Recognized for her immense philanthropic work, Pam Baer is a community leader in the San Francisco region. Hailing from Texas, her education started with a marketing and finance degree at the University of Texas in Austin. Soon after that, she moved to New York City and began her illustrious career within the financial services sector.
Armed with a wealth of industry experience and a creative mindset, Baer launched her first entrepreneurial venture; a financial service-focused direct mail marketing agency, serving consumers, business-to-business clients, and even Fortune 500 companies.
Baer relocated to her now-home in San Francisco shortly after marrying the San Francisco Giants CEO, Larry Baer. The couple have four children together. Over the years, she has become a community leader in the region engaging in philanthropic and local projects.
In 2002, after her son received life-saving care at San Francisco General Hospital, Pam became involved in supporting the institute. It was then that she joined the San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) Foundation where she served until 2018. Since leaving the post, she has stayed close to the foundation members, even becoming a lifetime director.
As part of her charitable efforts, Baer is also known for her involvement in the Hearts in San Francisco Project. The remarkable initiative saw locally-designed heart sculptures auctioned off to raise finances for the hospital. Displayed both publicly and privately across the city, the hearts are a lasting reminder of the charitable nature of local people.
In 2014, Baer launched For Goodness Sake, an organization aiming to support health, educational, and environmental causes by selling accessories. A percentage of the proceeds from all of the organization’s sales go directly to nonprofits within these important sectors. Since launching the corporation, Baer has donated more than $1 million to nonprofits in the San Francisco region.
Additionally, Baer holds a wealth of well-earned titles. She is a Board Member of the Giants Community Fund, a Founder’s Circle Member of Every Mother Counts (EMC), and finally an Advisory Board Member of Nest. She also holds posts at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, the Jewish Women’s Giving Circle and other community initiatives.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I begin each morning with a potent mixture of mindfulness meditation, a large cup of coffee, and the pages of the New York Times. This ritual is usually followed by a morning walk in my area. I adore being outside and having the headspace to relax. It allows me to mentally prepare myself for whatever the day brings my way.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Bringing ideas to fruition comes from collaboration. My process is a combination of brainstorming ideas, creating new things, and working closely with like-minded people on truly meaningful projects.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Large public art installations. I’ve noticed some astounding pieces popping up around San Francisco and love during these COVID days traveling on zoom thru other international installations. It always gives me a warm buzz of appreciation when I see them.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive?
The earliest hours of the day are often the most productive. So, I make proper use of that time by rising as early as I can. I’m also a huge advocate of lists; I’m continuously adding to my never-ending to-do list and checking off important tasks.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t worry about failing at something. Try your ideas, however wild they may seem, and be confident about each of them. Use your inner courage. Get out there and see all that the world has to offer you. Travel as much as you can and continue to help others wherever you land.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I am an introvert. Honestly, nobody believes me when I tell them this, but it’s true. While I might appear to be in my element at social events and massive functions, I’m just as content curled up reading a book OR knitting in the comfort of my own home. It’s all about balance.
What is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I was born to hike, so I’m always encouraging people to walk more. It’s not just about the endorphins—although they are great—but about getting outside and appreciating the beauty of the natural world. Also a tennis player from an early age and love getting out there on the court. I’d also say that we all should make an effort to deeply listen to others. You never know what you might learn if you take the time to hear people out.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow in your career?
I’ve always tried to be continuously open to collaborations in my network and my philanthropy board work has been instrumental in growing my career. I have a constant thirst for knowledge. I am always seeking a deeper understanding especially when it comes to causes I am involved in and passionate about. I will take classes, read books, seek out experts in that area and learn as much as I can about it. I find that it helps me not only drive results, but make informed decisions.
What is one failure you had in your career, and how did you overcome it?
Like many professionals, I’ve been guilty of taking on too much. Let’s face it, when you love what you do, you want to always say ‘yes’ to new opportunities. However, this can fast become overwhelming and, frankly, unmanageable. I’ve overcome this by putting trust in and expanding the number of people on projects and more carefully delegating tasks. I have also learned that clear expectations and communication makes delegating and collaborating seamless.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Okay, this is an interesting one—I recently bought cozy socks with photos of our dogs on them for my whole family! It was a fun and useful present that made everyone laugh.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
There’s one book I recommend to everyone I meet; “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. It’s a deeply moving tale based on the author’s experiences of Nazi concentration camps during World War II, what it taught him about life, love, and perhaps most importantly, hope. Few books are as utterly life-impacting as this.
What is your favorite quote?
“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” – Audrey Hepburn
- Pam Baer reveals the three things you need to be a success
- Pam Baer says everyone should read “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl
- Pam Baer shares the secrets to her productivity and success
- Pam Baer talks life, hiking family, success, and why she bought socks with photos of her dogs on them
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.