Francesco Clark Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

Francesco Clark      

Author, Founder/CEO of Clark’s Botanicals Skincare, LGBTQ & Disability Advocate

Francesco Clark was 24 years old with a promising career in fashion when his entire world was turned upside-down. On June 1, 2002, he dove headfirst into a swimming pool and crashed into the bottom. Clark became paralyzed from the neck down, unable to move or feel 99% of his body. Doctors told him he probably wouldn't survive, and if he did, he’d never speak or breathe or move on his own again.

After his accident, Clark spent three years in an isolating depression, grappling with his new reality and unable to face himself in the mirror; he had become unable to see the person, but only the wheelchair he now sat in. It was too much to bear. Clark shaved his head bald every day and wore the same t-shirt and hospital pants. He only left the house for occasional physical therapy and local hospital visits.

Christopher Reeve’s passing was a huge turning point for him. The Superman champion of spinal cord research had suddenly vanished. Clark resolved to take responsibility for what happened in his own life. He realized that he didn’t want to stay isolated at home. He wanted to reconnect with other people and be an active member of society. Clark was asked to attend an advocacy group meeting and decided he would go. As he was getting ready, he looked in the mirror for the first time in 3 years. He was shocked. What he saw on the outside did not reflect who he was on the inside.

As a side effect of his injury, Clark’s skin lost the ability to sweat, which led to acne, rosacea, and dry and oily patches, and resulted in an overall complexion that looked ten years older. Clark enlisted the help of his father, a medical doctor trained in homeopathy, to heal his skin. After five years and countless formulations, they discovered Jasmine Catalyst Complex™, the highly concentrated ingredient base that turned back the clock on Clark’s prematurely aging skin and what would become the foundation of his skincare line. Clark’s Botanicals was born. And, Clark was reborn, regaining his sense of self-worth, confidence, and purpose. In 2010, Clark released his book "Walking Papers: The Accident that Changed My Life and the Business that Got Me Back on My Feet," which details his life post-accident and the making of Clark's Botanicals.

Fast forward to 2022. Clark is a beauty industry leader and innovator. He built the bestselling skincare line Clark’s Botanicals from his hospital bed and is reinventing clinically clean beauty, powered by botanicals. And, defying all odds, Clark has gained more movement in his body than doctors ever thought possible. His fine motor movements are coming back little by little. He has gained more control of his wrists, arms, and he can now use a regular fork to eat. Sitting on his own is more comfortable thanks to a stronger core.

Clark is passionate about giving back to the community that inspired him. Clark’s Botanicals is a committed donor to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and more recently to Northwell Health and Montefiore Medical Center. Clark is also a national ambassador for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, helping to fund for the care and the cure of people with spinal cord injuries. He is an advocate for medical research, serving on the board of Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. And, he serves on the board of NYSCF, New York Stem Cell Foundation to help deliver cures for incurable diseases.

Speech Topics

Finding Your Voice & Taking Control of your Own Destiny

After his injury, Francesco lost the ability to speak. Doctors told him he would never speak again. He proved them wrong. How Francesco no longer takes his voice for granted and tips for others on how to use their voices purposefully.

Overcoming Survivor’s Guilt and Imposter Syndrome

Francesco wasn’t supposed to survive the accident. Miraculously, he did, but then faced the very difficult question: Now that I’ve survived, how do I prove that I'm good enough? Who am I going to be and what CAN I do? Fast forward to Francesco starting Clark’s Botanicals skincare, selling it to private equity, finding himself in board meetings, and asking himself “what am I doing here?”.

Why Not You? The Right to Live the Life of Your Dreams

You probably won’t survive the night. You won’t ever be able to move your fingers, or eat on your own, or make a living to support yourself...Francesco was surrounded by doctors and people bringing him down, telling him there was no hope. He felt ashamed to grasp onto any hope himself. Francesco can talk about how he overcame this and how you can be the success story that you dream about or read about.

How to Start a Business from a Hospital Bed

How Francesco began award-winning, Clark's Botanicals Skincare when he was unable to move or feel 99% of his body. Today, Clark’s Botanicals is sold in Australia, China, UK, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and US. Their mission is to empower you to live your most beautiful life from the outside in.

Powerful Habits

Knowing that everybody has 24 hours in a day, how will you maximize the time you have today to make your tomorrow that much better?


The most successful people you’ve ever read about have failed. The point is not getting it right the first time but adapting, evolving, and perfecting your pitch.

Show more speech topics

The true meaning of love - Francesco was on life support and was hooked up to 18 tubes and heart monitors, but he always had somebody from his family by his side. What it means to have deep, meaningful relationships.

What a near death experience teaches you & building your life back better than it was before -
A near death experience can happen at any age and for no reason. Surviving it gives you the opportunity to live a life that had almost been taken away from you. What are you going to do with your second chance at life?

Show less speech topics


How Clark's Botanicals' Founder Francesco Clark Turned a Life-Altering Event Into a Powerhouse Skin-Care Brand
Landing major press coverage before his line even had a name, Clark's focus on personal connection and authenticity propelled his business to the top.
How a diving accident led to skincare line Clark's Botanicals
Entrepreneur Francesco Clark started Clark's Botanicals as a kitchen sink operation. Now it's used by stars like Madonna, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore. Six years before he created the celebrated brand, Clark survived a devastating accident. Gayle King reports.

Related Speakers View all

More like Francesco