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Decennial Cohort of U.S. Executives Begins Prestigious Baldrige Fellowship

Ten years ago, based on an idea on how to better engage U.S. executives, a program was created to inspire senior leaders to embrace a systems perspective in pursuit of continuous improvement and innovation for their organizations’ long-term success. Participants would learn through Baldrige Award-winning organizations’ sharing of best practices and innovative strategies, seeing performance excellence in action, and building a peer network of other executives—while using the Baldrige Excellence Framework as a common language and guiding document. 

Since its inception in 2010, the Baldrige Executive Fellows Program has graduated 112 executives, whose capstone projects have ranged from overhauling strategic planning processes, creating high-reliability health care organizations, lessening patients’ reliance on opioids after surgery, improving employee engagement, engaging physicians, overhauling communication processes for diverse workforces, better preparing students for professional careers, reimagining population health and community outcomes, and innovating supplier networks. Fellows have come from all sectors of the U.S. economy and have visited and personally met with hundreds of Baldrige Award recipient senior leaders, visiting facilities, factories, hospital floors, hotels, restaurants, and airports, among other locations, to build understanding of role-model strategies to lead a high-performing organization.

In 2020, 16 new executives will become the decennial cohort to embark on a year-long journey of learning in the prestigious Baldrige Executive Fellows Program, the only executive leadership fellowship that provides one-on-one access to leaders of Baldrige Award recipient organizations. They will study how world-class U.S. organizations and their senior leaders achieve strategic and operational excellence and stimulate innovation. Within a collegial environment, the Baldrige Fellows will have a unique opportunity to compare the perspectives of executives across sectors, share candid advice on leadership challenges, and use the insights they gain to address a strategic challenge or opportunity within their own organizations as part of their individual capstone projects. 

Following is the 2020 cohort of Baldrige Fellows:

  • Jennifer Abele, Chief Medical Officer, Sibley Memorial Hospital
  • John Brennan, Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Integration Officer, WellStar Health System
  • Adam Brown, Vice President and Business Chief Information Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
  • Daniel Chibaya, Operations Executive, Adventist Health Rideout
  • Dolan Dalpoas, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital
  • Victoria Dune-Chari, Assistant Vice President, Innovation and Excellence, Kennestone, Windy Hill, AMC & AMC South Hospitals
  • Jennifer Eslinger, President, Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital
  • Keith Everett, Chief Performance and Compliance Officer, Capital Caring Health
  • Debra Fox, Vice President, Strategic Planning and Partner Integration, AtlantiCare Health System
  • Clarence Green Jr., Vice President of Culture, University Police Chief, Northwest Missouri State University
  • Kevin Lee, Chief Organ Operations Officer, Mid-America Transplant
  • Margaret Ozan Rafferty, System Chief Experience Officer, Blessing Corporate Services
  • Gordon Rice, Vice President – Heavy Industrial and Aftersales Business, Hypertherm Inc.
  • Michelle Tierney, Vice President Organizational Development and Innovation, Southcentral Foundation
  • Colleen Sullivan, Director of Communications, Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE)
  • Cinderella Tollefsen, Chief Executive Officer, Alaska Health Services, LLC

Since its inception in 2010, the Baldrige Executive Fellows Program (find out how to apply) has been nationally recognized for being among the best U.S. and global continuing-education programs for leadership development. 

In conjunction with NIST and the private sector, the Baldrige Program manages the Baldrige Award, which was named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, and established by Congress in 1987. The Baldrige Program promotes innovation and excellence in organizational performance, recognizes the achievements and results of U.S. organizations, and publicizes successful performance strategies. The Baldrige Program also offers the 2019–2020 Baldrige Excellence Framework: Proven leadership and management practices for high performance, which includes the regularly revised and world-emulated Criteria for Performance Excellence.

The Baldrige Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, supports the long-term financial growth and viability of the Baldrige Program and organizational performance excellence in the United States and throughout the world.

Released March 27, 2020