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Bio: While attending Rice University, Blake led a small group of classmates through the Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship and started the nation’s first undergraduate Federalist Society chapter. After graduating in 2014, he volunteered for two months on a congressional campaign in his hometown of Sacramento, Calif. He then moved to Washington to become a paralegal in Jones Day’s appellate practice. There, Blake contributed to over one hundred Supreme Court briefs and assisted with cases involving the Donald J. Trump for President campaign. In January 2017, Blake joined the West Wing of the White House working as a special assistant to White House Counsel Don McGahn. In that role, Blake drafted legal event memoranda for the president, escorted officials to and from the Oval Office, and assisted in the appointment of over 100 federal judges. In July 2017, he left the White House to begin his studies at the University of Virginia School of Law.
Blake was part of two inaugural classes of Reagan Foundation programs. In 2011, he was one of the first recipients of a GE-Reagan Scholarship. Five years later he reconnected with the Foundation as a student in the first Leadership and the American Presidency (LTAP) cohort. Participating in the LTAP pilot program in Washington enriched his knowledge of presidential history and taught him effective approaches to teaching and inspiring others. Knowing that he had the Reagan Foundation’s support and network helped anchor his mission to lead a life that motivates young, honorable leaders.
One day, Blake hopes to become a business leader that grows middle market companies and reinvests those profits into programs that teach students how to start early in personal and career development. Blake says, “My efforts are only meaningful if they inspire the next generation of young people."
What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
An effective leader sees people as their ultimate priority. Your trek as a leader will flourish as you focus your mission on making others’ lives a big deal. Find a team who is wise in the way they lead their lives and who will not hesitate to challenge you. Iron sharpens iron. You should also make a conscious effort to build strong relationships with your team. Once you’ve assembled a group of energized teammates, craft a mission statement for your cause. What are you hoping to accomplish in the first six months? Year? Five years? Finally, see your leadership with sobriety. You are weaving your talents and dreams into a tapestry of legacy. Even if your cause is unique, you are part of a generation. Always look to give the credit to others—much like President Reagan. It is with that spirit you will leave a meaningful mark on those touched by your mission.
What is something you want to improve on or help guide someone else to improve on?
I want to be a better listener. That is a quality I believe I can always seek to develop. Being quick to listen and slow to speak sends a clear message to other people that you care about what they have to say. No one has all the answers to the problems we will face. But by piecing together the wisdom I can get from others experiences into a collage of insights, I can become a more reliable leader. That collection of ideas only comes from carefully processing others’ viewpoints and perspectives. It usually becomes more dynamic with a diversity of opinions. Whereas if I think I am always in the right, my righteousness will suffocate my ability to build consensus. And building consensus is the cornerstone upon which our society advances.
If you had to teach something to someone, what would you teach and why?
I would teach them about the power of loving sacrifice. Every human being who has ever made a positive impact on my life has laid down their interests to bless me. I think of my college friends who spent many nights sleeping by my hospital bed weeks before finals when I broke my leg and ankle. I think of my college mentor who drove me to get food when I was tired of the school cafeteria. I think of my parents who worked as many as four jobs combined to help give me a better upbringing than they had. I am relentlessly convinced that rejecting our selfish impulses in the name of rooting on others in their pursuits and finding out how to meet their needs is the most fruitful way to live. And to do so organically and creatively makes life even more vibrant! This is the marrow of life.
What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about the relationships I have formed with friends, family, and my fiancée. In all these circumstances, I have absolutely treasured enjoying different aspects of life with them. They have enhanced my personal development beyond measure and shared with me the struggles and victories that come with life.