If you started your Pathways Core Training journey after 2009, it’s highly likely that Rob Willis, a playful man with a cheeky British accent, was instrumental in your training. Since graduating with Class 261, Rob has selflessly served in many roles within the organization. In the last eight years he has offered up his heart, time and energy as a TA, Team Captain, Team Mentor, Production Coordinator and on the Community Council, and has been a part of literally thousands of trainees’ journeys toward personal freedom.
Rob’s heart hasn’t always been so open. His Pathways Core Training journey didn’t start with a support system or any prior knowledge of the nature of the training – his journey was born from a desperate hope for a life experience better than the emotional basement where he was living. Upon the recommendation of his personal therapist and eventual sponsor, Rob entered the training in October 2008 as a broken, isolated man, living thousands of miles away from his family. “My brother was visiting me from England and he knew I was in a dark place after a series of very negative relationships following a divorce. We were discussing whether I should attend the Weekend training when he said, ‘Well, it can’t hurt, can it?’” Rob says that taking a chance on the training became one of the best decisions of his life.
Not only did his training give Rob the tools to successfully craft the life he craved, it gifted Pathways Core Training a fully committed and dynamic volunteer. Rob started volunteering in the training just two months after graduation and has been a consistent team member ever since. “There is very little I enjoy more than being part of a diverse team of people who check their agendas at the door and unite with a common goal of helping others find their way. Stepping into the room forces me to put the outside world on a shelf.”
Rob’s outside world includes a career at Microsoft as a software engineer and a rewarding family life with his wife Alexis (Class 297) and their new baby daughter Eve. In 2016, rather than choosing to volunteer less while awaiting the birth of their first child, Rob instead embraced even more responsibility and assumed the PC role for the Weekend/Walk. When asked why he opted to become more committed during such a busy season in his life, Rob responded, “It’s important to me that this training continues as it has always been done.”
This dedication to the organization is a truly a family affair, as Alexis also serves as a training volunteer and together they give back financially as Legacy Partners. Rob also participates in a charity program at Microsoft that reimburses for hours served by their employees. Last year Rob’s volunteer hours exceeded the company’s maximum donation cap. It’s just another way that this heart warrior gives back to Pathways Core Training.
Giving back is at the heart of all Rob does for the organization. It wasn’t until his training that Rob began to realize he was worth fighting for, and since that discovery he’s been fully devoted to the program that he says saved his life. “When I met my wife, I was two years out from graduation. What she saw in me is what I earned in that room. I firmly believe I would not have what I have today, including my baby girl, without this training. They tell you to create a great life. Boy, did I!”
Rob’s chosen word that most accurately represents his focus today is passion. He has resounding passion for the training, and loyal passion for the organization, but most of all, he is reveling in a joyful passion for life.