There are superheroes in the movies like those in the Marvel universe, and then there are real-life superheroes who come along once in a lifetime. Blake was the guardian of our Nordstrom culture, defender of our customers and protector for our employees. He was tough on the little things, because every detail mattered. He pushed us to be the best we could be and helped us rise to any situation. He celebrated his family’s history and those who delivered on its legacy of exceptional service and results. What truly separated him from the common mortal, was his big-heartedness that had no boundaries.
Four years ago, I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Blake was one of the first people that I called, because he always knew what to do. He went immediately into superhero action mode not only calling all the shots but calling my husband and kids to let them know “we got this.” And as usual, Blake was right.
A year and a half ago, after 32 years with Nordstrom, I took a position with another retailer. We became even better friends. He would branch my stores and send me a text on what he liked and ended with “I want you to do well, just not over the top – we still have to compete with you.” And then came the Blake list of the things I could improve on, always punctuated with his “Gotcha!” And through the text I could just imagine his wry smile.
What president of any company still cares enough to make you the best you can be? Only a superhero. Blake’s indelible mark will continue to shine bright.