View From the Top: The GIA’s Donna Baker

GIA’s Donna Baker has the discipline to get things doneIn November 2006, Donna M. Baker, a former high school teacher from Detroit, became the fifth person—and the first woman—to lead the Gemological Institute of America in its then–75-year history. Her career path was circuitous, to say the least: Baker spent 10 years as a Roman Catholic nun, ran a homeless shelter, and earned degrees in law and business from UCLA before being recruited in 2001 to serve as GIA’s first in-house lawyer. As the institute prepares to celebrate its 80th anniversary—headlined by Symposium 2011, May 29–30, on the GIA campus in Carlsbad, Calif.—Baker spoke to JCK about the importance of maintaining a global outlook, the challenges of leading her 1,500-person-strong organization through the financial crisis, and why she’s always invoking the spirit of Richard T. Liddicoat (a.k.a. RTL, the legen

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