Karin Copeland is bridging the gap between Philadelphia’s creative and business communities with help from the world’s top thought leaders.
Industrial designer Karin Copeland is accustomed to “thinking outside the box,” the perfect mindset for ushering in a bold new future for the creative and business communities that she is revitalizing in Philadelphia. “I use my experience as a designer to understand exactly what leaders want from each other to create a thriving region,” Copeland explains, “so that when we create programs, we know that we are meeting a genuine need.” These programs include various series involving noted authors, celebrities, artists and innovators. Seven years ago, Copeland took over Arts + Business Council as the executive director and reinvigorated its partnership with the Chamber of Commerce to create a stronger bond between the creative and business communities, representing a first in the nation and a model of excellence. With her experience designing consumer products, she has been able to create new programming, including a citywide speaker series that has welcomed such notables as Malcolm Gladwell, Sheryl Sandberg and Arianna Huffington to discuss current trends in innovation. This year, Copeland’s work culminates with the Council’s 33rd Annual Awards Celebration May 23 at the Kimmel Center. “This event represents what is possible when we make creativity a centerpiece in how we imagine our city.” The celebration will honor nationally recognized Philadelphia-based women innovators: Jane Golden of Mural Arts, Meryl Levitz of Visit Philadelphia and Joan Myers Brown of Philadanco! They will be presented with the Anne d’Harnoncourt Award for Artistic Excellence, in memory of the former president of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The council will also present awards recognizing the important ways in which women leaders are positioning the region as a “world-class destination” for business and culture alike. Copeland envisions everyone leading a more creative lifestyle. “The future of Greater Philadelphia is bright because all of us are painting in exciting new colors.”