In Japan when you ask a person what they do - they answer with a job title and then quickly add the hobby or leisure activity they pursue on personal time. The Japanese believe that the way they earn a paycheck has very little bearing on who they are as people and what they deem important. Yet, if you ask an American what they do the answer is very much about the job. For Americans the line between profession and self is porous. There’s an underlying expectation that individuals embody their job role all the time.
My sister (a teacher) says that her students are dumbfounded to see her out in the community. If she’s out pursuing some mundane task like purchasing milk and her students see her - they wonder WHAT she’s doing. In their minds her only role is to be their teacher. Perhaps her students think she lives in the school. They might believe she exists in some sort of suspended stasis Friday through Monday. When they return to school - Ta Da! She’s their teacher again.
In the book, To Kill a Mockingbird, Miss Maudie says to Scout: “Atticus Finch is the same in his house as he is on the public streets.” Atticus Finch is a known entity. His nature and personality are known to be authentic. How many people do WE know who are the same in both public and private realms? Many of us are like Eleanor Rigby and keep a face by the door for public consumption.
As Executive Director, Dave Zablotny carries some rather heavy responsibilities. Dave makes sure homes get built, that families continue to learn about and enter the program, and that funding is secured to keep Habitat Cabarrus running. He oversees staff and ultimately accounts for all our activities to a board that adds and subtracts members each year which necessitates time to educate them about ins and outs of Habitat Cabarrus. It’s a short description but a long term commitment.
Dave (who prefers Dave to Mr. Zablotny) spent nearly 25 years in the banking industry before becoming the Executive Director for Habitat in Buffalo, NY. On his very first volunteer project with HSBC bank, Dave worked next to a homeowner on a Habitat for Humanity construction site. Dave was hooked. He liked helping in concept and deed - but meeting that homeowner and recognizing that a hand up is completely different from a hand out totally changed Dave’s outlook. He became devoted to Habitat for Humanity and its mission to eliminate substandard housing.
Merriam-Webster defines a servant as "a person who is devoted or guided by something". If you ask the people who work for Habitat Cabarrus and ReStore about working with Dave Zablotny they all answer with the same phrase – Servant Leader. S. Chris Edmonds, an author and organizational consultant, says servant leadership is a person’s dedication to helping others be their best selves at home, work and in their community. Mr. Edmonds has clearly met someone like Dave Zablotny.
E.B. Lentz as the financial manager appreciates Dave’s focus on strengthening Habitat Cabarrus’ financial health, pointing out that we can serve more people with strong finances. Family Services Coordinator, Shirley Kennerly values Dave’s leadership style because he is open to ideas and allows people to take on additional roles or risks. Katie Page, as director of resource development notes that Dave motivates the entire team to share his passion for Habitat and for changing the community. Dale Irvin, ReStore’s General Manager, says that Dave is very straightforward and that in everything he does the purpose is to help people whether it’s homeowners, the organization, or staff.
Dave Zablotny is like Atticus Finch; he’s the same person whether you meet him at Rotary, home, church, or Habitat Cabarrus. Dave only has one face. Right next to Dave’s chair at work is a quote from Bear Bryant that reads, “If anything goes bad, I did it; If anything goes semi good, then we did it; If anything goes real good, they did it.”
Because of good leadership WE all get to do it...
--- Your team at Habitat Cabarrus