David Faro (HS’89)

David Faro (HS’89)

David Faro (HS’89) has lived and worked with some of the most privileged people on the planet.

As the former Enrichment Director of The World—the largest private luxury expedition ship sailing on the world’s oceans—David’s job was to ensure that people living on the ship had access to a first-class lifestyle while visiting many of the world’s top destinations. From seeing penguins in Antarctica to enjoying sport fishing in Zihuatanejo, the experiences available to the residents of this ship’s palatial suites were up-close-and-personal. Through a lot of it, David Faro had the good fortune to be front and centre.

“Sometimes I feel like I’ve been everywhere in the world, twice. I’ve visited all seven continents and over 150 countries,” the enigmatic changemaker enthuses. “Part of my job was to build a network of leading academics to fly in and educate our residents on every point of interest imaginable. If they wanted to climb mountains, the ship brought us to places like Alaska and we made it happen. If they wanted to scuba dive, we voyaged to the Great Barrier Reef. If residents wanted to learn about Shackleton and his famous voyage, we brought them to the South Atlantic Ocean to follow in his footsteps.”

David met his wife Tricia on board, and the two lived a life most people only dream about. “We worked 16-hour days together to give residents whatever they wanted. My job was to help lead and maintain the lifestyle, education, and entertainment expectations on board. Tricia was a big part of the team that helped accomplish that.”

During his time at Luther, David was probably the one considered least likely to rub shoulders with the world’s elite. In fact, he was a bit of a dark horse amongst his peers. “I wasn’t the star academic or athlete. In fact, I was a rough kid, not easy to educate—an artsy type who loved musical theatre and played guitar in chapel. I was a PK—the pastor’s kid—and I questioned everything. My parents taught at Luther. Their friends were my teachers. If they challenged me, I challenged them back. I was rebellious,” he says, smiling at the memory. “Our education was couched in Lutheran principles, but all of us were encouraged to stretch and become bigger versions of ourselves through critical thinking. There’s deep value in that gift.”

While many of his peers went off to university, David travelled the globe, played folk music, planted trees, hitchhiked coast to coast, worked in the fishing industry, and opened art galleries in Sarasota, Florida. While it sounds like David earned a degree in the university of life, he also holds a Master of Public Administration.

“My first dreams were of being a rock star, and I spent six years touring the country with a band called Aunt Betsy. Our gig was acoustic, and it emerged from singing around Lutheran campfires,” he says. “In between making music, I rode motorcycles across Europe, India, and Southeast Asia. When Aunt Betsy started to take off, we moved to downtown Chicago, with a 32nd-floor apartment and a recording studio across the street.”

At the pinnacle of Aunt Betsy’s career, just as they were about to record their fourth album, a member of the band was struck and gravely injured while crossing the street to the studio. “It was horrific. We went outside and there were helicopters and police everywhere,” David recalls.

This seminal moment changed everything, and the band ceased to exist. “I sold everything and packed up and moved back to Washington state. I developed my love of the mountains and mountaineering there as a child. I needed some more of that,” he says.

In fact, David spent the next decade climbing, even though he readily admits it’s a dangerous sport.

“There’s not a serious climber out there who doesn’t know someone who’s lost their life.” For David, the pain of having lost loved ones to mountain adventures is deep. It’s taken years to come to terms with that time in his life. Yet he continues to return to the mountains. “For me, it’s about beauty,” he says simply. “It’s about connecting with energy that only mountains deliver.”

Today, David and Tricia have two sons, Isaiah, 16, and Leo, 11. “We’ve mostly home-schooled them—we’re the weird educator parents offering our kids experiential, child-led learning,” he laughs. “I lean on many of the life lessons that were shared with me by great educators like Rick Nostbakken and Randy Brooks. Our kids are now in the public system (in Olympia, Washington), but we’ve worked hard to raise well-rounded thinkers who, I hope, question everything.”

David’s world travels and unorthodox career path have given him a keen perspective on building collaborative networks. In addition to running his own podcast highlighting the adventures of other Luther grads, David now holds a national position that focuses on workforce development strategies in the hospitality industry. “I work with people aiming to see how things fit together today, and then see how they’d like things to fit together in the future. I work to make meaningful change happen.”

David says he’s lived the kind of life where he has wanted for nothing. “I’ve been blessed with so much,” he confides. “I deeply value people who seek opportunities to give something back to their communities. There’s a scholarship that honors my sister Jeniffer’s memory by giving opportunities to young people who love to sing. My younger sister Katie’s career gives back every day as an advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing. My parents are living examples of lives given in service to others. I hope I do the same, in my own small ways.”