Guest Commentator: Josh Levitas, Lead Presentation Designer, Independence Blue Cross @IBX

Why is it important to support the leadership development of in-house creatives?

An inspired, empowered, and focused creative team can be integral to organizational transformation. More and more in-house creative teams are moving beyond the service provider role and becoming strategic partners within their companies. A visionary creative leader can drive that evolution by inspiring a culture of excellence in the creative team and by helping to create the environment within the organization that allows for it. He or she can build the trust, mutual understanding, and strong relationships that position the team for success.

A creative seat at the leadership table adds a valuable perspective to the leadership team that can help to shape customer-centric thinking and problem-solving approaches. A creative leader who contributes in a meaningful way can earn respect and build strong relationships for his or her team at all levels of the organization.

A creative team that feels respected and valued will see itself as working with partners, rather than for clients. It will do so with the confidence required to make the creative process truly inclusive from beginning to end. More often than not, this will yield better products, faster turnaround, mutual learning, and better relationships. I can say from experience that this is incredibly powerful. I have personally been a part of creative/design processes that have built unlikely partnerships among teams with diverse areas of expertise. That equal sense of investment and contribution in all involved has led to more customer-centric end products and has expedited the time to market. I have seen those processes help to uncover, and to capitalize upon, opportunities to increase efficiency for all teams involved. Equally importantly, I have seen it create new relationships that continue to be strong, productive, and creative. A skilled leader can help to make that honest and dynamic collaboration the norm.

In most cases, an aspiring leader from a creative background requires development to become the strong, confident influencer that creates the necessary sense of purpose for the creative team. Whether it comes in the form of in-house training and mentorship, or in the form of outside learning sessions, like the Arts + Business Council for Greater Philadelphia’s Designing Leadership program, investment in that development is an investment in the culture and the creative firepower of the entire organization.


Designing Leadership serves leaders from the city’s top creative and cultural organizations. Whether you work in a design-focused business, an arts and culture nonprofit, or a creative services team at a traditional firm, world-class creative professionals deserve world-class opportunities to grow. Expert faculty from the Wharton School of Business, and some of Philadelphia’s top management and leadership development experts, provide five Friday sessions focused on leadership from the individual to the organization.