(916) 481-4488 heidi@kolbecompany.com

Lynda Baker

Profile

Ms. Baker is president and founder of MeetingSolution and a leader in the field of group process consultation and meeting facilitation. She has served on the board of directors of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF), as past president of the Austin, Texas chapter of the Association for Talent Development and on the regional board of the Southwest Facilitators Network. Her co-authored chapter on facilitator competencies appears in the landmark publication, IAF Handbook of Group Facilitation, (Jossey-Bass, 2005). She also served on the editorial board of Group Facilitation: A Research and Applications Journal, published by IAF. 

Lynda has worked with clients and colleagues and presented at facilitaion conferences in Asia, Canada and throughout the United States. She has more than 30 years of organization development, training, strategic planning, and facilitation experience in the combined fields of higher education, government, non-profit and private sectors. Cited as a creative senior-level organizational development professional with a passion for finding the right process to engage collaboration for problem solving, decision-making and action planning; she is particularly skilled at surfacing clarity that leads to productive outcomes and action plans across organizational levels.

Employment History

  • President, Certified Facilitator – MeetingSolution
  • Assessor – International Association of Facilitators, Institute of Cultural Affairs
  • Stakeholder Engagement Manager – Texas Department of Information Resources 
  • Strategic Communications Specialist – Texas Department of Information Resources 
  • Management Analyst, Organization Development Specialist – Texas Education Agency
  • Assistant Director for External Relations – Austin Technology Incubator,
  • MBA Career Development Specialist – McCombs School of Business,
  • Public Relations Director – Austin Community Television
  • Assistant Director – Texas Arts Alliance
  • Assistant Regional Director – American College Testing (ACT) Program,
  • Coordinator of Campus Programming–Southwestern University,
  • Residence Hall Director – University of Illinois
  • Admissions Counselor – Ricker College

Competency Areas

  • Meeting Facilitation
  • Organization Development
  • Participatory Strategic Planning
  • Strategic Communication
  • Performance Management
  • Team Building
  • Special Projects Oversight
  • Consensus Building,
  • Meeting Design and Facilitation
  • Strategic Communcation
  • Training and Development; Training Delivery

Education

  • Doctoral Coursework in Educatioal Psychology – University of Illinois
  • Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration – University of Illinois    
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Education, Minor in   English – Stony Brook University
  • Visual Communications Coursework – Austin Community College

Professional Association Membership

  • International Association of Facilitators (IAF)
  • National ToP Trainer’s Network
  • Association for Talent Development
  • Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA)

Professional Certification and Awards

  • Certified Facilitator – International Association of Facilitators (IAF)
  • Mentor Trainer – National ToP Trainer’s Network
  • Certified ToP Facilitator –  Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA)
  • Nominee, Ethics in Business Award, Samaritan Center
  • Nominee, Roger Bayles Employee Service Award

Publications and Key Presentations

  • IAF Handbook of Group Facilitation, Contributing Author
  • Facilitation as a Tool to Maximize Strategic Leadership
  • Questions Offer Best Answers for Talking About Tough Topics
  • Facilitation Meets Feng Shui
  • Aligning Passion, Planing and Performance

Course Development and Delivery

  • Making Meetings Work
  • Addtressing Performance Gaps through Counseling and Disciploine
  • Coaching for Performance
  • Managing Team Resources
  • Leadership Principles andPractices for Managers
  • ToP Facilitation Methods and ToP Strategic Planning

Professional and Community Service

  • Exective Board Member, International Associaiton of Facilitaors
  • President, Association for Talent Development, Austin Chapter, Conversation Corp
  • Faciltator, The Red Bench, Interfaith Action of Central Texas
  • Facilitator, Conversation Corps, City of Austin, AISD and Capital Metro

