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Developing A Mission-First Focus With Johns Hopkins’ Jennifer Baker

Guest Jennifer S. Baker, Johns Hopkins University
27:10 min watch


Johns Hopkins Director of Athletics & Recreation Jennifer Baker joins ADU’s Steph Garcia Cichosz at the 2023 NACDA Convention to discuss her mission-first leadership style, a philosophy that stemmed from her seven-year service in the Navy and includes tenets such as defining authentic leadership, communicating “Commander’s Intent” and developing Operating Standards to translate core values into policy and procedures. Baker also discusses the creation of her Developing Athlete Leaders program and the future of leadership in the social media era.

The conversation is indexed below for efficient viewing (click the time stamp to jump to a specific question/topic).

  • - What called you to serve in the Navy and what leadership lessons did you learn from that season of your life? 
  • - Would you have said that 14-year-old Jen Baker was drawn to things like challenge, history and tradition?
  • - What is your process for defining and then continuously refining your personal and professional mission?
  • - Do you try to keep your personal and professional values and purpose linked? Is it a lifestyle or do you strive to keep things in their separate lanes?
  • - How do you take that authentic leadership style into the hiring process and building out your team? 
  • - Walk me through the evolution of the various leadership development programs you've created for student-athletes. How do they reflect your overall leadership philosophy?
  • - How do you provide feedback to your team - administrators and coaches?
  • - What's your first piece of advice to administrators for providing feedback to student-athletes?
  • - The student-athlete experience is (arguably) shifting from "we" to "me" with NIL, the transfer portal, the concept of a personal brand. How will these new experiences impact the next generation of leaders?
  • - Why is lacrosse synonymous with the Johns Hopkins brand?
  • - What's the secret to developing a championship culture for lacrosse as well as the rest of the department and sport programs?