel really comfortable.

What Industry Do You Think Will Be Revolutionized Soon?

The Housing Industry. I think that our generation will stop living independently and that our generation will basically end up living in communes. We will change the way we live and what communities look like.

Favorite Candy:

Reese’s

Life Goals:

Live a life I’m proud of. To support my family and friends in whatever they want to do. Act the way my parents raised me.

What Would Your Last Meal Be:

My mom makes a ridiculous red sauce bacon pasta. It’s so good! No vegetables. And probably, most likely, ice cream.

How Would You Describe Your Booth Experience:

Transformational. It has totally opened my possibilities. I’ve learned so much since I’ve been at school. I feel more confident. I feel like the world is my oyster – and that’s a ridiculous feeling. I’m really proud to be a Boothie, and I’m super grateful to be at Booth to seize and take advantage of all of the opportunities. Nevertheless to be with such an incredible group of people that are so inspirational and push me to be better just by virtue of being themselves.