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Illustration of a baobab tree, transparent backgroud, drawing of a sankofa bird on the tree trunk.

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

-Mary Oliver, “Mindful”

frances baldwin designed wisdom professional headshot

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

My services are grounded in more than 50 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, government, and faith organizations; in settings from plant floors to C 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. With a sometimes wicked, sense of humor.


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.”  I have also learned, equally, from my life of mountains and valleys.  I am a product of personal change and development.


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.


  • B.S. Social Studies Fort Valley State College, GA.

  • M.Ed. Guidance and Counseling. University of Miami, Florida


  • Ed.D. Organization Development. University of Massachusetts, Amherst


  • Inducted into high school Hall of Fame 2018


  • Lifetime Achievement Award National ODN Network 2019


  • Lifetime Achievement Award Gestalt Center for Organization & Systems Development 2020

  • The milestones I accomplished at Exxon helped to transform executive education from a managerial perk to a strategic tool for development. A major shift in approach on a large construction project translated into revised capital improvement policy and practices across business lines.


  • Featured in Ebony Magazine’s Speaking of People – First Black woman – Sr. OD Specialist, Exxon Corporation N.Y.


  • Featured in U. S. News and World Report - First job-sharing innovation in local government, City of Palo Alto, California


  • Mother to one son. Grandmother to one. Great Grandmother to three, so far.

designed wisdom sankofa bird frances baldwin black and white
designed wisdom gestalt

About the Logo

The logo for Designed Wisdom depicts a bird called Sankofa, a Twi word for a symbol of the Akan people, who are now in present-day Ghana. It is based on a mythical bird whose feet face forward, but whose head turns backwards in order to cradle a precious egg, or sometimes a seed, which rests on its back. 


Sankofa symbolizes taking the good from the past, and carefully bringing it to the present and future, with great care. It is also associated with the proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi," translated as "It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten."


In short, the past is a guide for the future. To the Akan people, it implies critical investigation and patience. They believe that there must be new knowledge as time passes. Therefore, as Sankofa strides forward, the wisdom of its past must never be forgotten.​

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