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On the Record with Rose: Raleigh McClayton

Raleigh McClayton, Brightspot CEO

Having joined Brightspot in September 2022, CEO Raleigh McClayton is ushering in the next chapter of growth for the company. Here, Raleigh shares what excites him most about the opportunities ahead as well as some of his personal passions and experiences.

What inspired you to join Brightspot?
For me, it was the product. I think we have a best-in-class product that’s built on 20-plus years of experience. The team and the people were also great. The culture was certainly an appealing part to me. I also thought I could help the organization grow and reach where we want to go. So, those were the main lenses in which I viewed Brightspot.

As you look ahead, what excites you about the future of the company?
The product is great. So, how do we try to match the brand to the business opportunity and just tell more people about Brightspot and try to get in front of more potential customers? It starts with evangelizing Brightspot as a product. I think we can grow the business and offer our people more opportunities. If you get to work with more customers, then you get to work on more cool projects. There's some fun stuff that comes along with growth! It’s obviously hard, but that’s what excites me.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job? 
Filling David Gang’s shoes and continuing to grow what he’s built over the years with Lisa Beaudoin. It’s always tough to follow a founder. It has also been a challenge to just get up to speed, learn the business and communicate that outwardly.

What’s the best piece of career or life advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice is to find something that gives you meaning and purpose and really spend the time to think about that and then go after it. Don’t be afraid to find what gives you happiness, passion and purpose.

During your introduction a few months ago, you mentioned that you worked and lived in Beijing in the early 2000s. Can you tell me more about that experience and what it was like working abroad in China?
I worked and lived in Beijing in the early 2000s. It was a few years before the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It was an exciting time. I took Chinese in high school and college, so I knew some Mandarin and I wanted to put it to good use. My first attempt to travel to China was canceled because of the original SARS outbreak, so I was fortunate to get a second opportunity. My time in China was exciting. The country has grown and developed so much over the past 20 years, so it was cool to be there before that period to see some of what remained of an older China. The economy was transitioning and they were gearing up for the Olympics. It was a good place to live and visit for a while, but I am not sure I could live there full-time, so I came back to the United States and set up shop here.

Last month, you went to the X Games in Aspen and cheered on Special Olympics athletes competing in Unified Snowboard and Unified Ski competitions. What did you take away from that experience? 
I took away a lot! It was great seeing the athletes—both the Special Olympics athletes and the professional athletes—compete and seeing how great they were on the slopes, how passionate they were about skiing and snowboarding and how grateful they were to Brightspot. It's a big part of our mission as a company to do those rewarding activities. It was also great spending time with the team on the Brightspot side as well. It was a chance for me to get to know our Colorado employees. It was fun to hang out and ski with them and talk about Brightspot.

Besides the people, what is your favorite part about working at Brightspot?
Being part of building the next chapter of the company, growing the business and doing it with a great team. That's probably the most rewarding part of it besides the people.

What are your favorite activities or hobbies to do outside of work?
Skiing, reading, spending time with family and traveling are probably highest on the list.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I have never been to New Zealand, so New Zealand’s on the list. Greece and some of the Mediterranean would have to be on there, too. Argentina would also be cool. I have not spent much time in South America, so hanging out in Argentina would be a fun time.

What is your favorite holiday and why?
Thanksgiving is probably up there, because you’re spending time with family, eating great food and giving thanks.

Rose Pleskow Brightspot employee
About the Author
Rose Pleskow has been working at Brightspot since 2011 as a content and quality assurance specialist. In addition to writing employee profiles, Rose has played a critical role on a variety of client projects with her keen eye for detail and Brightspot publishing expertise. She has contributed to the launch of various projects ranging from SpecialOlympics.org to Amazon Science and Healthgrades.


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