Clay Mercer

State Director

March of Dimes

Little Rock

Clay Mercer

Growing up in northeast Louisiana, Clay Mercer, 36, said he had a gut feeling he would make his career in nonprofit work.

After graduating with a degree in journalism from what is now the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 1992, Mercer was offered an internship at the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, his first stint with a nonprofit.

After that, he spent five years at Hollis & Co. jewelry in Shreveport in a marketing position before returning to nonprofit work as a regional communication director for the American Cancer Society, which brought him to Little Rock.

In 2000 he worked briefly for a pharmaceutical company, and that same year, he became the vice president of development at Easter Seals Arkansas.

"I knew nonprofit was where I was called to be," he said.

Mercer was looking for the "next step" when an opening came, and he found his niche as the state director of the March of Dimes in March 2005.

Mercer is involved in Our House, Junior Achievement and the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

At the March of Dimes, he credits the staff, volunteers and donors for making each day rewarding.

"I'm motivated around passionate people," Mercer said. "They want to make a difference."