R. Keith Baker Award: A Friend Remembered, 2 Others Honored
A mentor, friend and so much more, R. Keith Baker passed away suddenly in 2013, but those at Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures who knew him carry their beloved colleague’s memory and feel his inspiration every day.
On July 12, JHTV ensured that Baker’s legacy would endure with the inaugural R. Keith Baker Award, an honor bestowed on current JHTV employees who embody the namesake’s admirable values and qualities: scientific curiosity, strong mentorship capability, altruism, calming influence, resolute perseverance and dedication to Johns Hopkins.
Baker, who earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Wake Forest University and MBA from St. Joseph’s University, began working at Johns Hopkins in 2000 and eventually became the senior director of licensing for Johns Hopkins’ Office of Technology Transfer.
“Keith was someone who everyone looked up to,” says Helen Montag, JHTV’s senior director of business development and corporate partnerships. “He was a quiet, smart leader.”
The recent move of the JHTV headquarters from downtown Baltimore to the 1812 Ashland building in East Baltimore presented the perfect opportunity to establish an award in honor of Baker. Now, when people walk into JHTV’s headquarters, they see a remembrance of Baker, a description of the award given in his honor and a list of R. Keith Baker Award recipients.
With more than 50 people in attendance, including Baker’s wife, Eleanor, and one of his three children, Wade, JHTV presented the inaugural R. Keith Baker Award to Director of Business Development Dave Greenwald and Senior Licensing Associate Nakisha Holder. In subsequent years, JHTV leadership will select only one employee for the award.
“Dave, like Keith, naturally leans into mentoring colleagues in a modest and low-key manner,” Montag says, recalling how Greenwald tutored two colleagues to use a computer program he used extensively prior to joining JHTV in 2014.
“Dave didn’t expect to be rewarded for it. He did it because it was the right thing to do,” Montag says. “It’s something Keith would’ve done. They’re both natural teachers.”
Holder, whose tenure with JHTV began in 2007 when it was known as Johns Hopkins Technology Transfer, benefited first-hand from Baker’s mentorship. It’s something that she has taken to heart and implements in her day-to-day work.
“Nakisha has taken the lead on our tangible material licensing efforts,” says Neil Veloso, the executive director of technology transfer. “Throughout her career but recently especially, she has taken on a number of responsibilities and is always willing to assist and train others.”
JHTV expects to present its next award in summer 2018.