carineCarine Clark describes herself as nothing special—just an “ordinary girl with big hair,” she says with a laugh. But Clark, who is the CEO of MaritzCX, is anything but ordinary. With a storied career at tech giants like Novell, Altiris, Symantec and Allegiance, Clark is one of Utah’s most impactful tech executives and leaders.

Clark has learned a lot along the way, but one of the biggest lessons she hopes to impart is to never let personal disruption stop you from accomplishing what you want.

Clark first learned this lesson while serving as an exec at Novell, where she worked with tech leaders like Eric Schmidt and Ray Noorda. After years of devoting herself to the company, she received life-changing news. “The company hired a new CMO and she wanted to go into a new direction and I was going to lose my job,” she says. “It was terrifying for me to go home and tell my family that I lost this job that I loved.”

To say that Clark was disappointed is a major understatement. The career she had worked so hard to build was seemingly gone overnight. But she knew that was par for the course in the tech industry, and she decided to get right back up.

Clark joined Altiris and built its marketing team from the ground up. When the company was acquired by Symantec, Clark was named SVP and CMO. She was responsible for global campaigns and field marketing, partner and product marketing, branding and marketing communications.

But just when she felt she was back at the top, Clark was knocked down again. In 2012, Clark was diagnosed with Stage III ovarian cancer and given a 20 percent chance of survival “I thought to myself, ‘OK, now you’ve got to put your money where your mouth is. Are you going to survive and thrive or are you going to curl up in a ball and sob because you won a crappy lottery?’”

Clark knew that she had to survive, if not for herself, for her two boys. “I told them that everyone has hard things in life, and that this was no harder than what anyone else goes through. And, I was going to show them how to do it—how to survive. And they’re going to learn that we do hard things. We’re going to learn from this.”

Clark went through chemotherapy every single week for six months, and then spent the next year undergoing more chemotherapy every 21 days. Yet, she didn’t miss a beat at home or at work. She was determined to keep moving forward.

“Cancer changed me. In a way, it was a gift. Whatever time I have left, I’m going to jam those days full of everything I can. But most importantly, I thought, ‘What can I learn? How am I going to be a different person?’”

Clark beat cancer, quit Symantec and became CEO of Allegiance. She led Allegiance’s successful acquisition by Maritz Research, which combined created MaritzCX, a customer experience tech company.

Today, she views disruption—even cancer—as a gift. “Disruption will put you on a trajectory where you will have experiences and successes that you can never imagine.”