Billy Blake ’99 chose Shenandoah to be a part of the men’s basketball team, which was composed of gentlemen who he considers to be his family to this day. Blake also met his wife, Iyona Garner Blake ’00, while studying at the university.
During his time at Shenandoah, he achieved scoring accomplishments as a basketball player, made the dean’s list in his last semester and was a member of the Student Government Association.
“SU is an institution that prepares leaders to make an impact in the workplace, community and in their homes,” said Blake. “It’s the place where my childhood best friend, Alfred Duncan ’99 and I became young men.”
He is still active in the Shenandoah community as a member of the Shenandoah University Black Alumni Network, a newly formed alumni group that came together in 2020.
Blake is the chief information officer for Global Communities, an international development and humanitarian aid organization. In this position, he leads efforts to use technology in new and innovative ways to enhance the organization’s ability to carry out its mission and helps align various investments with the organization’s business strategy. Blake is also “responsible for Global Communities technology roadmap that supports business process improvements, innovation, impact and organizational growth.”
Outside of work, he is a founding member of Black Men Ventures, which aims to “create access to capital for Black Men Founders” and to “narrow the wealth gap by promoting and supporting Black Men Founders through multiple aspects of their Entrepreneurship endeavors.”
The most rewarding part of Blake’s career is helping organizations to achieve sustainable impact for underrepresented communities. He also enjoys developing leaders and mentoring professionals on their career journeys.
Blake believes his Shenandoah education prepared him for the corporate work culture. “I gained my initial experience in technology as a work study student for the school’s computer lab and IT Helpdesk,” said Blake.
Blake’s advice to students is: “Be a sponge for knowledge. Be humble, but determined. Identify mentors in technology and ask lots of questions. Be detailed and goal oriented. Be committed to your goals. Be purpose driven. Know who you aspire to be as an individual first and work at it unwaveringly.”
Written by Harley Ryan ’16
Assistant Director of Donor & Alumni Relations