Once a Slicer, Always a Slicer: Sarah Baker Class of 2001
The Slicer Family is diverse and wide reaching- and one former graduate is leaving her mark in the business world.
Sarah Baker is the founder and managing partner of NextHill Capital Partners. This is a Chicago-based, private equity firm that invests in lower middle-market businesses with a defensible niche.
Her path to excellence started early.
In high school, Baker participated in golf and softball, was a member of Student Council and spent two years on the Debate team. Even though sports weren’t her main career focus, they helped her learn many important skills like teamwork and reliability.
“Team sports are always a good primer for how to work well with others in the business world and they are also a great platform for developing confidence and leadership,” Baker said, “I have built a number of business relationships over a round of golf,” Baker said.
Going to LaPorte helped Sarah grow and gain a strong mindset. Attending LPHS instilled a traditional set of values including strong work ethic, strong sense of pride, kindness, and a desire to help friends, family, and the community. Another strong lesson learned was honesty.
“I have built my collection of professional experiences at LPHS and undoubtedly helped shape who I am today.”
Baker’s business is a perfect example of the skills she learned in high school.
The company’s first investment was Star Uniform based in Portage, IN. Star Uniform is a distributor of uniforms and gear for police, fire, EMS, and other security departments. Baker had taken the operating role for Star Uniform currently.
Inspiration for the business started in college where she worked in investment banking and large merger and acquisition deals. Baker mostly represented business owners and private equity clients in selling their businesses. She spent about a decade in this line of work until shifting to private equity, where she founded the Chicago office for a large Canadian firm.
Both of these careers allowed Baker to learn many tips on how to make the business successful and work with a multitude of successful entrepreneurs and their management teams. By seeing the cases from a variety of angles, Baker gained the confidence needed to start on her own.
“For me it comes down to tolerating and controlling risk as best you can, surrounding yourself with the best people who will help build a desirable and lasting culture, as well as propel the business forward, and harnessing your own experience and confidence to make smart and honest decisions,” Baker said.
Along the way, Baker has taken help with the littlest interactions and learned just as much from CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. She has even gained insight from the nightly cleaning staff when pulling long hours.
“Having the awareness to recognize everyone as a fellow human being on a remarkably similar journey, no matter how different they may seem, teaches you a lot about how the world works,” Baker said.
Family and friends had a large impact of what she has done, and they helped mold her into the person she is today. The support and encouragement from close family to colleagues and college professors have kept Baker on the right track.
All in all, Baker claims her hard work and attention to detail have helped her prevail in the world of business. As long as people have the drive to succeed, they can accomplish your goals, and Baker is a prime example of what Slicers can do.