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The Official Baldrige Blog

Baldrige Examiners as Ambassadors: Spotlight on Marlene Yanovsky

head shot of Baldrige Examiner Marlene Yanovsky

Baldrige Examiner Marlene Yanovsky; photo used with permission.

Seasoned Baldrige examiners often act as vocal advocates—sometimes giving formal presentations as “Baldrige ambassadors”—for the Baldrige Program. Whether they work as management consultants or in wide-ranging professions within business, health care, education, or nonprofit organizations, Baldrige examiners find many opportunities to share the value of the Baldrige Excellence Framework (which includes the Criteria for Performance Excellence) to help organizations improve their leadership, planning, customer and employee engagement, knowledge and data management, operations, and more for long-term success.


As one example of a Baldrige volunteer’s formal engagement as an ambassador for the program, alumni examiner Marlene Yanovsky (who is employed as a consultant) earlier this year visited a graduate class at John Jay College in New York City at the request of the professor, Dr. Jeanne-Marie Col. According to Yanovsky, students in Col’s class were pursuing a master’s degree in public administration. Most already held full-time jobs and planned to pursue employment in city administration. Essentially, their coursework was preparing them to be the next generation of public officials. Col wanted her students to learn about the Baldrige Excellence Framework since she had recently read about it and found it relevant to both business and government administration in the United States as well as to her international work for the United Nations.

“Even before knowing about the Baldrige framework,” said Yanovsky, “Dr. Col had been introducing the same ideas in her work for the United Nations of helping governments of emerging countries achieve sustainable-development goals.” Reflecting on what she learned from visiting Col’s graduate class at John Jay College, Yanovsky said, “First of all, I found it interesting to learn that graduates of the school include the chief of police for New York City. There are a lot of very senior people who have attended the school.”

Yanovsky was pleased to help the students understand the value of using the Baldrige framework in their future public-sector work. She summed up her presentation this way: “I went over the history of the Baldrige Program, discussed the Baldrige Criteria format and the process that an organization goes through to submit an application for a Baldrige Award evaluation, and I went over the Baldrige framework and made it come to life using examples from Baldrige Award recipients.”

“We discussed organizational process extensively in relation to the Baldrige Criteria,” she continued. “And we talked about how organizations that use the Baldrige Criteria understand their customers’ requirements and, in addressing those requirements, achieve better results.”

Yanovsky made clear that she was also pleased by the engagement of the class in the presentation: “The students were very attentive and asked questions,” she recalled. “Some of their questions related to their current work lives and showed that they were trying to apply the Baldrige Criteria, for example, in regard to leadership.” “I think this was their final year—many of them are scheduled to graduate this year and move into the public sector,” she added. “I hope the Baldrige framework is something they will continue to think about and, as they mature in their public-sector careers, that each of them will use the framework to support the performance of their organization.”

Beyond her John Jay College visit, Yanovsky said she often speaks informally to people she meets about the value of the Baldrige framework: “I just do it as part of my everyday life; I don’t realize that I’m serving as a Baldrige ambassador.” “You don’t want to sit next to me on an airplane if you don’t want to hear about Baldrige,” she added, with a laugh, “especially when I get upgraded to business class and the person sitting next to me asks what I do for a living!”

About the author

Christine Schaefer

Christine Schaefer is a longtime staff member of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP). Her work has focused on producing BPEP publications and communications. She also has been highly involved in the Baldrige Award process, Baldrige examiner training, and other offerings of the program.

She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Virginia, where she was an Echols Scholar and a double major, receiving highest distinction for her thesis in the interdisciplinary Political & Social Thought Program. She also has a master's degree from Georgetown University, where her studies and thesis focused on social and public policy issues. 

When not working, she sits in traffic in one of the most congested regions of the country, receives consolation from her rescued beagles, writes poetry, practices hot yoga, and tries to cultivate a foundation for three kids to direct their own lifelong learning (and to PLEASE STOP YELLING at each other—after all, we'll never end wars if we can't even make peace at home!).

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Marlene is a true and natural ambassador. A presentation to excited future leaders is best because, out of them, one is assured of 25-30% early adopters who would themselves be an inspiration to their colleagues and friends. Coming from the South African Excellence Foundation route myself, I am inspired by the relevance of the Baldridge Excellence Framework. Transformation of the Public Sector is the best way for a wider deployment of the wonderful organisational performance assessment tool because of the wider impact.
Marlene is not only a Baldrige expert but she is also very pleasant, fun and extremely kind! Her examiner knowledge extends to helping organizations truly improve, not just pursue an award! She shares her passion for the framework because she has seen the proven results time and time again! Any organization would be fortunate to have Marlene on their examiner team!
Thanks for your comment, Jan--I agree! And Marlene is part of a prodigious corps of seasoned examiners who have generously shared their knowledge of the value of the Baldrige Excellence Framework to help organizations in every sector improve. By the way, we welcome more stories like this. Baldrige examiners: please let us know about your presentations about the Baldrige framework within education and other organizations.

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