Co-Founder, Chief Creative Officer and Director, Vera Bradley
Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and close friend Patricia Miller co-founded Vera Bradley in 1982, and Ms. Baekgaard has served as a member of the Company’s Board of Directors since then. From 1982 through June 2010, she served as co-President of the company, and in May 2010, she was appointed chief creative officer. From the outset, Ms. Baekgaard has provided leadership and strategic direction in the brand’s development by providing creative vision to areas such as marketing, product design and assortment planning and to the design and visual merchandising of the company’s stores.
Ms. Baekgaard attended Marymount College in New York and Barat College in Lake Forest, Ill. She currently serves as a member of the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center Development Board and as a board member of the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer.
Ms. Baekgaard has earned industry recognition and received numerous awards including the Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the State of Indiana from Arthur Young/VENTURE in 1987 (awarded jointly with Ms. Miller), the Gifts and Decorative Accessories Industry Achievement Award in 2006, the Country Living Entrepreneur Award in 2007, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from AmericasMart/Icon Honors in 2014. In August 2016, Ms. Baekgaard accepted the ACE Humanitarian Award from the Accessories Council in New York City.
In 1994, the loss of dear friend Mary Sloan to breast cancer inspired Ms. Baekgaard and Ms. Miller to add a new dimension to Vera Bradley, establishing the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer. To date, the Foundation has raised approximately $28 million for breast cancer research at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center.