When Dail Blake, BS ’89, MBA ’93, decided it was time to earn his MBA, he knew Baker was the right choice.
“I earned my bachelor’s degree at Baker,” Blake said. “My undergrad experience was very influential.”
He was heavily involved in Delta Tau Delta fraternity, the Baker Orange newspaper, and the Inter-Fraternity Council, to name a few. His time at Baker was so positive, he knew he had to return.
“We were taught that we were part of something so much bigger than ourselves and that we needed to serve our community, to be the hands and feet of Jesus,” he said. “It is those values that brought me back to Baker.”
Blake saw earning his MBA as a chance to enhance his career and his personal growth. At the time, he had been working for the Boy Scouts of America for three years and was looking for a program that would fit his schedule. Blake appreciated the evening classes, cohort method, and the friendly environment Baker provided.
“I enjoyed the cohort process, as it gave me a great opportunity to get to know my classmates,” he said. “There was just as much to learn from each of them as there was from the curriculum. The same could be said for having instructors who came from the business community. The perspectives, everyone sharing how things learned in class applied in their different settings was a priceless component to the program.”
After graduating in 1993, Blake moved into various roles until finding his perfect fit as the senior vice president of Country Club Bank Wealth Solutions, where he has worked since 2002.
In 2011, the values he was taught at Baker came into play in a major way.
“Clients of mine lost their son, Spencer C. Duncan, when his U.S. Army Chinook was shot down August 6, 2011, in Wardak Province, Afghanistan,” he said. “The 30 American men on board the aircraft and one military working dog all perished. This was the single-day largest loss of life in the Afghan conflict.”
Following their loss, the Duncan’s started the Spencer C. Duncan Make It Count Foundation and held a 5K race to fund the foundation. They looked to Blake for help, and he had the experience.
“My first job out of Baker was working for the Boy Scouts raising money, and I had served on a couple other boards and service organizations between then and now,” he said. “With the Spencer C. Duncan Make It Count Foundation, Inc., we provided the start-up funding for the first cohort of the program, then known as Warriors’ Hope.”
Blake served as the president of the Spencer C. Duncan Make It Count Foundation for four years, ending his term in December of 2018. But his work didn’t end there. The Warriors’ Hope program, now known as The Battle Within, asked him to serve as president of its board.
The Battle Within is a community of veterans, first responders, and community leaders. Together, they host a five-day program aimed at healing the effects of PTSD.
“To date, the program has treated over 400 sufferers of PTSD,” he said. “The program is open to veterans, first responders, and ER staff. All generations of service are welcome.”
Blake has been honored to work with a foundation that does exactly what his Baker education taught him to: serve his community.
“The people that come through the program do a lot of work to bring themselves to recovery and healing from PTSD,” he said. “They are so grateful for the opportunity, and they will thank me for saving their lives. I haven’t saved anyone’s life, just been a part of a much larger group of people to help make this program available. But the emotion they share with me when they say that, that is pretty priceless. Hearing these things drives me to work harder.”