Boston GLOW is a breeding ground for the modern day superwoman. GLOW fosters opportunities for women of all ages to become empowered community leaders and active world citizens.

OW Spotlight: Emily Copeman, Co-Chair of IGNITE the NITE 2014 and Director of Marketing & Development for Boston GLOW

Emily is a founding member of Boston GLOW and currently serves as Director of Marketing & Development. Additionally, Emily is a Co-Chair of IGNITE the NITE 2014 and oversees the Marketing/PR, Event Design and Entertainment Committees.47489_553038294783_6292314_n.jpg

How did you become involved with GLOW and what is your current role/contribution?
I went to high school with Leah, the founder of Boston GLOW, and Annie, now Director of Girls’ Leadership programming, who looped me in on what they were doing during a catch-up dinner a few years ago. They were planning a writing contest for young women in Boston that would empower them to express their ideas for community change and develop as leaders. When I heard they wanted to raise a thousand dollars in scholarships by renting a room in a bar, my immediate instinct was to get involved and see if I could help them exceed that goal. 

…That was the week before Thanksgiving in 2010. On January 10, 2011, we raised $12,500 at our first-ever IGNITE the NITE. The following year we raised $35,000. Last year, we raised $50,000. This year, we’re hoping for even more.

My role has grown far beyond planning a party to raise money – as Director of Marketing and Development now, I oversee the marketing of all our events, graphic design of all our promotional collateral, manage our website, our social media and outreach campaigns. I am also responsible for grant applications, contest submissions and award nominations, I manage our donor cultivation and retention efforts with individuals and corporations and community partnerships. I am wildly passionate about this organization and our mission – my role continues to evolve and to challenge me. My involvement with Boston GLOW is the most fulfilling thing I’ve done with my life to date.

What inspires your passion empowering and advancing the role of women in the world? 76518_105600009510999_2560178_n.jpg
I have been fortunate to be surrounded by strong women for as long as I can remember, namely my mother, but also her dearest friends from her first job out of college. These women (known affectionately as "the Clinique Gang") first met as young go-getters in sales at Clinique cosmetics - they have stayed close friends for decades and have become hugely successful in their respective professions. These women have always been my role models and beloved “fairy godmothers". I am blessed to have them in my life and in my corner - they have supported Boston GLOW from year one! True movers-and-shakers, they are bright, progressive thinkers who juggled careers with motherhood and marriage in a time when society told them they couldn't "have it all" and should resolve to be secretaries. They have defied the odds and challenged the norms to achieve their successes and they’ve shared love, loss, change and celebration together as a supportive team. They are ever-learning, traveling, debating and they know who they are – these are not women who are afraid of anything, much less speaking their mind or fighting for what is right.

My passion for women's empowerment and the mission of Boston GLOW is largely fueled by my desire to see others have the same mentoring and support that I have been so fortunate to know. I wish for all young women to have role models that encourage them to break boundaries and speak their minds. For me, that has made all the difference.

What experiences led you to where you are now? 
My involvement with GLOW has profoundly shaped me as a person and challenged me to become a better leader. When I joined Boston GLOW, it was a very young organization and thus the sky was the limit for me. I could contribute as much or as little as I wanted – it wasn’t a job, I wasn’t being measured or paid for my efforts, I didn’t need experience or training. I just needed to believe in our cause and to share that message with as many people as I could in the most compelling way possible. I had never led a team, I was terrified of speaking in public, I abhorred networking and approaching new people. But for GLOW, I had to force myself to step out of my comfort zone because I believed it was something I had to do. Now, every new supporter who joins our network, every donation that comes in and every success we achieve fuels me to take my efforts to the next level - and gives me inner strength to boot! Through GLOW I have had the opportunity to lead teams of strong, opinionated, talented women toward specific goals, an opportunity I never had in my early professional life and one that continues to enrich my life.

I have learned so much about myself and my confidence has grown leaps and bounds. This has extended to my professional life in countless ways. For me, this is the ultimate testament – when our mission to empower women is successful among our own leadership team, I know we are doing something very right.

Who are your female role models? 
At the risk of giving a seemingly cliché response here, my role model truly is my mother. She is one of the strongest, most resilient people I know. My mother built her design business from the ground-up with no immediate formal education and worked tirelessly to foster relationships and teach herself the skills she needed to build a company. I remember many nights sneaking downstairs after bedtime to find my mother on the kitchen floor with yards and yards of fabric around her, sewing curtains by hand. This year, she is being honored by the American Society of Interior Designers for her contributions to the design community and for her career achievements.

Beyond her professional success, one of the things I admire most about my mother is her dedication to evolving as a person. My mother continues to surprise me with her ability to be reflective, her desire to learn and be a better person, her ambition and her youthful energy. She has also taught me the value of surrounding myself with other strong, driven women. My mom will tell you that she is who she is in part because of her amazing friends and she has always encouraged me to build my own community of supportive women. I know that she is hugely proud I have found that community in Boston GLOW. 

What would you like to see change for the role of women in our world? For the future?
I would like to see an equal ratio of men to women in leadership positions in business, government and education. I would like to see flexible employment arrangements for working mothers. I would like to see less in the news about sexual assault and violence against women. I would like to elect at least one female President of the United States in my lifetime - if not many (okay, all of them from here on out if possible...?).

How do you balance a full-time job with your leadership role at Boston GLOW?
It isn't always easy. Just as "it takes a village to raise a child", it takes a "village" to build a nonprofit and to sustain its growth. I am extremely fortunate to be part of a team that is sincerely dedicated to our mission - we often differ in our leadership styles and our approach to things but our hearts are in the same, right place and that has bound us to each other and helped us grow. In my every day life, I have created routines and space in my day for GLOW - I wake up at 4:15 AM every day and spend 2-3 hours on GLOW before I start my work day. I cherish this time - with my tea or coffee, watching the sun rise over a quiet city, writing emails and reviewing work - there is no better way to begin each day than with inspiration from my GLOW colleagues. I also sleep better at night knowing I am devoting my spare time to such a worthy cause. Seeing our Girl Leaders achieve their goals, hearing from them at college, listening to their words when they talk about how GLOW has given them confidence - that is the greatest gift of all and one that is certainly worth waking up before the sun for. 

What is your biggest fear?
Well, aside from being naked in a public place, my biggest fear is leaving this world without having made a positive impact. And not having the opportunity to be a mother. Also, rats. I really, really, really do not like rats.

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commented 2014-02-25 14:49:47 -0500 · Flag
Oh Emily, Thank you so much for making me proud to by your Mom everyday…xo M