Select Government Client Projects

  • The Employees Retirement System of Texas manages benefits for the employees and retirees of State of Texas agencies and some higher education institutions. With a history of hierarchical strategic planning, the new executive director seized on this biennial requirement as an opportunity to turn a top-down exercise into an agency wide participatory event that signaled a new agency culture of engagement. Over several months MeetingSolution brought executives, directors, assistant directors and select managers together to work collaboratively to craft a vision, identify blocks to that vision and set strategic directions to steer this agency of 200+ employees. MeetingSolution was retained subsequently to revise the plan and elements of this process continue to be part of the agency’s plan.
  • With rock bottom ratings of manager’s performance reported in an agency-wide survey of employee engagement, the executive leadership of this set management training as a top priority for the Texas Education Agency, employing nearly 1,000 staff. I was brought into the agency as part of an initiative to design, develop and deliver a comprehensive management effectiveness curriculum. After developing a competency model, I designed and delivered five courses: Leadership Insights, Managing Team Resources, Coaching for Success, Addressing Performance Gaps and Communication Skills for Managers. Within two years manager performance rose to be rated as one of the top three features of the agency. Additional classes designed, developed and delivered to the Texas Education Agency line staff include: Crucial Conversations for Team Performance, Telephone Etiquette Under Pressure and I=Speak Your Language.
  • The Texas Department of Information Resources provides technology leadership, solutions, and value
    to Texas state government, education, and local government entities. One of the most critical reports that the agency generates is the State Strategic Plan for Information Resources Management, a report that is intended to drive technology innovation at state agencies and institutions of higher education throughout Texas. Every other year, 15-20 government information resource managers, practitioners and executives are convened as an advisory committee to provide counsel to agency staff on the contents of and drivers for this report. MeetingSolution was solicited to facilitated several of these advisory committee meetings and after successful engagements repeated this work over several biennia.
  • Three of the 28 regional Texas Workforce Development boards in Texas decided to jointly come together to discuss and plan for mutually reinforcing activities in their respective board areas. After a competitive selection process, MeetingSolution was retrained to conceptualize, plan, and facilitate a day-long meeting of nearly 50- board and staff. The stated objectives were to share priorities and examples of current work, come to a data-driven understanding of common labor force and employers, identify opportunities to coordinate and/or share information and a desire to build trust and a sense of shared purpose among board staff and board members. In addition to consistently positive participant reviews of their experience of working together, achieving the objectives and successfully collaborating for the region, six action plans were drafted to pursue mutually reinforcing activities and all were enthusiastically owned by the executive leadership.
  • Designed and facilitated a meeting on behalf of the Texas Department of Information Resources for 100+ state agency representatives to develop remediation strategies for legacy IT systems; created several viable options to meet stakeholder needs.
  • Facilitated municipal technology management team meetings for the City of Austin, shifting the group from a silo culture to engaged team of 40+ members eager to pursue collaborative relationships.
  • Facilitated a meeting of the district judges and staff serving in Travis County District Court to evaluate strategic initiatives and goal accomplishments, update plans and develop a framework to monitor strategic plan progress.
  • When the Texas Education Agency was faced with reducing their 1,000-employee agency by 30% I trained and deployed a 50-member peer support team to assist departing employees as part of a reduction-in- force; successfully managed a professional and compassionate separation process.
  • The Texas Department of Information Resources secured my services to facilitated several high-stakes meetings with state agencies and government vendors resulting in collaborative problem solving, essential and critical decision making and creating critical partnerships.

Select Non-Profit and Private Sector Projects

  • Engaged over several years to design, facilitate, manage and revise strategic planning processes for a professional association of several thousand members in multiple divisions, regions, chapters and committees (Texas Counseling Association).
  • Designed, facilitated and managed a multi- month process to explore a collaborative structure for delivering a continuum of support for youth and families experiencing crisis; the process involved work with an 18-member steering committee, a project manager, several executive directors, more than 60 board and staff participants and funders in several iterative workshops; the process included scenario planning, designing and conducting research plans and the involvement of clients (Lifeworks)
  • Facilitated a multi-stage process with various stakeholders; the resulting framework subsequently attracted strong leadership and has sustained over several years (Interfaith Action of Central Texas)
  • Facilitated strategic business planning process for the founding of the Austin (now Texas) chapter of the national, Physicians for Social Responsibility Organization (Physicians for Social Responsibility)
  • Collaborated with faculty leadership to design and facilitate a process to determine priority Diversity and Inclusion actions and identify associated resources (University of Texas School of Social Work Diversity and Inclusion Committee)
  • Regularly facilitate corporate strategic planning onboarding sessions for private investment firm’s newly acquired multi-million dollar portfolio companies. The firm partners with business owners and management teams with the commitment to leverage shared values to pursue objectives and accelerate growth (Private Equity firm)
  • Facilitated multi-stage change initiative with 100+ representatives from six social service non-profits; created foundation for successful merger which today serves 6,000 central Texas families annually through 20 programs (LifeWorks)
  • Created unprecedented cooperation among representatives of major industry associations by to develop guiding principles for industry best practices; client stated, “masterful job steering us out of the ditch and back on the highway” (National Exhibition Industry Summit)
  • Selected to serve as assessor for certified professional facilitator program of the International Association of Facilitators and Technology of Participation program for the Institute for Cultural Affairs

Select Client List

Local, State and Federal Government

  • Employee Retirement System of Texas
  • Texas Education Agency
  • Texas Department of Information Resources
  • Texas Department of Health and Human Services
  • Travis County Domestic Relations Office, Texas
  • Travis County District Court, Texas
  • Williamson County, Texas
  • City of Austin, Texas 
  • Missouri City, Texas
  • Governors Center for Management Development
  • Texas Historical Commission

Education Related Institutions

  • ACT – American College Testing Program
  • The University of Texas – School of Social Work; Radio, Television and Film Department; Theater ad Dance Department; Aerospace Engineering Department; Graduate School of Business
  • Texas Women’s University
  • Texas A & M University
  • Texas Association of School Boards
  • Travis Community Education Foundation
  • Texas Center for Educational Research
  • Austin Independent School District
  • Austin Jewish Academy
  • Southwest Education Development Laboratory
  • University of Arkansas

Professional and Trade Associations 

  • Texas Counseling Association
  • International Association of Facilitators
  • Society of Independent Show Organizers
  • Retirement Industry Trade Association
  • Texas Association of State Systems of Communication and Computing
  • Texas Exes – University Alumni Association
  • Texas School Counselors Association

Non-Profit Organizations

  • Heifer International
  • Leadership Austin
  • Zachary Scott Theatre
  • Spectrum Theatre
  • Any Baby Can
  • East Texas Legal Services
  • Consumer Controlled Housing initiatives
  • LifeWorks
  • River City Youth Foundation
  • United Cerebral Palsy Association
  • Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation
  • United Way
  • Youth and Family Alliance

Private Sector

  • AMD – Advanced Micro Devices
  • Dell Computer Corp.
  • Private Equity Firm – several portfolio companies