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Programs by Design

Posted by Kate Reese
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Programs by Design

Here at the pARTnership Movement, we talk a lot about how experience in the arts fosters creativity, problem solving skills, and strategic thinking. In Philadelphia, an industrial designer-turned-executive is living this truth, as covered in a recent article on Philly.com.

 

Karin Copeland says her attention to product design fostered her aptitude for program design in her current role as Executive Director at the Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia (ABC). When she first started the job, she noticed a handful of improvement areas and set to work sculpting programs the same way one might sculpt clay.

 

When she arrived at the organization, its reputation hinged largely on an annual luncheon that gathers more than 1400 each year. While the event drew crowds, Copeland saw an opportunity for expansion and “wanted ABC to be recognized as a source of valuable programs of mutual benefit to the business and arts communities.”

 

Since then, Copeland has tripled participation in existing programs such as Business on Board, which educates professionals about good nonprofit arts board behavior like fundraising. The Kennet Symphony orchestra is one example of success – it’s gained two engaged board members through participation in the program.

 

Among the new programs Copeland’s vision has brought to fruition is a speaker series that routinely sells out; notable professionals such as Malcolm Gladwell and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg rank among past speakers.

 

ABC has also launched a program called Designing Leadership, which partners with IBM and The Wharton School of Business to provide executive development for arts, culture, and creatives sectors.

 

Through these new strategic initiatives, the Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia has expanded reach and demonstrated the ultimate value arts can have for business community. At the helm, Karin Copeland is perfect example of how exposure to the arts enables entrepreneurs to envision change, take a leap and bring lofty ideas to fruition.

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