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The Official Baldrige Blog

Meet the 2021 Baldrige Judges: An Interview with Keith Everett

Baldrige Judges Panel Keith Everett with a background panel of people having a discussion.
2021 Judges Panel Blog Series

Each year we interview the newest members of the Judges’ Panel of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award to share their individual insights and perspectives on the award process, their experiences, and the Baldrige framework and approach to organizational improvement in general.

The primary role of the Judges’ Panel is to ensure the integrity of the Baldrige Award selection process. At the panel’s annual meeting in August, the judges review data from Baldrige examiner teams’ scoring of written applications (the Independent and Consensus Review processes), then vote on which applicants to advance to Site Visit Review (the third and final examination stage), in which examiners will verify and clarify their performance in all seven Criteria categories of the Baldrige Excellence Framework. At the panel’s annual meeting In November, the judges review reports and other documentation from site visits in order to recommend to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce which organizations to name as U.S. role models—Baldrige Award recipients. No judge participates in any discussion of an organization for which he/she has a real or perceived conflict of interest. Judges each serve for a period of three years.

Meet Baldrige Judge Keith Everett

Photo of Keith Everett 2021 Baldrige Judges Panel.


Keith T. Everett
Chief Officer, Performance, Cultural Operations and Compliance
Capital Caring Health



What experiences led you to the role of Baldrige judge?

I’ve experienced an interesting journey, which started in 2005. I was first exposed to the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program by a former mentor who was selected as a Baldrige examiner. This exposure led me to apply to become a Baldrige examiner, too, in 2018. That experience and a combination of personal passion and a commitment to excellence led me here.

How do you see the Baldrige Excellence Framework (including the Criteria for Performance Excellence) as valuable to health care organizations today?

While this may sound like a cliché, the Baldrige framework gives organizations the foundation for performance excellence. Any organization (especially those in health care) wants and needs a framework to build both a horizonal strategy and a vertical strategy for success. The Baldrige framework helps organizations identify how they lead, implement strategy, work with their customers, measure performance, engage their workforce, operationalize their processes, and obtain their desired results.

How do you apply Baldrige principles/concepts in your current work experience/employer?

Every element of the framework is part of my daily work. This includes how I lead, implement strategy, engage our patients and workforce, monitor our operations, measure performance, and review performance results. 

As a Baldrige judge, what are your hopes for this year's judging process? For instance, is there anything you'd like to help applicants and potential Baldrige Award applicants understand about the process?

As I am a first-year judge, my aims are to first learn and fully understand the process. For potential Baldrige Award applicants, I would advise ensuring that you are ready, for example, by doing a Baldrige self-assessment [using the Baldrige Criteria questions]. This will give you the opportunity to take a comprehensive look at your organization. Keep in mind that the completion of the Organizational Profile, the prefatory section of the Criteria, is the key to your application. Ensure that the excellent work you are doing points back to what is important to your organization, and this information should be in your Organizational Profile.

What encouragement/advice would you give Baldrige examiners for their work in evaluating organizations as part of the Baldrige Award process?

As a former examiner, I truly appreciate the work that happens in the Independent Review phase of the Baldrige Award evaluation process. This process is essential to painting a clear picture to the organization. Continue this work; seeing the organization through your collective eyes allows us [as members of the Judges Panel] to better make decisions on which organizations move to the next level.

Judges Panel Blog Series: Previous Blogs

Patricia Skriba (Panel Chair)
Cary Hill
Christopher Laxton
Dr. Kevin Johnson
Kevin McManus
Dr. Brigitta Mueller
Bruce Requa
Meridith Wentz
Gary Wilson

2021-2022 Baldrige Excellence Framework Business/Nonprofit feature image

Baldrige Excellence Framework

The Baldrige Excellence Framework has empowered organizations to accomplish their missions, improve results, and become more competitive. It includes the Criteria for Performance Excellence, core values and concepts, and guidelines for evaluating your processes and results.

Purchase your copy today!

Available versions: Business/Nonprofit, Education, and Health Care

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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