Kathy Baker has been named director of Wake Forest University Babcock Graduate School of Management's Family Business Center ~ Triad and Charlotte Metro, beginning July 1.
Baker, associate director of the center since October 2005, replaces Tom Ogburn, who is retiring. "Her background with Leo Burnett Advertising, Long John Silver's and Laura's Lean Beef in various marketing positions, as well as her teaching experience as an adjunct professor of marketing at the undergraduate Calloway Business School, have given her a unique expertise to guide our organization forward," Ogburn said. "Kathy, along with Rhonda Stokes in Charlotte and Kristen Tetrault, has some very exciting plans for the future."
Baker earned an MBA from DePaul University and a bachelor's degree in finance from Illinois State University. She has more than 15 years' experience in marketing communications, including national television and print advertising, relationship marketing programs, event-based marketing and point-of-purchase merchandising for consumer products.
Baker began her career with Leo Burnett Advertising in Chicago, managing account service responsibilities for agency clients including McDonald's, Procter & Gamble and Miller Brewing Co. She went on to serve as advertising manager for Long John Silver's Restaurants and as director of advertising and marketing for Laura's Lean Beef Co., both in Lexington, Ky.
In 1998, Baker and her family moved to Winston-Salem when her husband joined the faculty at Wake Forest's Calloway School of Business and Accountancy. She was soon recruited to teach marketing and marketing communications as an adjunct professor.
Growing up in a family business, Baker has a heart for, and keen interest in, the field. As associate director, Baker developed growth strategies for the Family Business Center ~ Triad and Charlotte Metro, maintained strong relationships with center members, and supervised all educational programming.
As director, Baker plans to increase awareness of the many contributions family-owned businesses make to their communities.
"Family businesses play an important role in their industries and communities by providing economic growth, creating jobs and supporting civic causes. I would like to create an awards program to recognize these companies and reward their commitment to both business and family."
The Family Business Center, established in 1999 under the Angell Center for Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest's Babcock School, addresses issues faced by closely held and family firms. The member-based organization uses the capabilities and educational resources at Wake Forest, in the community and beyond to provide closely held and family firms the assistance they need to grow and succeed from generation to generation.
Member dues and corporate sponsors BB&T, RSM McGladrey, SMSi, and Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice fund the Family Business Center.
"We appreciate the financial support of our corporate sponsors, but value their active participation in our program even more," Baker says. "Our sponsors add so much to our event calendar every year, with presentations and roundtable discussions on current topics in their areas of expertise."
The significant growth of the Family Business Center ~ Triad generated extensive interest from the Charlotte community to open a Family Business Center to address the needs of closely held firms in the Charlotte Metro area. FBC Charlotte sponsors are Poyner & Spruill and RSM McGladrey.
The Babcock School, with its array of MBA program offerings, has served the Charlotte community since 1995 from One Morrocroft Centre in the city's SouthPark area. The success and the growth of both programs have made it one of the fastest-growing family business centers in the U.S.
Wake Forest's Babcock School offers five MBA programs: full-time, evening and fast-track executive MBA programs in Winston-Salem, and evening and Saturday MBA programs in Charlotte. The school also offers a 10-month MA in Management program designed specifically for recent college graduates who have majored in liberal arts and sciences and want to learn fundamentals of business and management.