Ep 7. Blake Whealy
Show Notes / Transcript
In this episode, we meet Blake Whealy.
LinkedIn profiles give business context and our stories share who we are, so be sure to check out Blake’s LinkedIn profile too.
Welcome to the Connection Requested podcast. I'm Mark Tweddle, cofounder of YouTellYours, providing online team-building events to connect your remote team.
This podcast is all about making better connections with other humans. I don't know about you, but I rarely know the people who request to connect with me on LinkedIn. So this podcast is how we are going to get to know them.
Accepting a LinkedIn connection should mean more than just a permission to send me marketing content. I want my LinkedIn connections to be more meaningful and closer to the connections that I make in person.
And the best way to create that connection, that human understanding, is through storytelling. So each week I get a guest to try some of the exercises that we developed for our team events.
You know it's difficult to fully communicate who you are in a LinkedIn profile or a resume for that matter. So here's my weekly challenge. Look at my guest's LinkedIn profile before you listen, and predict how you think they will sound. Or if you prefer, listen to the episode first and then predict what their LinkedIn profile will look like.
Let's jump right in with our guest's name story. Two minutes to tell the story of your name with no preparation. No one else can tell that story better than you. You are the subject matter expert after all.
My name is Blake Thomas Whealy. I was born in London, Ontario, Canada, to a Canadian father and American mother.
And starting with my last name. I guess I'll go backwards. It's butchered all the time. It's actually an incorrect spelling as well. Our last name is pronounced Whealy, but spelled W H E A L Y or T L Y a lot of the times A L E Y. Whatever, whatever pronounced a wheelie, a lot or Wheatley or Wayland or whatever it may be, but it's actually pronounced "Whaley" E A L Y, but it used to be A L E Y, which is where the pronunciation came from.
It was changed in 1852 to the current style, however, because a trust in our family. And the name is spelled wrong on the documents. They actually legally changed the spelling of her last name to what it is now to collect that money.
Thomas is my dad's first name. That's pretty straightforward, not much else to say there. And Blake comes ironically from football, which is a sport that I have zero interest in 0%. My mom had a crush actually on a football player in Canada named Blake Marshall which I found out years later, it wasn't just a friend or like a name that she thought was cool.
She came clean. So she named me, Blake, got agreement from my dad on that, and I'm named after a football player. And I can't think of anything worse to do with my father, which I do exactly once a year: That's a football game. And after our session today, I'm actually going to call Miami to book my football ticket for later this year which I'm dreading. So that's the story of my name.
Thanks Blake. You know, I feel Blake's pain of having a last name that is a spelling nightmare.
But I think, with my family, it was that they just couldn't write. There was no trust fund that I know of. Or certainly not one that they've thought to share with me.
Anyhow. Listening to Blake's story again, while editing this, I realized that I know nothing about Canadian football. And. I didn't think to ask about it at the time.
It might be because I don't watch American Football. Or European Football [or soccer as you might call it]. If only I'd asked some questions about Canadian Football, maybe I could have added a whole new flavor of football that I choose not to watch.
Maybe that's a bit negative.
Anyhow, let's get the show back on the road.
Next we have Blake speaking for three minutes on what connection means to him.
So connections. I love working with people. I love working on a team. I always have and I've worked with a lot of different teams and kinds of people.
Just to kind of start from coming out of college. I joined a program through AmeriCorps called Teach For America, where you are trained over the summer after you graduate from school.
You're essentially put in title one, which are a low income community schools with kids with, you know, several needs beyond just the financial part. There was, you know, very few students that looked like me, other teachers you know, some were also Teach For America program, some worked there for 30 years. You have all kinds of people, ages, races, gender, all of it.
And that is when I learned that asking questions about others is the most effective and important thing you can do in starting a connection.
And I, I guess I'll say maintaining a connection too. So, you know, it demonstrates interest, you learn facts and passions and all those things about the other person. It requires you to actively listen and, and you usually find out something super random that you wouldn't have expected.
So asking questions for sure has been a key for me in developing relationships. That is how I got hired at Carnival Cruise Lines, which was along with teacher America, probably one of my two favorite jobs, because it was just such a fantastic experience.
Great company.Also great coworkers. And I remember meeting a gentleman named Rob Borden. Who's one of the most important professional, now personal, connections that I have. And, you know, just starting off by asking questions. 'What was it like working at American airlines in the eighties?' Kind of getting to know him before we got into my interview with him, he was going to be my boss. It really got things off of the right foot to ask him questions then.
He's been tremendously helpful. Wasn't only tremendously helpful at Carnival and just a great mentor, you know, personally and professionally. But he was honest and open. And transparent, not just, you know, with a performance review or whatever it may be, but just straight up.
And I don't think that while we've gotten better in the world at doing that. still don't think we have enough of it.
Finally speaking about connections I've joined LunchClub, which is where I obviously met Mark. And I've been working at my startup that is aimed at connecting people and bringing them together to travel.
So you know, I've got through the pandemic essentially by meeting strangers like yourself and you know, meeting them once, twice, 10 times more virtually because that's what we all have to do. And I continue doing it. Loving it.
I guess my final statement is: Connections are not only good for work. They're not only good for getting the job. I think that they are healthy. And I don't think that you can have enough of them, even if it's a one-time encounter. We're all in this together.
And there's the irony, Blake knows asking questions is key. And here I am regretting that I didn't ask him about Canadian Football. We could probably have bonded over the many different forms of football that fail to inspire us.
Ooh, we might need a disclaimer for that.
(disclaimer start) If you're an avid supporter of football in any way YouTellYours does not guarantee your lack of enjoyment, the value of football in your life may go up as well as down, and often in unpredictable ways. (disclaimer end)
Anyhow more importantly, do you now feel that you're getting to know Blake?
If you looked at his LinkedIn profile right now, and you needed his service or advice, would you now be more comfortable having a call with him? I do hope so.
If nothing else, I hope that you've learned that Blake Whealy is awesome.
I'd love to know what you think. And if you have any comments or questions about this podcast, you can let me know via the comments on the show notes at connectionrequested.com, or send a voice message via the Connection Requested page on anchor.com.
Please share this podcast, preferably on LinkedIn, and keep on having fun, making the best of connections.