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Wharton Helps to Elevate Leadership Skills of Philadelphia Arts, Culture and Creative Sector

Five-week program through Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia hopes to bolster next generation of creative visionaries.

Philadelphia, PA: As Philadelphia’s robust arts and culture continues to grow in prominence, Wharton Executive Education is helping nurture 29 of the city’s top creative leaders through an innovative, first-of-its-kind program of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia.

The five-session program, Designing Leadership, is being held at the University of the Arts campus from March 19 to April 16, 2014, and includes three full-days and two half-days of instruction by expert faculty at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and IBM.

“The creative world focuses on developing skills that support their artistic endeavors but often don’t take the time to reflect on their place as leader within entire creative community. This program affords a rare opportunity for creatives to have access to world-class leadership instruction and to share in that learning with their peers,” says Karin Copeland, Executive Director, Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia.

The program focuses on competencies such as individual leadership style, collaboration, strategic sustainability and human capital.

Wharton led the first module on March 19 with a session on Building Awareness: Foundations in Leadership Styles, where participants identified their unique leadership styles and personal branding.

IBM faculty is facilitating the next two modules. On March 26, they conducted a Leadership Development: Styles, Coaching and Climate Workshop, and on April 2, they explored Leadership & Collaboration.

Wharton returns for module four on April 9th, with two sessions on Organizational Leadership: Strategic Sustainability and Human Capital: Motivating and Managing Your People.

Organizations in the non-profit and for-profit creative space face unique people-management challenges, notes Peter Cappelli, the George W. Taylor Professor of Management and Director of the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “Often there is a sense that employees are there for the mission, and the mission alone is enough to manage them. So the leaders don't pay enough attention to management and end up with turnover problems.”

He will show participants how the choices they make — with respect to managing people — can reinforce the basic competencies that drive business strategy.

The final module on April 16th will focus on community leadership and mentoring. Wharton will facilitate an expert panel of senior leaders throughout the Philadelphia cultural and arts community. Participants will get to ask challenging questions to panel members, who will share their own leadership lessons and best practices.

“We hope that by providing this kind of interactive dialogue, participants can apply learnings on how they can be mentors and leaders to their own teams,” says Wendy McGeehan, Wharton Executive Education's Practice Leader for Custom Programs for educational, public and social sector organizations. “Our goal is to develop a network where leaders will be comfortable stepping out their not-for-profit or for-profit sector to seek guidance and support from one another – which will help foster innovation and collaboration across the arts and creative community of our city.”

That collaboration is already occurring, according to program participant Lynn Marsden-Atlass, Director of the Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania, who observed after the first session: “We’re already learning from each other and understanding ourselves as leaders. My biggest challenge is being understaffed – how do I not burn out my staff? I’m also enhancing skills in development and fundraising by looking to my fellow program participants who have strengths in those areas. We as a network need to maximize our impact by collaborating and encouraging each other.”

This first-of-its-kind program wouldn’t be possible without strong support from area foundations, companies and academic partners. In addition to Wharton and IBM’s involvement, presenting sponsors include Bank of America, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and SEI, with additional support provided by Stradley Ronon and The University of the Arts.

About the Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia

The Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia (ABC) strengthens our creative sector, including arts, culture and for-profit creative businesses, by engaging the business, legal & technology communities, providing capacity-building services, and serving as a thought leader and a convener. ABC, with the support of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, is uniquely positioned to actively connect the creative sector with the business, legal and technology communities. For more information, please visit artsandbusinessphila.org or call 215.790.3620.

About the Wharton School

Founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. With a broad global community and one of the most published business school faculties, Wharton creates ongoing economic and social value around the world. The School has 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students; more than 9,000 annual participants in executive education programs; and a powerful alumni network of 92,000 graduates.

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