My Story

Here’s the resume stuff:

Michael Baskin most recently served as President of Inclusion=Solutions, whose products make businesses accessible to people with disabilities.  Prior to this, he was Co-President of Mark Shale, a $60 million multi-unit retail apparel business, nationally recognized for store design, visual presentation, and outstanding customer service.  Mark Shale was named one of the Best Men’s Specialty Stores in the United States by Esquire Magazine in 2005, 2006, and 2007.

Michael has run off-site strategic planning meetings and partner meetings for numerous independently-owned companies.  He is a faculty member at the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management where he received the Distinguished Faculty Award in 2012.

Michael received his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.  He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from Vassar College.   He is a Certified Professional Coach accredited by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching.

Ok, but there’s a story you should know.

People don’t hire me for my resume.  They hire me because of what I learned in an organization that built sales through an extreme service culture, resulting in excellent customer loyalty and outstanding employee retention.  We seized every opportunity to strengthen customer relationships, from the first to the last moment of the shopping experience.  We developed models to anticipate customer needs and built a sales contact system that capitalized on those needs.  We trained all associates to act with uncompromising devotion in those crucial customer moments that build stories and loyalty, over 220,000 customer transactions every year. 

I grew up sailing.  The storm of 2008 was bigger than our boat could handle, so we sold our business in 2009.  I have seen the issues clients face; how to read and interpret balance sheets and income statements, sales and marketing, operations, and financial strategies.  My job is use that experience to give what I wish we had received: objective, honest, supportive input in making the hardest business decisions – the people decisions.  These are the decisions that propel your business forward in smooth seas, and protect your business in rough seas.

My son served in the (Israeli) Army.  I have a picture of his unit, on the fourth consecutive overnight march.  They are climbing a mountain.  The person in front is pulling the person behind him; the person behind is pushing the person in front of him – all down the line.  I asked my son why.  “Because it’s too hard – no one can do it alone.”

That’s my model: we work together to realize the business objective at the top of your hill.

Distinguished Faculty Award [2012]. Lake Forest Graduate School of Management [2009]. Gold Medal, Horizon Interactive Awards Competition. MR Magazine [2008]. Uptown Award, honoring the nation’s best men’s specialty stores. Playboy Magazine [2007, 2006]. Top Ten Men’s Specialty Stores. Esquire Magazine [2007, 2006, 2005]. Best Men’s Specialty Stores. [2006]. Silver Award, International Academy of Visual Arts. Mark Shale 900 N. Michigan Avenue [2001]. Honorable Mention, Best Specialty Store, Institute of Store Planners International Store Design Competition. Mark Shale Country Club Plaza [1994]. Store of the Year, Institute of Store Planners International Store Design Competition; Best Specialty Store, Chain Store Executive.

Partial List of Engagements


Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education

Alight Solutions, LLC

American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association

Bluefield Builders

C.H. Robinson


GATX Corporation

Hollister, Inc.

Inclusion Solutions

John Crane

JOYN Behavioral Wealth Management

Kaufman O’Neil Architecture

Mitsubishi Electric Automotive, Inc.

motherG IT Consulting Services

Northland Laboratories


Pactiv Corporation

Rework Office Furniture

Rustoleum Corp.

Sysmex Corporation

Uline Corporation