Faculty Spotlight: Michael Baskin

Barbara Siegel

Friday, April 17, 2015

Building on extensive past and current business experience, Michael Baskin is a faculty member who provides real world, vetted expertise and insights which prepare students with in-demand leadership and management skills. The business world is competitive, and an MBA program should reflect past practices, present trends and the future needs of an ever evolving workplace.

For twenty-two years Michael was the Co-President of the award winning apparel retailer, Mark Shale. It was his front line learning operating retail chains in Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City and St. Louis that he credits for the bulk of his hands-on leadership training – coordinating staff and managers in different states and time zones, traveling between the various retail locations to recruit, train and manage staff, display and business processes.

Michael most recently served as President and COO of Inclusion Solutions, LLC., providing corporate training and business coaching for multi-national clients who wish to make their workplace inclusive and accessible for customers and employees with diverse mobility needs. Michael also serves on the Leadership Team of Evolve USA, an organization exclusively for business owners designed to help them strengthen their leadership, manage their enterprise value, and understand what’s next in their personal growth and the growth of their business.

When asked about Lake Forest Graduate School of Management students, Michael commented on the commitment level of adult MBA students who despite significant careers and family obligations are able to passionately pursue continuing education with the goal of furthering their career. That commitment is evident both in the level of contribution that Lake Forest MBA students provide as well as in their expectations of the curriculum and the practitioner faculty.

Michael said, “They bring a lot and they give a lot. These are people who have worked all day, who have spouses, children and parents who they  take time away from in order to complete their course work and attend classes. It is up to us to honor their time and their sacrifice by making every class – every project – one that serves in their goal to grow their contribution.”

In his Commencement address in 2012, Michael offered insight into leadership not as title or role, but as a commitment to daily contribution that is meaningful and impactful to other people and to the organization. In Michael’s experience, there is no such thing as “too much” contribution in business environments and relationships overall.

“When you go to work tomorrow, think of yourself as a contribution. Rather than asking ‘How am I doing compared to others?’ Ask instead, ‘What can I contribute that can make a difference in my organization?’”

During his faculty interview for the Lake Effects blog, Michael added one of his favorite quotations on leadership from Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic:

“Unlike success and failure, contribution has no other side… Naming oneself as a contribution produces a shift away from the self-concern that comes with comparisons, and engages us in relationships to make a difference.”

Michael currently teaches the Effective Leadership course for LFGSM MBA students. To learn more about Michael Baskin, visit his profile on LinkedIn to connect!


Michael Baskin

Michael is the President Inclusion Solutions, a company whose products make businesses accessible to people with disabilities. Mike is the former Co-President of Mark Shale Inc., where he worked for over 20 years. He also has 15 years of experience on the Board of Directors, managing financial performance, human resources and marketing. LinkedIn


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