Jen Baker is currently a Senior Associate Athletics Director at The Johns Hopkins University, where she oversees sports, the financial operations of the department, and leadership development initiatives. Jen was the Founding Director of the Big Red Leadership Institute (BRLI), Cornell University’s leadership development program for student-athletes. BRLI offers integrated leadership and personal development programming to over 500 athletes, who are organized into class-specific cohorts (freshman through team captain). Each cohort has its own proprietary curriculum that Jen designed to align with an athlete’s progression of influence and responsibility within his/her respective team. BRLI provides a learning framework that aligns with the experiential leadership development that is inherent in the athletic experience. Jen continues to collaborate with the team at Cornell on the ways in which the program engages Big Red student-athletes in impactful leadership education.
Jen’s approach to leadership development is the amalgamation of her broad and diverse experience. She is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, where she played lacrosse. After graduating, Jen was commissioned as a naval officer and served on active duty for seven years as a pilot and then an engineer. Following her military service, Jen owned a business before transitioning to teaching and coaching at the high school level.
Jen’s tenure at Cornell began in 2010 at the Johnson Graduate School of Management. She was selected as both a Roy H. Park Leadership Fellow, and also a Johnson Leadership Fellow, and she earned her MBA in 2012. She additionally earned a Masters in Mechanical Engineering (2013). During this time she worked as a marketing/strategy analyst for Intel, as an assistant instructor at The Program, LLC, and as an assistant coach for the Cornell women’s lacrosse team.
Jen’s experience with collegiate athletics helped her to see the opportunity to hone the leadership skills of athletes as part of their competitive experience. She believes it provides a close proxy to the challenges of military life that produce such acclaimed and capable leaders. It was out of this observation that the BRLI program was born, and now serves as the guiding philosophy of ALC. She enjoys working with athletics organizations looking to begin or enhance their leadership programming, and helping athletes to maximize their opportunity to develop their own leadership and followership skills.
Jen is a Visiting Lecturer of Leadership and teaches a leadership course through the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and she also frequently speaks to groups with an interest in leadership.