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San Diego
Thursday, May 30, 2024

Power Couples , Nikki and Ben Clay

Nicole “Nikki” Clay, partner, manages Clay Co.’s office in San Diego. She works with private- and public-sector companies and organizations to develop and implement government, community and media relations strategies and programs. Her husband, Ben G. Clay, is a retired principal with Carpi & Clay, a San Diego-based government relations firm with offices in San Diego, Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

Together, the two represent one of the highest profile couples involved in San Diego’s business and civic affairs. Indeed, individually they would rank among the most powerful in the economic, social and political fabric of the community.

For example, Nikki served as chairwoman of the board of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, and also serves on the board and executive committee of Downtown San Diego Partnership. She is also past president of the Holiday Bowl.

Ben continues to serves on the boards of the San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego Symphony Association, the California State Railroad Museum and the San Diego River Conservancy. He is past president and current member of the Rotary Club and former past president of the San Diego Symphony.

Both graduates of San Diego Sate University, the two co-chaired the university’s Centennial Celebration in 1997, and the two were honored as SDSU’s “Alumni of the Year” in 1998.


Company: Clay Co.

Title: Partner.

Education: Master of Arts in public administration; Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts. Attended Riverside Poly High School.

Birthplace: San Francisco.

Age: 63.

Residence: Mission Hills.


How long have you been together: 42 years.

How did you meet: At a party our freshman year at SDSU.

Your mate’s best quality: His sense of humor.

What’s your mate’s most annoying quality: He does not hear me.

How do you stay together and still share the spotlight: He always supports me , I continue to be amazed by his accomplishments.

What do you do for fun: Travel with Ben, and walk with him in the morning.

What do you like to do separately: Get together with the “girls.”

Who’s the boss: Depends on the issue.


Company: Retired.

Education: Bachelor of Arts in public administration. Attended Helix High School.

Birthplace: St. Louis.

Age: 63.

Residence: Mission Hills.


How did you meet: We met in student government at SDSU.

How long have you been together: 42 years.

Your mate’s best quality: Intelligence.

What’s your mate’s most annoying quality: Too many honey do’s.

How do you stay together and still share the spotlight: I assist her in what she’s doing, and she assists me.

What do you do for fun: Walk and body surf.

What do you like to do separately: Read good books and body surf.

Who’s the boss: She is!

(Editor’s Note: Power Couples is a new feature that highlights successful couples in the business community , the who behind the who, what, where, when and why of couples in the news. If you would like to be included in this feature as a power couple, which will run occasionally, send your suggested couples to Tom York at


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