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Meet Imagine Grinnell: Barb Baker

Get to know the staff and board of Imagine Grinnell! This week, we are featuring Barb Baker, one of the board members of Imagine Grinnell.


Years with Imagine Grinnell: 4


Are you a Grinnell Native?  Where did you grow up, and how long have you lived in Grinnell?

I am not a Grinnell native although I have lived in Grinnell for 28 years. I grew up in northeast Iowa in the town of West Union, the county seat of Fayette County—and some of the prettiest country in the Midwest.


What is your educational background?

I graduated in Journalism and Communications from the University of Iowa. I completed my Masters in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. I recently earned my Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation, which is comparable to a Master’s Degree in the insurance and risk management industry.


What is your favorite thing about Grinnell?

Grinnell was going to be a short stop in my life. After buying a house and starting our family, it has become a much more permanent home. I most enjoy the small-town feel that allows us to live, work and play in a community where we feel safe; the cultural opportunities where we feel sophisticated; and the enormous variety of activities where we feel involved.


What attracted you to working with Imagine Grinnell?

With so many opportunities to become involved with the community, I want to serve organizations that I believe work to make a difference in our community. Imagine Grinnell meets that goal for me.


Tell us a little about your career.

After college graduation I began a career as a television reporter at KWWL-TV in Waterloo. I landed at Grinnell Mutual a few years later and have worked in claims, training and development, and currently in marketing as the Director of Advertising and Community Relations.  I also teach a weekly Business Communications class at the U of Iowa.


What is your favorite part of working with Imagine Grinnell?

My favorite part of working with IG is helping the pieces fit together in making our community stronger and more vibrant. I have stepped up my own physical fitness, and want to help others with similar goals of getting fit, staying active, and enjoying our community.


If you could improve any one thing about Grinnell, what would you change and why?

Within the realm of possibilities, I would like to see more of our community leaders come together for the common cause. I see a fair amount of fragmentation—where it seems that we aren’t using our resources wisely—or “putting our money where our mouth is.”  If we want to maintain our educational facilities, our healthcare providers, and our small businesses, we need to continue to improve the infrastructure and resources that attract and retain active community members.


Any memorable moments from your time with Imagine Grinnell?

Imagine Grinnell seems to have a knack for controlling the weather. When we schedule outdoor events or workdays, we can almost ensure adverse weather conditions. I really enjoy collaborating with a great group of board members, many of whom have become close friends, and who have a wealth of knowledge, experience, talent and passion to improve our community.


If asked “why should I become a member of Imagine Grinnell?” what would you tell them?

We can assure you that Imagine Grinnell is an organization focused solely on improving our community through every one of its initiatives. What greater gift can you give to Grinnell than joining with us to support that effort?