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Mo Fun, Mo Adventure: Mo Baldwin
June 1, 2011  |  by Mike Field
Mo Baldwin

Mo Baldwin

Getting to know the new executive director of the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association

Long before anyone heard of a “bucket list”—where you write down all those things you intend to do before you kick the bucket—Mo Baldwin kept a running tally of her dreams and goals in the back of her Day-Timer. She still has that piece of paper. It’s looking a little dog-eared now, but when she runs her finger down the well-worn list, the stories tumble out.

Run the Boston Marathon: “I did that with a friend in 2001. It was a blast; there are people with you literally every step of the way.” Check.

Exotic travel: “I learned how to ride and guide elephants at a training camp in the Golden Triangle in Thailand. Growing up on a farm riding horses, it wasn’t all that different—just much bigger.” Check.

Skip Barber Racing School: “Well no, not yet anyway, but I’d love to learn to drive a formula race car. It’s still on the list.” No check.

And her new job as executive director of the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association? “It’s not specifically on the list, but it definitely marks the fulfillment of many of the things I wrote down, especially involving leading a really dynamic organization with a multifaceted mission.” Check, check, and double check.

Throughout her career, Baldwin has helped both for-profit and nonprofit companies—ranging from Owens Corning to the Enterprise Foundation—meet new goals and realize new opportunities through thoughtful analysis and big-picture brainstorming. Baldwin is all about creating synergy, a word she likes to use in her new job to describe the ability to connect alumni to each other and to the university in sometimes surprising ways. She says, “I see my role as helping to foster the alumni community by capitalizing on existing successes.”

Mo Baldwin

“I love going to the unexplored,” says Mo Baldwin, who ran the Boston Marathon and learned to guide elephants in Thailand.

A Maryland native (that family farm she grew up on was just north of Baltimore City), Baldwin left home to attend Princeton University, where she majored in art history. As an undergrad, her work included a senior thesis that delved into the emotional intentionality of the artwork of American abstract expressionist Mark Rothko. She laughs about her attempt at formally explaining the emotional power of Rothko’s famous blocks of color, saying that project may have been at least partially responsible for her subsequent decision to go to business school at Northwestern.

Prior to assuming her new role in February, Baldwin worked as a consultant for multiple national clients, including Johns Hopkins University, where she helped conduct qualitative research to help different Johns Hopkins schools and centers plan for future growth. “Working with different parts of the university gave me a unique perspective and especially gave me some insights into the graduate experience,” she says. “What I like to do is pull together various threads, form new combinations, and in some way create a new picture. Johns Hopkins is a wonderful place to do that.”


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