Profile By: John Kerr
Will Clemmer starts fires. And loves watching them spread.
Not literally, of course. Clemmer’s particular form of pyromania is all about getting new projects off the ground. His skill is in persuading people to be leaders. “For me, the most important thing is helping people step up and then supporting them,” he says. “When people mention a new idea to me, my response is always ‘Great idea! Let me support you in that!’ “
Which is why Clemmer is perfectly suited to his latest Braver Angels role as the regional co-lead for the Pacific, and why he has been a real asset in helping start alliances, set up new teams, run debates, and much more. “I like to be a catalyst – get things started, then little by little, let go as they get under way,” he says.
That’s close to at least one definition of what exemplary leaders do, of course. So it’s ironic that Clemmer, who leans Blue, asked to not take on any leadership role when he first signed up as a Braver Angels volunteer. Since then, he has led and led some more, as a local organizer, a state coordinator, a debate chair, and all-around ambassador.
Clemmer is quick to share the wealth – another trait of great leaders. He constantly deflects attention to other BA volunteers, lauding their energy and initiative. For him, the real joy is in seeing other people appreciate the achievements of those he has encouraged – as BA co-founder David Blankenhorn did when meeting the organization’s Seattle-area leaders last December.
Clemmer, who works closely with his Red counterpart Carlos Hernandez, started with BA in 2018. Energized by the Red/Blue workshop he attended, he got busy reaching out to Reds, and soon succeeded in netting recruits from college Republicans and women’s conservative groups, among others. He has played his catalytic role time and again, helping to seed the Central/Eastern WA Alliance, urging media professionals to lead the new communications team in the Seattle area, and more.
Among many other activities, Clemmer is working with Hernandez to help alliances get going in Hawaii and Alaska, pushing to expand membership in the Pacific states ahead of the mid-term elections, and galvanizing a Pacific workshop team to make it easier for local alliances to start and run workshops – while continually seeking volunteers to become moderators, Zoom event managers, and other roles to make those workshops successful.
Oh, and Clemmer, a longtime entrepreneur and consultant, is also busy working himself out of a job. “I’m great at starting stuff, but a year or two in, I’m looking for something new,” he says. That explains why he’s on the look-out for a deputy regional lead – and why he encourages state coordinators to recruit their own deputies. “I want to make sure people have succession planning built in,” he says.
Go help the man help Braver Angels some more, please!