Mari Baker brings a unique combination of Silicon Valley startup and Fortune 50 executive leadership experience, combined with over 20 years of board service in public, private and non-profit environments. She has a strong understanding of technology, a passion for customer experience, and a deep commitment to excellence in whatever she undertakes.
The first part of Ms. Baker’s career was in product management, where she learned how to incorporate customer needs with technology advances to create award-winning and market-leading consumer products, including building Quicken into the best-selling personal finance package and defeating much larger competitors, including Microsoft, in the process.
The second part of her career was in executive leadership, running business units at Intuit and Johnson & Johnson, as well as CEO roles at venture-backed companies PlayFirst and Navigenics. In these various roles she gained broad experience in everything from international expansion, human resources, call center management, M&A, fund raising, and Sarbanes-Oxley. She played a key role in scaling Intuit from approximately $7 million in revenue to $700 million.
In the course of these operating experiences, Ms. Baker has successfully dealt with the continued pace of technology change by being both the disrupter and disruptee, starting with Quicken as electronic banking and investing overtook traditional pen and paper, through significant competitive challenges and technology disruption brought about by the internet. At Navigenics, she launched one of the very first direct-to-consumer genetic testing products, working within the healthcare community, leading medical centers, the government and regulators to build a new industry. At PlayFirst, Mari took on a company built around web-based game play and moved it to mobile.
Ms. Baker’s first significant board experience began in 1996 when she joined the Board of Trustees of Stanford University and served on the Land & Buildings, Medical Center and Academic Planning and Policy Committees. In 2011 she began her public company board experience by joining the boards of Velti Plc. and John Wiley & Sons. She served on the Compensation Committee of both companies, and currently serves on the Technology Committee and Chairs the Audit Committee for John Wiley.
In the course of her tenure with Velti Plc., Ms. Baker was asked by the board to assume the role of interim chief operating officer to help steer the company through liquidity problems stemming from the crisis in Greece and Cyprus. Blackstone purchased the assets of the company in 2014.
Mari is well-connected in the Silicon Valley ecosystem, having entered Stanford University in 1981 at the age of sixteen. As a student, she was involved in various activities, including community-service, athletics, overseas studies and work-study programs and double-majored in Economics and Sociology. She also has strong ties into the venture community, having run venture-backed companies and served as an executive-in-residence at the prominent firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Currently, Mari is committed to board service, supporting women in leadership and entrepreneurship, and lifelong learning. In addition to Blue Shield of California, Ms. Baker chairs the Audit Committee for John Wiley & Sons (NYSE: JW-A), and serves on the board of Quicken, Inc. She is a co-founder of the VMWare Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab at Stanford University, and mentors women entrepreneurs. Ms. Baker is a leader in YPO (Young President’s Organization), where she is the first woman to lead the San Francisco Gold chapter, and the first to be elected Pacific Gold Regional Chair (term begins 7/1/2020).