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With expertise from history to humanities, Baker is a woman to watch

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Posted on: May 9, 2024

By HAYDEN SMITH

Laurel resident Lindsey Baker has worn many hats over the years. On May 18, she will add the hat of an entrepreneur when The Village Center opens in Columbia. Designed with facilities accommodating both children and adults, the center will be a place for families to experience both fun and wellness.

Offering massages, facials, energy healings and other relaxing offerings for adults, The Village Center will also offer a supervised play area where parents can leave their children in a safe and comfortable environment.

I wanted to open The Village Center to create a place of support, community, and care for families in the area,” Baker wrote in an email.

Her passion for and love of community engagement and service started when she was an undergraduate at Goucher College. During a conversation with her mentor, Jennifer Bess, who is an associate professor at Goucher, Baker realized that she could make a difference.

“She said to me, something along the lines of like, not everyone’s going to go out and be on the streets, marching and doing things for the cause, but every person has the ability to take the work that they do and make the world a better place,” Baker said, in an interview. “That was really pivotal for me.”

Baker earned her bachelor’s in history from Goucher and, in 2008, a master’s in history and museum studies from the University of Delaware. That same year, she joined the Laurel Historical Society (LHS) as executive director.

“While she didn’t have a lot of experience as an executive director, she quickly grew into the job and did wonderful things for us,” Karen Lubieniecki, a former colleague of Baker’s and current chairwoman of the LHS board of directors, said.

Baker’s experience with LHS heightened her understanding of factors that allow a community to thrive. Whether she was busy planning exhibits or events, Baker was always focused on the best possible outcomes for everybody, she said.

Marriam Thakkar, who currently serves on the historical society’s board, saw Baker as generous and caring.

“She’s a person who has a great heart and a big heart to give back constantly to the people she works with and the community she’s a part of,” Thakkar said.

In 2018, Baker became executive director of Ellicott City’s Patapsco Heritage Greenway, a role she held for two years before becoming CEO of Maryland Humanities in August 2020. The nonprofit was founded to celebrate the state’s heritage and culture through public programs designed to foster connection and support healthy growth in communities throughout the state.

“She’s a very unique person and offers an immense amount to everyone she interacts with,” Thakkar said.

Baker has received recognition and awards over time, including for accomplishments she credits not to herself but to teamwork with her colleagues. She was recently included in The Daily Record’s “Top 100 Women in Maryland for 2024.”

“This one I was actually really excited about, because the criteria was around community engagement, leadership and mentorship,” she said. “And those are the three things that I care deeply about.”

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