Mindy Clark 8-23

Mindy Clark

Retired Staff, Former Director of Marketing

I came to Pathfinders of Oregon in 2009, when it was a very small agency focused on facilitating cognitive behavioral programming inside of Oregon’s prisons. Pathfinders had facilitated classes for the study of Parenting Inside Out outcomes funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, and run by the Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC) and the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC). The positive outcomes of the study led to the decision to make PIO available to other DOCs and social service agencies across the country. Oregon DOC assigned its rights to PIO to Pathfinders with the understanding that we would sell and support the program. I had been volunteering at Coffee Creek for a few years previously, and a friend of mine suggested I apply for an opening at TPN to lead marketing and sales efforts for PIO. A grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust paid my salary for the first year and a half, while I built out the marketing plan and sales model for the program. In September of 2009, we took the leap, doing outreach to correctional departments and social service agencies. Eventually we started our first system-wide implementation in Kansas DOC. Washington DOC and sales to multiple social service agencies followed not too long after, and pretty soon we hit critical mass. Parenting Inside Out became the gold standard for parenting programs, and we were flying people across the country to train facilitators for the program.

In the beginning, we did all of our training in-person, but sales to Australia and Canada and increasing sales across the US showed us that we needed to offer online training. We developed the virtual training, and from there it was like dominoes falling. Many major organizations and large departments of corrections were lining up to implement PIO. One of my favorite moments occurred when we were filming training videos down at Oregon State Penitentiary; a young man in the program said to me: “I’ve always been told that I should stay out of my child’s life; this is the first time anybody’s ever told me that I might have something good to offer my child.” That just ripped my heart out, and made me even more passionate about my work promoting the curriculum.

I stayed for 10 years, during which I served as Pathfinder’s Marketing Director, was heavily involved in updating the PIO curriculum to reflect current best practices, and created other Parenting Inside Out resources. I retired from full-time work in 2019, but continued to take on projects as needed. I returned during the early days of the pandemic to develop a remote learning version of the curriculum and support the transition to a new program manager.

As Marketing Director, I was very involved when we changed the name of the organization in 2019. We had gone around and around on the name, but once somebody suggested “The Pathfinder Network,” we all went “yes, that’s it.” The name allowed us to continue growing into a true network of services, especially as we have expanded into recovery services and more community programming. It’s so extraordinary that Oregon invested in creating the Parenting Inside Out program back in 2003, and how it has grown and evolved over the last 20 years to become such a leader in supporting incarcerated and justice-impacted parents around the country, and around the world.