Justin Baker has always had a borderline unhealthy drive to succeed. He was put on a tennis court at age four because his temper had gotten out of control during a video game and it was determined by concerned parents that he needed “an outlet.”
He went on to play multiple competitive sports but ultimately became a successful national junior competitor in tennis, and then played in the Big Ten at the University of Wisconsin. In total, Justin has twenty-plus years of competition and fifteen-plus years of coaching under his belt. Over the years, this has led him deep into the mental side of the game and ultimately to performance coaching for athletes and performers of all types.
Justin has also done his time in the corporate world, working in a reputed advertising agency and having the pleasure of several years writing car commercials. In his free time, he still enjoys occasional freelance writing and marketing jobs that do not involve cars, but most looks forward to bringing mindfulness and sanity to the corporate world he once inhabited.
In 2010, Justin began his first intensive training in Vipassana Meditation, a traditional form of mindfulness meditation. It was in this training that he found the focus, calm and clarity that had been achieved with such intense effort in his years of competitive sports, coming with ease, and ultimately spilling into all areas of his life. This was the beginning of Mindful Power.
Today, Justin, along with the wise and multi-talented Jen Niedzielski, continues to synthesize his knowledge and experiences with the latest data from the scientific, medical, and therapeutic worlds to create mindfulness-based training, offering the opportunity for others to get the most out of themselves—hopefully in a manner slightly healthier than he once did.
Professionally, Jen Niedzielski is a teacher and teacher researcher. “Unofficially” teaching since she was 4 years old in her mom’s heels in her basement, she is currently still teaching in heels, only this time as a teacher educator in the halls of the University of Minnesota and and school buildings in the Twin Cities area. Jen has 19 years of teaching experience (38+ years if you count basement teaching) at the K-8 and college level. Hailing from Michigan, Jen received her BA in elementary education/ reading from the University of Michigan *go blue*, her MA from Western Michigan University, and began her PhD at Michigan State University in 2008. Long story short, 3 babies, 1 move to the Twin Cities, and 1 yoga teacher training program later, Jen is currently finishing that PhD at the University of Minnesota studying the impact of mindfulness on teacher stress, resilience, and identity development.
Jen is rather obsessed with understanding the nature of teacher presence and is convinced that the relationship a teacher has with him/herself directly impacts his/her capacity to relate to students. She is also convinced that the practice of mindfulness (*learning how to be okay and present in the chaos and the calm) deepens the connection to the self in a way that allows one’s innate insight, compassion, health, and resilience to flow out into the classroom. She is currently collecting data with the teachers she is training through the Present Teacher mindfulness program that she created to corroborate this intuitive hunch.
Personally, Jen Niedzielski is a mother, student, and mindfulness practitioner & researcher. Jen is the co-creator and founder of Mindful Moms Network™–-an online community that provides mothers all around the world with inspiration and practical mindfulness tips. This creative vision paved the way for the co-creation of Mindful Power LLC and Present Teacher™ Training program that Jen brings to districts. Jen is a 200 hour certified yoga teacher, a MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program) graduate, a Mindfulness In Motion instructor at the University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healing, a college instructor for K-8 elementary education students at the University of Minnesota, and a public speaker about the physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental health benefits of mindfulness to parents, seniors at assisted living communities, college-aged students, corporate communities, and mostly K-12 teachers in the Twin Cities/ St. Paul areas.