header statement

Ginny Clark

What you might not know about Ginny Clark

I believe that relationships are the key to success.

Growing up in Canandaigua and first going to catholic school and graduating on the Dean’s list from Herkimer Community College with a degree in travel tourism, I never thought today I would have a master’s degree from RIT and be working as the Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for Constellation Brands, the third largest producer and marketer of beer in the US and the world’s leading premium wine company.

However even in my early days, when I was managing a travel agency, I recognized the importance of relationships. The first corporate travel account I secured was Canandaigua Wine Company. I met with the company’s CEO, Marvin Sands, who said, "I only have 4 people that travel and they don't travel a lot by plane" after much discussion we decided to do business together no matter how big or small their travel budget was, as we both were local companies and wanted to support one another.

I kept that account for 18 years --- and during that 18 years the company grew exponentially and had hundreds of employees traveling each year not only from across the country but around the world.

The relationship with the company continued and in the late 90's with the onset of the Internet, the travel industry was changing. I went to Richard Sands, now CEO of Canandaigua Brands with a business plan on how I could save the company considerable dollars on travel expenses if he would allow me to bring all travel services in house. Richard agreed, provided that I could show him savings to the company of $250k in the first year. Well, I not only met but exceeded the challenge and saved the company $500k in the first 9 months. Needless to say, the travel department was officially brought in house.

However, instead of me managing the in house travel department, I needed to hire a full travel team as I was now given a new challenge where I again could put my relationship skills to the test.

The company was going to change its name and needed someone to work with the company’s investor relations team to find a new name for Canandaigua Brands. Wall Street couldn't pronounce CANANDAIGUA and since we were moving from NADAQ to NYSE, it was time for a new company name. Thus together, we established the company name of Constellation Brands, which remains today.

That was in 2000 and from that point on, I held several positions in the company from communications to the construction oversight of the NY Wine and Culinary Center and The Constellation Brands- Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center (CMAC) to community and public affairs where today, I oversee the company's state and federal issues, as well as the company's philanthropic giving.

Each position I have held has varied, but has a common thread in which relationships are the foundation and if one is able to create positive relationships anything is possible. What I have most enjoyed about the many different roles I have played in the company is the exposure it has allowed me, not only working with my colleagues at Constellation but also with industry partners and in with our community.

I am honored to have been selected the first woman board member of the IHF. It allows me to further develop relationship and stay true to my Italian Heritage and belief in the importance of giving back.