My thoughts on Blake…
It has taken me a week to be able to sit down and write out some of my thoughts about a man who has been so influential in my career and life, Blake Nordstrom. I’m taken by surprise with his sudden passing and how difficult it has been to accept. For my time with Blake and for all the lessons he has generously taught me, I am filled with gratitude. To his family who shared their husband, father, brother, son and cousin with all of us, I am forever thankful. He has given so much and will be so missed.
I have many stories of my time with Blake over the years. Time spent with Blake was so impactful that I know others will agree when I say you don’t forget a single detail of it. He kept me on my toes and always, always took every opportunity to teach. He deeply cared about the opinions of our teams, he was quick to ask what we were missing and immediately pick up the phone to remedy the issue. He always taught through questions….”do you think it is OK that we don’t have a full size run of this item?”, “how hot does your pizza oven get?”, “how many times a day does this sensor tower go off….do you think that’s too much?”. When Blake was in a store, he was a kid in a candy shop, he lit up and everyone around him felt it. After spending many visits with him, getting asked many questions, taking endless pictures with our teams, walking into the tailor shop to thank everyone, going into our kitchen to make sure they got enough air and just being endlessly curious about our customers and our business, I have learned one thing; Blake was our biggest supporter. He never let us down by approaching a visit half way, he was always 100% in it and dedicated to making us better. He was our cheerleader and he will be so sorely missed.
Personally, Blake also meant a lot to me and my family. In 2004, my daughter was fighting a battle of her own with Lymphoma, she was 3 years old at the time. I was the store manager at Pentagon City, store 621. I found it hard to be anywhere else but by my daughter’s side and needed to take a leave of absence. We all have such a deep commitment to our teams at work, no doubt influenced by Blake’s leadership, and I also found it hard to be away from the store. I was constantly worried, knowing that my leave would end and not knowing how long my daughter would be in treatment. I was panicking and sick with worry and then the hospital phone rang, it was Blake. He called to check on my daughter and my family and to let me know that I should take as much time as I needed. He assured me that my job would be waiting for me when my daughter’s treatment was over. He gave me full permission to focus only on my family and not think about work, and I could never thank him enough for that. This was a 10-minute phone call that has forever shaped my relationship with this company. Blake was overflowing with compassion, his strong moral compass guided his actions and he always behaved admirably.
If I could be half the leader Blake was, I would consider that a success. I will forever be inspired by his zeal for our business, his compassion for our people and his remarkable judgment in all situations.
Thank you Blake, I am forever grateful.