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The Official Baldrige Blog

Why Be a Baldrige Examiner: "Passion for Improving Products and Businesses"

Pat Griffith, a Baldrige examiner, is holding the Baldrige Excellence Framework booklet in Tanzania next to a hospital sign in Swahili.
Credit: Pat Griffith

Where in the world is this woman (in the photo above) holding a Baldrige Excellence Framework booklet?

We’ll reveal the answer in a bit. First, let’s identify her: she is Baldrige alumni examiner Patrice (“Pat”) Griffith. By day she is employed as director of  quality improvement and safety at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

But by night—at least during the annual season of Baldrige Award applicant evaluations—Pat can often be found serving U.S. organizations in a variety of sectors and states as a Baldrige examiner. This volunteer work entails reading and analyzing comprehensive information about a U.S. organization against the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence and communicating findings with an assigned team of examiners who are connected online or through conference calls. Pat has progressed to the status of alumni examiner after steadily serving since she first joined the all-volunteer Board of Examiners for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2001.

In the following interview, Pat shares some benefits and highlights of her experiences as a Baldrige examiner. 

How did you first become interested in being a Baldrige examiner? 

My interest in Baldrige started at the state level with the Quality Texas Foundation (Baldrige-based) program. After a couple of years, I wanted to do more at the national level.

What were your impressions and highlights of your first training (the Examiner Preparation Course)? 

I was overwhelmed at my first examiner training class. But the more experienced examiners helped and mentored me to understand the Baldrige Criteria and write actionable feedback for Baldrige Award applicants.

Would you please share some memorable learning experiences you've had as an examiner on a site visit (the third and final phase of the Baldrige Award process)?

I think site visits are the best experiences of the examiner process. I’ve been able to work with some of the most intelligent people who share a passion for improving products and businesses in our country.

All site visits are memorable because a diverse group of people come together as a team to provide feedback to help an organization improve its products and services and be a role model for businesses in the USA.

I also have lasting friendships as a result of site visit experiences. My most memorable “fun” experience during a site visit was traveling to a remote applicant site in a private jet.

How have you applied learning from your service as a Baldrige examiner to your work with organizations in health care and other sectors?

I’ve worked in the manufacturing, health care, and education sectors while I’ve been a  Baldrige examiner, and in every position I can apply Baldrige concepts. My experience as an examiner helps me see how my business is organized and how it can be improved to better serve all its stakeholders.

Would you please reveal the location where you most recently took a photo with your Baldrige framework booklet?

Yes: Tanzania

A few years ago I went to Muhimbili National Hospital in Tanzania (as a volunteer) to help the Central Pathology Laboratory prepare for ISO 15189 certification. I used the Baldrige Criteria to help the laboratory leaders organize their quality system.

The sign in the photo is written in Swahili and indicates “Main Hospital Laboratory,” followed by the names of laboratory departments.

Enrich Your Career and Improve Organizational Performance

Become A Baldrige Examiner. People in a business setting having a discussion. Credit:

2018 Baldrige Examiner Training LEAD Award winner for custom content programming continuing education program with emphasis on leadership/organizational development.

Become a Baldrige Examiner

If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind professional development and networking opportunity, and the chance to make a meaningful contribution to organizational improvement and U.S. competitiveness, apply to serve as a volunteer on the Baldrige Board of Examiners.

Application Opens: November 26, 2018

The 2019 Board of Examiner Application will open in November 2018 and close in January 2019.


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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Pat is a one of our QTF Fellows.

When we were reviewing her credentials, someone asked, "What is it that she hasn't done?"

That's the kind of person Pat is. She goes well-beyond everyone's expectations. She has her own criteria for excellent performance. That's why she is in performing service in Tanzania.

Thank you for sharing those kudos for Pat, Barry!

Readers: For more information on the Quality Texas Foundation (QTF), the website is QTF is a member of the nonprofit Alliance for Performance Excellence and a partner of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program with an annual Baldrige Criteria-based awards program for businesses and nonprofit, health care, and education organizations in Texas.

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