Hi Fay!

A big change…

As I prepared to write my first blog about leadership development I wondered, how did I get started down this path? Of course that as children our parents play an important role in our initial formation. However, at some point as we grow, and hopefully mature, leadership development is a personal decision.

Right out of college, I moved from Puerto Rico to Houston Texas for my first job as a young engineer.  Since my original goal was to be an astronaut, I was very excited about a job to work on Space Shuttle Software applications. To be honest, I was more scared than excited. God saw fit that my first officemate was to be Ms. Fay Linda Moore.

Who was she?

Fay (never ending with an E!) had a presence that conveyed friendliness, confidence, high standards and a do-not-mess-with-me vibe all mixed into one heck of a first impression. Little did I know that on that day I would meet my first leadership mentor without even knowing what a mentor was or did. That day also marked the beginning to one of those friendships of a lifetime.

Fay also happened to be the team lead for our group. She ran a tight ship and as such she was passionate about documentation, continuous improvement, a job well done and giving praise when praise was due. Anyone who ever worked with her quickly learned that the job would be completed with a high standard of quality and it would many times go beyond what was required to ensure nothing was missed (complete staff work as she called it).

Legacy

As the years went by I learned so much from Fay. With time, our work situations changed but no matter what, when we faced challenges and needed support, we were always there for each other and we took turns reminding one another that when in doubt we had to focus on the basics.

As I look back, I can honestly say that all the skills I learned from Fay were the foundation for my engineering career.  Many of those skills are the same ones I use now in my leadership career. So how did I get started down the path of leadership development?  It started when a mentor showed up in my life and was kind enough to not only train me but to show me the way. I miss my friend Fay. She passed away in 2016.

I promised I would!

As I close this first entry of my blog, I wanted to pay tribute to Fay in two ways, in appreciation for the solid foundation she provided for my adult life. First, I am including an essay that her daughter Trina Moore wrote which helps you know more about Fay.

Secondly, I wanted to share a memorable routine we had in our office. Many times she made me promise that if I ever made it as an astronaut (or anything else big), one of my main tasks was to give her some credit! We would go through the motions and laughed so hard we almost ended up crying every time this came up. So, just as we practiced over and over and over again, here are the words she wanted me to say:

“Hi Fay!”

Sincerely,

Luis Ortiz


Fay Linda Moore
Fay Linda Moore

My Mama’s Hands

By Trina Moore

When I was a kid – I loved looking at my mama’s hands. She always had her nails beautifully shaped and polished – oval – which is a less common shape, which is very fitting because she was a less common woman. Her hands were smooth deep caramel colored; they always seemed regal to me. She would spend a couple hours on the weekend taking care of them, shaping, polishing – then making me spend the next couple hours being hand servant – cause she wasn’t touching NOTHING till that polish dried!

My mama would do all kinds of things with her hands – she was a MEAN typist – 60 words a minute easy. She’d cook with those hands – just THROW DOWN in the kitchen. She taught me with those hands – math problems, reading and such. And she’d scold me with those hands – oh who am I kidding? She beat my TAIL with those hands! LOL

And, she held me with those hands. She isn’t the lovey-dovey type, but she cared hard in the moments I needed it. She would rub my back with Vicks (ick!!!) and put hot towels on my back to soothe me – with those hands. She always animated her conversation with her hands, she made stories come alive with the twist of her wrist or a swift swath across the table in front of her. My mama could make a point in a conversation and win a debate – not with words, but with those hands.

When she had her stroke, she lost feeling in them a bit, she typed a little slower, things took a little longer. She found it harder to hold onto some things. I’m happy to help – but she liked to do for herself, she was very prideful – and liked to do things by her own hand – with those hands.

I sat in church one night and the lady in front of me had her hand in the air – she wasn’t my mom’s color or height or anything, really – but her hands were like my mom’s – beautifully cared for. It brought back to me so simply how elegant, how beautiful my mama’s hands are. And that it is symbolic of her – beautiful, elegant, well cared for and strong. In that moment, I remembered and fell in love again, with my mama’s hands.

15 thoughts on “Hi Fay!”

  1. I love this blog and am moved to tears by it. My youngest daughter, Cindy, has always talked about her grandmothers’ hands. She said that her grandmother Barnett was always in the kitchen – chopping, slicing, cutting, stirring, etc. Cindy remembers her busy hands. My mother practically ran to greet us when we arrived with her hands outstretched for a hug. Cindy says she remembers the back of grandmother Barnett’s hands – always working. She remembers the palms of my mother’s hands reaching out to her. So special

  2. Luis, just Luis!
    It is amazing how the stories we collect along the way of our life shape and mold us into the person we are today. I imagine Fay would have some great stories to share about you, as well. Godspeed on your leadership journey!

  3. Reading this article, I feel like I know Fay. Even though I met her many years ago, I was never a close friend. Thanks Luis for starting your leadership blog with this wonderful tribute to a wonderful person!

  4. So inspiring to hear about the people who leave an impression on our lives and many of them never realize those words or actions leave us changed forever. What is the key is, you Luis, don’t let it stop there. You give us the opportunity to pay it forward. By sharing this story we may decide to be a Fay to others. Keep the good news coming.

  5. Hola Luis. Great blog and a very touching story. It made me think of what’s really important in life and that we sometimes set aside as we focus on the not so important things. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Luis, I just realized that I have known Fay all this time because what I’ve learned from you. I suddenly met her, I suddenly realized the lessons learned from her/you that are in me. I suddenly felt the grief of the loss of a wonderful woman who has influenced my life too. I suddenly became happy to celebrate her life of influence and leadership.

    Leadership is about developing other leaders to pass the batton forward in the journey of life of making a difference in whatever you are called to do or whatever you have a passion for, or better yet in your present life today in every moment.

    So since there is something of Fay in me through your leadership influence in me, next time I speak on a stage about trauma informed care systems transformation and becoming a caring Champion (leader) I will acknowledge and remember Fay.
    I have been thinking about incorporating telling a story into my presentation. I have tried a few ones but none have resonated deeply in my heart like Fay’s. You just brought light to me through this blog. I loved how her daughter’s writing on her mom’s hands adds to get to know Fay even more. The acknowledgment of leadership in all the forms including parenting.
    So this is how I’m going to start my presentation next time I stand on a stage to help develop Trauma Informed Care Champions throughout the state or the nation…
    ” Hi Fay!”

  7. Hey Luis, congratulations on your first post. It is encouraging to see you go forward with your passions. So many of us think about doing, but don’t actually do. What is the main lesson for us to learn in this article? I’m guessing, in order to lead you first have to follow, good followers can make good leaders.

  8. Hi Luis,

    Love your blog. Let me preface my posting by saying how proud I am at your accomplishments. I have read through your blog and found myself welling up in the process. It is amazing and heart felt. As I read through it, I was thinking of mom and how I must care for her and ensure quality of life for her. I am so glad your life has touched mine because I have always learned from you. I wish you much luck with the blog. I know it will be a huge success. Thanks for sharing my friend. Un abrazo, y bendiciones.

  9. Hi Luis,

    Congratulations! What a great blog paying tribute to Fay in appreciation to her and how she shaped your life during your time together. If we all could be as lucky to have Fay in our lives. Thank you for sharing and the lessons learned that I will think about.

  10. ¡Hermano Luis!
    This is great writing, my friend. To have us laughing, crying, and reflecting–all in the same article–is a sign of a great author. I appreciated your leadership very much already, and I look forward to reading more about your life experiences and lessons learned. ¡Bendiciones!

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