Power Couple: Joe Weiss and Sharon Pinkenson
by marni prichard manko
She is a self-professed free spirit and one of the city’s most recognizable creative powerhouses. He is a cerebral, card-carrying three-piece suiter. At first blush, Greater Philadelphia Film Office executive director Sharon Pinkenson and Electronic Ink chairman Joe Weiss seem like the quintessential high-profile couple. But sitting down with them in their immaculately designed condo perched high atop Rittenhouse Square, it is quickly obvious that these two also share something enviable and real.
“I met Sharon when she was 19 years old and she was my dental hygienist,” recalls Weiss. “I totally flirted with her. I was like, ‘Turn up the nitrous, blondie!’” But it took many years of friendship (and a few marriages in between) before they became a couple.
Twenty-seven years, three granddaughters, and a fierce commitment to each other later (“We both made up our minds in the beginning that this was a great love affair and we were not going to screw it up,” says Pinkenson), these two have greatly changed the financial, cultural, and social landscape of the city. And they could not have done it without each other.
With the support of Weiss, Pinkenson grew the Philadelphia Film Office into one of the city’s biggest success stories. “Look at what she did in that office,” Weiss says proudly. “The year before she became the executive director, the city had brought in $2.1 million dollars [from local movie production]. Since then she has brought $3.5 billion dollars. I am absolutely amazed at what she has been able to do.”
Not to be outdone, after years as a corporate lawyer—among his clients has been the Eagles—and as chairman and CEO of Packard Press, Weiss has made his own mark on the city through his role as chairman of Electronic Ink, an 80-person, innovative digital-design firm which the Museum of Modern Art in New York recently chose to highlight in its exhibit Talk to Me: Design and the Communications Between People and Objects.
“Joe is my mentor,” says Pinkenson. “He was always the person who taught me whatever I needed to know, and he used to say that I was his best student,” she smiles. “And at the end of the day,” Weiss proudly notes, “the student surpassed the teacher.”
photograph by jauhien sasnou. shot on location at rouge.