I worked at a 2-person cosmetic counter (Prescriptives) at FLS 6 back in 2007. This was only my second Anniversary and my first at this store, having recently transferred from FLS 5. My counter manager was out with an emergency appendectomy and it was the morning of Anniversary – we were set to open the doors in less than an hour. To help, another counter manager had hurriedly tied bows on my fragrance and cosmetic sets during set up the night before, and to be perfectly honest, it didn’t look great. I took the bows off and was re-tying and rearranging my display, when I heard a voice behind me say “Hey there, do you need help?” I turned and it was Blake. He grabbed a couple ribbons and started tying bows and was asking me about our custom-blend makeup worked. I glanced over after he finished a couple and he started laughing after seeing my face – those bows looked ridiculous! I laughed too and said I would finish it, but I appreciated his help regardless. He shook my hand and said he was glad to have me at Nordstrom and he hoped that I had a great day, along with a couple other nice things. Over the last decade or so I’ve had the pleasure of hearing him speak at numerous meetings and saying hi to him in the elevator as I had transferred to FLS 1 and 865, and now at MWFC.

I am so shocked and saddened to hear of his death. It truly feels like a family member died. Since his passing, I keep thinking back to the Maya Angelou quote of “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I certainly hope we don’t forget what Blake said or did for us and this company, but I know for certain we won’t forget how he made us all feel special. I have tried hard to emulate his leadership when it comes to supporting my own teams throughout the years – remembering names and faces, being quick with a kind word, and delivering honest and supportive feedback.

RIP Blake, and thank you for always leading by example. You will be missed.

Tarah Sahlberg