Joe Baker is the Founder and CEO of Save the Storks. Born in Montana, Joe grew up in Philadelphia, although he says that his heart has always been in the west. His focus in college was on counseling and Biblical studies. Joe and his wife, Ann, started Save the Storks together before moving to Colorado Springs in 2013.
Joe is passionate about rock climbing, and loves to skydive with his bride. However, his favorite hobby is exploring the world alongside his 2-year-old son, Samuel Adventure. Sam rides everywhere on Joe’s shoulders, and together they have climbed mountains, hiked forests, and traveled the nation. Joe loves watching Samuel experience new things. A fun fact about Joe is that he’s owned five Geo Metro cars. “I did the math and figured out they were the most economical cars to drive,” he says.
Joe’s job as CEO of Save the Storks is two-pronged. First, he directs the vision of the organization by seeing new projects and visionary ideas through to completion. Second, he works with larger donors to the organization; this involves many meetings and extensive travel.
Speaking about the early days of Storks, Joe says: “A few years ago, Ann and I had to do everything. Now Storks has 21 full-time employees. The big accomplishment is to survive through that beginning stage, and then to learn to delegate all the things we’re not good at.” Joe constantly asks himself, What is the thing that only I can do? “As a leader I’m always trying to have deeper introspection into what I can provide, and my strength is pushing people way farther than they thought they could go, but not so far that they don’t feel like they’re safe,” he says. “That’s what leadership is.”
Joe’s forte is for ideas; he models them and figures them out. Storks’ unique fundraising model, donor retention, working with pregnancy centers – they’re all the fruit of creative thinking. Joe thinks of Storks as a hub filled with miniature businesses.
“I love people,” says Joe. “I also love business and making business decisions. I don’t really live for the weekend – I’m excited Sunday night to put on my Stork jersey Monday morning.” Joe challenges people to do what they love and make their dreams possible. “There’s more opportunity now than ever before,” he says. To people who have a business idea, Joe urges testing the idea: “Crowdfund and launch your product online.”
Joe says his spiritual gift is taking people on adventures and challenging them to do what God made them to be. “There are people who need to be ending poverty and need to be developing software,” says Joe. “They need to be where they’re made to be. Sometimes when you see such an injustice [i.e., abortion], you think, ‘everyone should do what I’m doing,’ and you miss out on the personality of the people God is calling you to. And you push people into the organization who aren’t meant to be there.” Regarding Save the Storks, Joe says it’s important to him that employees choose the organization because they believe Storks is the place they are meant to be.