#onethingseries: Service Leadership w/ Fay Blake

Fayetta M. Blake is the founder and Executive Director of Pathways to Success, Inc. Fay started her career in the Lending Institution with Security Pacific National Bank as a loan officer. She then enjoyed a 20-year banking career at All First Financial where, in 1995, she was appointed as Sr. Vice President of operations–the first African American to be appointed to that level in the banks 200-year history. During that time, she had global oversight of all operations units in the Mid-Atlantic regions. In 1998, she was recognized by the banking institution for Quality Assurance as well as being recognized in the industry by Visa, USA for Quality Service and outstanding customer service.

Fay established Pathways to Success Inc. in 2006. The work that Fay does with Pathways is indeed her passion and it embodies her need to give back to the community, especially in Sussex County Delaware where she was born and raised.  Fay herself comes from humble beginnings and understands the devastation of poverty. Fueled with that knowledge and experience, she and the Pathways team strive to make a positive difference in the lives of the people she serves in Sussex County.

The Pathways mission is to prepare youth, adults, and their families for successful lives within our communities. Pathways utilizes innovative and creative approaches in mentoring, education, and community outreach to inform, educate, and empower people.

  • Fay’s mission is service–to fill a need where others are unable to do so by adding value to them and in turn adding value to herself. Fay introduces us to the guiding model for Pathways to Success, CARE, which steers everything so that every decision and every action demonstrates care: Consistent, Authentic, Respect, Empowerment. Listen to her describe how it works as her model for serving others. Fay also describes how her entire team at Pathways is committed to providing this valuable service, through CARE, to at-risk youth because of their own stories and commitment to students who need support. You can’t miss hearing how Fay’s grandmother showered her with love and positivity, which continues to be a driving force and guiding light in her life.
  • As someone committed to improving the lives of others and helping them succeed in school so that they have a chance in the future, Fay describes how she uses the work of Benjamin Zander, the musical director of the Boston Philharmonic, for inspiration. His book, The Art of Possibility, guides her thinking as she strives to be a spark in the lives of students by considering all possibilities. She tells us about her own notion of “enrollment,” getting others to see your vision to help you achieve it. Listen to what she says about how considering great possibilities for kids, even amid difficult circumstances, has allowed Pathways to boost it’s graduation rate among enrolled students to 98%.
  • Fay reminds us of the importance of gratitude and how grateful she is to be in a position to give back to students and the community after enjoying a successful career in banking. She gives us a quick tip on how she uses a rubber band that she can quickly snap on her wrist to remind her to quit thinking negatively and embrace positivity.
  • Regarding what she still wants to accomplish, hear her describe her true desire to be in every school in Sussex county to provide a much needed service to at-risk youth. She discusses all the services they provide but ultimately how they create a safe haven for kids. She emphasized how her team SHOW UP– literally. Whether it is the first meeting in the child’s home or meeting them at school, she and her team are committed to providing mentorship and guidance to keep kids on the track to success.
  • Her answer to our #onethingseries personal growth question reveals the work of Joel Barker and how paradigm shifts take us to ground zero–starting from a new perspective to look at things in a different way so that the team is able to step forward from the sidelines and into the game.
  • Fay used to think that she had to do everything, which is not something she believes anymore. Listen to her talk about how teams are critical for success and how each team member must be vested into the vision. She describes how her team compliments one another and how they operate from a free-falling perspective–that if she falls back someone will be there to catch her and vice versa.

Let us know what you think of this #onethingseries podcast with a like, follow, or comment. Find us on Twitter, YouTube, iTunes, Facebook, & SoundCould. And if you want a new leadership interview every month to help you lead better and grow faster, follow this blog by entering your email at the top right of the screen. Finally, if you want more on the topics we cover, contact us.

Joe & T.J.

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