Her suit fits just right, she knows everyone in the room, and you can just tell she’s got it going on!  You wish you could be her or simply wish you knew her secret to success. WOTV 4 Women wants to give you a deeper look at the many power women who are helping make West Michigan a thriving place for women at work.  We’re having them dish the details on everything from work life to home life and what has led to their career success.

25 Questions with Dawn Baker

Meet Dawn Baker of Showspan! This West Michigan power women is the force behind some of Grand Rapids biggest events happening every year at DeVos Place, including the Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer and Food Festival and the Michigan International Auto Show! 

If you think you’re busy image what it’s like to coordinate 1,500+ wines, beers and spirits from around the world and get them under one roof!  Dawn and her amazing team pull off large-scale events flawlessly every year and we continue to be amazed. Read on to find out more about this West Michigan power woman and her career.

Question 1: Describe your job and why you love it.

I have the privilege of managing four (4) consumer shows: the Grand Rapids Intl. Wine, Beer & Food Festival, the Michigan International Auto Show, and the Cottage & Lakefront Living Show – Grand Rapids as well as the Cottage & Lakefront Living Show – Detroit. Managing consumer shows begins with sales and ends with being able to bring it all together in an event people are willing to invest in because they believe it will impact their business or personal lives.

I work with a creative team of people who together think events are “fun”! I am now pursuing my passion in building relationships to help local businesses, the community I love, and for a state that is HOME!

Question 2: Dig through your purse and tell us three must have items you found and 1 item you were surprised to find.

Lipstick, hand lotion, pen and notebook. Surprised to find a hair barrettes, perhaps my granddaughters?

Question 3: When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?

Truthfully, I wanted to be something new about every week. I love adventure and learning, being challenged. I am not sure I feel like I am all grown up now…

Question 4: What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

Would you rather be right, or build relationship? That advice, insight has permeated my decisions in my personal life as well.

Question 5: What’s the job you’ve had (in your lifetime) that still gives you nightmares?

That’s a tough one… I don’t remember my dreams and certainly am thankful to forget the nightmares!

Question 6: What’s the best thing you’ve done to advance your career?

My career has been a journey…My background includes a journey with community organizations and non-profits, even some time in the desert at a treatment center helping others (who actually helped me). All roads led right back to Michigan, specifically Grand Rapids; so I would say being willing to “travel the road of growth and opportunity” have been the best things that moved me towards advancement in my career and as a person.

Question 7: Flats or heels?

Heels. Sometimes they resemble wedges these days.

Question 8: Crying at work? Okay or not okay?

Okay, for a moment and not often, but then there is the moment you pull up your big girl pants up and move on.

Question 9: Work/life balance? How do you make it work? What time do you “clock out”?

Boy, my work/life balance is not all worked out. Luckily I have an opportunity to integrate my “work” into my “life” and that is what bring fulfillment!

Question 10: Eating lunch at your desk? A do or a don’t?

Do, but much prefer enjoying lunch with a friend or co-worker to catch up, muck prefer enjoying the conversation.

Question 11: What makes you grateful?

I was challenged just a year ago, to journal three unique things each day that I am thankful for. This has brought more gratefulness in my daily walk/journey.

Question 12: What was your biggest blunder in a job? What did it teach you?

Not asking enough questions about the company I was interviewing with. It is important that I am not only qualified and a good fit for the position, but that the company is a good fit for my personality and future potential as well.

Question 13: Describe your morning routine.

I am not a natural morning person, so unfortunately, it is my “routine” to hit snooze 2 or 3 times.

Question 14: Proudest career moment to date.

I can think of just one moments, but countless moments that together affirm that in business we can impact others and ourselves by working together, making that difference makes me proud, really happy!

Question 15: What’s the most important thing in your life right now?

Growth – professionally, personally, and spiritually.

Question 16: What time did you wake up today?

4:45 a.m.

Question 17: What’s the first thing you notice when you meet someone?

Their smile and facial expressions.

Question 18: What are you reading right now?

“A Doubter’s Guide to Jesus: An Introduction to the Man from Nazareth for Believers and Skeptics” by John Dickson.

Question 19: In a typical day how many emails do you answer?

The GR Intl. Wine, Beer & Food Festival is around the corner and I am answering over 150 almost on a daily basis. But average, guessing 100.

Question 20: What’s your favorite TV show?

“This Is Us”, the only one I watch right now. A friend suggested it and all at once last spring, I caught up on 2 seasons in a few weeks.

Question 21: What’s your favorite spot for a meeting in West Michigan?

In people’s place of business, I like visiting them to see what is important to them, what they care about, where their priorities are. It is really insightful.

Question 22: What’s your favorite app?

Marco Polo – a quick video chat that allows me to see short snippets of conversation with facial expressions. Better than texting!

Question 23: What experience in life made you the most nervous?

A cross country move to relocate and purchase a business at the same time.

Question 24: What’s one question you always ask in an interview?

I do have a few favorites, but it takes a series of questions to really find out what that person’s story is. Where they have been, what they have done, and where they see themselves going…

Question 25: What’s the best part of your job?

My journey – my course has led right back to Michigan, specifically Grand Rapids where I am now pursuing my passion in building relationships to help local businesses, the community I love, and for a state that is HOME! Can’t beat that.

***Do you know a West Michigan Power woman who deserves to be featured in our series?  Email us her name/business and contact info!