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Oh, good scholar, I say to myself, how can you help but grow wise with such teachings as these?

-Mary Oliver, “Mindful”


M. Frances Baldwin, Ed.D. CPCC
Principal Consultant, Designed Wisdom, Inc.

My services are grounded in more than 40 years of experience as an effective educator and consultant to people in organizations. My extensive, international experience spans cultures and industries, including public service, academia, nonprofits, corporations, military and government; in settings from plant floors to executive suites and board rooms.  I am a perpetual learner, comfortable stepping, wisely, outside of “the box” to support creativity and emergence. I love people, value authenticity, integrity, justice and common sense as well as deep and generative thought. I describe myself now as a wisdom- keeper, seasoned helper and thinking partner.


My objective as a coach is to help others discover, access and transcend the wholeness that is already inside each of us. I help clients/customers to address each immediate challenge as the opportunity to also learn more about walking in the world with awareness, fluidity, clarity and compassion; the life-shaping capacities that transcend problem solving and performance. Such strength of mental and emotional agility is being demanded of us as we navigate the accelerating complexities and turbulence of the times; for ourselves and as living examples for those who look to us for guidance and leadership.


My approach is an integrated extrapolation from multiple disciplines and schools of thought that I have been privileged to learn from and live by. “Learning first from within; seeing wholes, sensing deeper, focusing, translating knowledge into living experiments; and the ultimate…cultivating a presence worthy of the way you choose to be and how you want to live and serve.”


My certification as a Gestalt trained coach and practitioner of organization and systems theory (CPCC) reflects the grasp of a comprehensive body of related knowledge; and the demonstrated proficiency to engage a wide range of situations and systems, with relevance and impact.


Most importantly... I love and enjoy my work.

Professional Achievements

As a human relations specialist, during a tumultuous period (the 1960s -1970s) of school desegregation in Florida, my performance was driven by raw intuition. The situation demanded power, risk, courage, a knack for survival and a passion for creating a better world. Untrained but buoyed on by a courageous superintendent of schools, we designed programs, mediated and trained school administrators, police, parents, and teachers in how to live together in the face of great resistance. The NTL trainers whom I brought in were people “called to change agency.” They walked their talk. My perspective on the situation, my understanding of the diverse views of people and my unifying presence, impressed my new NTL friends  and thus began my membership into the club (NTL). They saw potential in me that would not be limited to working in schools. Radford Wilson and Bill Moore made such an impact that the superintendent acquired funding for me to attend a full, intensive summer of training in Bethel, Maine. The foundation I received from my summers at Bethel, Maine and as part of an intervention team at the University of Massachusetts, sitting at the feet of the masters such as Edie Seashore, laid a solid foundation for my future work.

As a graduate student and consultant to the U.S. Navy, I was again positioned at a time and place when the stakes were high and the clients were dedicated, putting their careers on the line for the sake of needed change. With direct engagement and support of the Chief of Naval Operations and several high ranking officers, this work became an action-learning doctoral dissertation that was valued as documentation of a period of change in race relations in the military.

The milestones I accomplished at Exxon, with no previous corporate experience, helped to transform executive education into a strategic tool. Several of my change interventions translated into documented policy and practices across international business lines.

Biggest Influences

My life and work have been influenced by the three “communities” of learners and practitioners:

The comprehensive NTL programs of the 1970s, augmented by

the mentoring of people like Herb Shepard, Edie Seashore, Dick Beckhard, Eliot Aronson, Bill Moore, Radford Wilson - all icons

in the field. NTL provided paradigmatic lessons that never

reached textbooks.

The Gestalt Institute of Cleveland OSD Program pulled my intuition, knowledge, skill and experience  into a reliable and available set of lenses through which to live and work.

The work of Otto Scharmer, Juanita Brown and The World Café Community have provided another fresh fine-tuning, curiosity and excitement for my work.

Challenges Ahead

For me “Living in the Work” has meant: 

  • Access to incredible people, and learning that it is all about people and relationships. 

  • Years of excitement and curiosity about my work and the seamlessness between who I am and what I do for a living.


  • Striving to embody values as well as knowledge and skill; and being a presence that makes a difference. 

  • Aging into wisdom and discernment so that I routinely help to create understanding that is not obvious or does not exist.

  • Knowing that people (and thereby organizations) are generally quite capable of addressing their own needs, and so I try to help them open up options and construct means for doing their best.

  • These challenges are available as opportunities for all who practice in our field.

Dreams for the World

There was a time when collegiality and mentoring were the strength of the NTL/ABS community. Our work is about life and the world. We work through organizations because these are the hubs where life and the world get shaped. In the first edition of Practising Social Change (April 2010) I shared my thoughts about how we must prepare for the next iteration of our profession.

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