40 Under 40: Natalie Okeson

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NATALIE OKESON

The Labor and Honor Foundation | Executive Director | Provo | AGE 38

Natalie Okeson’s got hops. Her husband’s basketball coaching career has taken them all over the country, and every place they’ve lived, she’s made a name for herself. Natalie began her career in legislative affairs and worked on national campaigns while pursuing a master’s in political science. She then shifted to higher education public service and outreach at the University of Georgia, and ultimately the nonprofit sector after finishing her second master’s in nonprofit management. She worked for a corporate foundation and philanthropy catalyst group, both based in southern Nevada, before being named as the executive director of a health and human service nonprofit in Hawaii. She then returned to Nevada and was asked to serve as Northern Nevada (deputy state) Director for U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen. When basketball shot them to UVU, she worked in Institutional Advancement. That was ultimately where she met James and Andrea Clarke, who invited her to become the executive director of their family foundation, The Labor and Honor Foundation. (Swish.)

PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT How I have stretched myself to make new career opportunities take shape after moves driven by my husband’s coaching career. I am now confident I can succeed working in any number of sectors or populations because I have had to do so multiple times. I am grateful for the growth and perspective I’ve gained. HARDEST MOMENT The departures. I have worked with amazing people at wonderful organizations. LEADERSHIP STYLE I do my utmost to take my work seriously, but not myself. BEST PART OF BEING YOUNG IN BUSINESS I have been truly impacted by the generosity of mentors and sponsors throughout my career who always took time to put me in rooms I didn’t think I belonged in or took time to answer questions that were probably naive. There are so many who will share their knowledge and networks generously when you are starting out. MAIN MOTIVATION Paying forward all of those opportunities and giving back to make peoples’ lives better. ULTIMATE CAREER DREAM I am living it!

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