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Inclusion

Rick Baker

He/Him

VP, Enterprise Architecture & Applications

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Talk to me about a place where you can be yourself.

Anywhere that I’m surrounded by my family, my wife, my three children, and my grandchildren. I feel I can let my guard down and I feel most like myself.

What has been your biggest teachable or meaningful moment that you’ve experienced so far?

So, I thought I was an adult before having children…until I was in the delivery room for the birth of my first child, Caitlin. That experience changed me immediately. Oh, I broke down in tears but that was just happiness. I immediately became aware of the awesome responsibility that I have as an individual and a parent to foster a safe environment for her and for her future. Her birth made me look back on my childhood in the ’70s when racial prejudice and discrimination were high. I vowed that my children would grow up in a welcoming environment for all people. I am grateful my children grew up in a diverse community in Northern Virginia.

What excites you about your field or industry right now?

I’ve had a long newspaper career. What I love about the newspaper is that it represents the community it serves. So, what excites me is taking the quality and pride of the newspaper and transforming it into a high-quality digital product as well. And it’s not easy. Though we’ve done a lot of work in that area, we still have a lot more to do, while keeping our moral standards. The daily miracle of the newspaper is that we are providing the community with a view of their entire community in printed form every day and now that same quality of journalism will be translated into a digital form which will increase its reach and impact.

If you were to win an award, what would be your walk-up song?

So my Granddaughter, Taulia’s favorite song is “Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog,” from the Mickey Mouse clubhouse, and every time we sing it, she dances. It has the jazzy horns in a lot of Motown songs. Growing up in the 70s and in Detroit, it’s hard not to be a Motown fan. So, I will choose that song and bring her up on stage with me.

If you could talk about something for 30 minutes without preparation, what would it be and why?

Other than the Marvel movies, I mean, I could talk to you about them from start to finish. I can talk about leadership and teamwork. I played football at Eastern Michigan, so I know what it’s like to be on a team that has many personalities and backgrounds. From that experience, I learned that it is critical to understand your team. Then went it comes to leadership, I love people and it’s the best part of my job. The people that I work with side by side every day are hugely important to me. Leadership in my mind is about providing opportunities for every individual to have meaning in their role, regardless of what it is. They all want to be successful at it. Leadership means you will be working with a team in most cases. Therefore, it is my view that the only way we can be successful as a team is if every person has an opportunity to have their point of view heard.

What is one piece of managerial advice that you will provide to up-and-coming managers?

Listen to your team. You’re going to have plenty of opportunities to do budgets, lead projects, and get things done. There are a lot of business objectives that you must achieve but you must listen to your team. Listen to your peers. Listen to your boss. Listen to everybody and then you must make the decisions. Then take accountability if something doesn’t work out.

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