Vail Valley Voices: Leadership is all about service
Ryan Summerlin March 27, 2013
Editor’s note: As a resident of the Vail Valley since 2002, Lynn Blake ventured to the Rockies from Fort Worth, Texas, for a love of the mountain lifestyle. She obtained a degree in family studies and human development from Texas Tech University and has a variety of professional experiences, including marketing, hospitality and technology.
How would you describe your leadership approach or philosophy?
“Where there is a will, there is a way,” and “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.”
And how has that evolved over time?
When you have a will and a way, the one person you tend to rely on is yourself. Over time, it has come to my attention that I cannot be successful alone, so I now actively seek the insights and participation of others from the start. Through involvement, people develop a deeper understanding and commitment.
When you treat people with respect, do things that benefit others and make wise decisions, your leadership qualities are improved. The Golden Rule gives you the ability to view things from others’ perspectives by working through a variety of learning opportunities and is therefore continually evolving.
What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned?
Humility. I’ve learned that leadership is not about being in charge, the center of attention or speaking above others.
Leadership is really about serving others. It’s about caring for people, seeking their gifts and talents, and providing encouragement. At the end of the day, I’ve found it is better to care more about the people that I have served and their accomplishments above my own.
However, it certainly has not always been that way, and I am thankful for this lesson!
C.S. Lewis said it well: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking about yourself less.”
What leadership programs have you been involved in and what have you taken from that experience?
In the spring of 2012, I participated in the Vail Leadership Institute’s Leaders Lab. The three-month program was an invaluable experience that provided a unique opportunity to reflect and focus on both personal and professional objectives. The tools and insights gained during the Leaders Lab helped me to develop a clearly defined mission, purpose and future. The Lab experience established greater self-knowledge, greater self-confidence, and truly improved my effectiveness as a leader.
I was continually impressed by the intellectually stimulating speakers and outstanding qualities displayed by John Horan-Kates. The work of the Vail Vail Leadership Institute has made a significant impact in my life and in so many others’, and I am truly grateful for this opportunity.
What needs to be done in your community now that you are excited about doing?
On Valentine’s Day 2007, I unexpectedly collapsed due to sudden cardiac arrest. If the bystanders who performed CPR had arrived five minutes later, if the Vail Fire Department was not across the street, or if I was in the presence of someone like myself or my own family who had never been trained in CPR, I would not be alive today.
Sudden cardiac arrest is our nation’s leading killer. It affects an estimated 325,000 people every year and more than 92 percent of its victims will not survive.
The American Heart Association estimates that one or two in every 1,000 people will suffer sudden cardiac arrest annually. According to data, more than 50 of Eagle County’s estimated 52,000 full-time residents will experience sudden cardiac arrest this year, and only two will survive.
However, immediate bystander response including CPR and the use of an AED can prevent death for the majority of these people, but less than one-third of the victims will receive layperson help. These numbers are staggering, and there is an urgent need to educate people in our community (and around the world) about the signs of sudden cardiac arrest, how to perform CPR and how to use an AED.
I am one of the lucky few to survive such an incident and, therefore, feel it is important for me to have a greater sense of purpose as it relates to community. My experience with sudden cardiac arrest compelled me to make a difference by establishing Starting Hearts, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing death for victims of cardiac arrest. I am extremely passionate and excited to educate our community and save lives; and I hope you will join me!
The Vail Valley has many ethical, effective leaders. By helping them tell their stories, the Vail Leadership Institute hopes to inspire others to engage the heart in leadership.