McClarkin was appointed as BBPA boss earlier this month (November) and succeeded Brigid Simmonds.
The new chief executive told The Morning Advertiser: “My priority, come Brexit, is to make sure when that cacophony of noise is going off, our voice from the industry really cuts through.
“My job is to understand what we are doing right now and to navigate this period of political change we are seeing, not only with a general election coming up and any Budget that will be coming in the new year.
“Also, Brexit will be happening at exactly the same time so I'm just bedding myself in, seeing where the political landscape ends up to make sure we can really deliver our message when that day comes.”
She highlighted how she will use the experience learnt in previous roles as a global consultant, a member of the European Parliament and when working with brewing industry bodies to help her in the new role.
McClarkin said: “First and foremost, I'm a beer lover and when you come from a place of passion, you put in the best work and, hopefully, it will allow me to perform at my best as well as a leader.
“My experience of navigating political landscape, understanding how you influence and formulate policy then get in and really make the changes and difference you need, and picking the right time, that is hopefully where my experience will come to the fore.
“I focused as a specialist on international trade and looking at branding Britain and the opportunity Brexit gives us to really go out and sell Britain to the rest of the world but also an opportunity to really sculpt the UK economy for our industry as best we can, so I hope I will be bringing those skills forward for the BBPA and championing our beer and our pubs.”
When asked on her plans for the BBPA in the long term, McClarkin wanted to push the fact pubs are vital to communities.
She said: “We need to get behind our pubs. They are the heart of our communities, we all want to be there, everybody wants to have a local pub to visit so we have to support it in every way we can and the BBPA is doing that by continuing the campaign for Long Live the Local and looking at a cut in beer duty.
“We are very pleased to hear the welcoming news that we are going to see some rates relief for our pubs as well in terms of business rates and we hope that materialises but there are many different actions and activities that we will be pursuing in order to make sure we are sustaining our pubs on our high streets, in our towns, in your local village and contributing as the heart of society.”
Building on success
On succeeding Brigid Simmonds, McClarkin hailed the work the former chief executive had done with the organisation and said she wanted to build on that.
McClarkin added: “I am taking on the leadership of the BBPA and it's in great shape. Brigid has led the BBPA and she has achieved great success.
“I want to build on that but it’s also a chance for us to look at how we tell that story. I will be a new storyteller, a new character in the book to bring the BBPA and industry story to the fore and let everybody know what we are about.
“In the future, I hope people will take a fresh look at the BBPA and some things we don't normally focus on and talk about so much like a sustainability agenda and everything we are doing in our pubs and breweries to make our contribution to that.
"There is a lot more people need to know about our beer and pubs and, hopefully, I will be able to introduce them to that.”