Baldrige is not just a public-private partnership or a group of role-model organizations and practitioners seeking continuous improvement. Baldrige has always been a close-knit community, and very recently, the Baldrige community lost one of its own.
Mary Kay Fyda-Mar, who for the past 11 years has served as a Baldrige examiner, senior examiner, alumni examiner, training facilitator, case study reviewer, site visit team leader, and judge, passed away on October 30. Mary Kay had most recently been serving on the Baldrige Panel of Judges and participated in the selection of award applicant organizations for site visits in August 2017. At the November judges’ meeting this week, a plaque at the table honors her contributions.
Over the summer, the Baldrige Program interviewed Mary Kay on her experiences with Baldrige and performance excellence. As a message to Baldrige examiners and others involved in this volunteer work, she said, “You gain valuable insight into the practices of outstanding organizations on a journey to excellence, and you work with some of the brightest, most dedicated people: other Baldrige examiners. You can be proud that your volunteer service contributes to the quality and competitiveness of American businesses and organizations.”
Mary Kay was retired from The Boeing Company, where she worked for nearly 30 years. Her positions within the company included program management, business operations, resource management, strategic planning, project management, systems engineering, and software engineering. It was at Boeing, when she served as director of business excellence, that Mary Kay became involved with the Baldrige Criteria. After her retirement, she said she continued to use the Baldrige framework and principles while serving on the boards of various nonprofit organizations. For example, she said she used the Organizational Profile to develop a description of a local arts organization for use in fundraising.
The Program had been in conversations with Mary Kay’s sister, Carol, and her daughter, Christina, since learning she was in the hospital in critical condition. In sharing the sad news of her passing, Christina said, “Before she passed we told her that you all were sending your love and best wishes. She loved the Baldrige Program so much and always talked about it fondly.”
A service is being held on November 8. Donations are being accepted in her honor at her favorite organizations: