Copy the Leader: Megh Knappenberger
Megh Knappenberger, f”04, is a Kansas City-based artist. We sat down with Megh to learn what leadership means to her.

Powered by

Megh Knappenberger, f”04, is a Kansas City-based artist. We sat down with Megh to learn what leadership means to her.

What do you do in your work?

I balance my time pretty equally between doing research and painting, and actively managing my business. Being a painter doesn’t mean I paint all day, which sometimes surprises people. I wear all the hats of a small business owner, from marketing to IT to managing a small team.

What are the qualities of a good leader?

I think good leaders are forged in tough times. It’s easy to be in the hot seat when things are going well, but there’s a lot to be learned in tough times if we can have the humility and sense of humor to see those moments as opportunities to learn. Doing that allows us to give that kind of grace to everyone around us as well.

How do you practice leadership at your job?

People often have preconceived notions of artists. And I love flipping those expectations on their head for the better. Being a leader in my industry is showing “artist” through an aytpical lens of savvy and successful entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Sure, I can be weird with the best of ‘em, but my legacy will (I hope) go beyond that.

What makes a team or group successful?

A friend and coach of mine has a habit of repeating this phrase to me, “setting and managing expectations.” Most friction in our work lives comes from misaligned expectations. A successful team is one who is on the same page, whatever page it is. In my world, that often means letting my team know that I’m in blackout mode painting for a few days and that they won’t hear from me until I resurface.

How can leaders in your industry help their organizations adapt to change?

I firmly believe there’s never been a better time to be an artist. Technology has opened doors, both for research and inspiration-seeking and for connecting our work with audiences all over the world. But everything is changing quickly, and that can be scary. Just look at the NFT market. Adapting to change only happens with an open mind. And, specifically for the art industry, I don’t think we should view our ever-changing technology as a burden. It is a gateway.

You can see some of Megh’s artwork for yourself starting Saturday, Oct. 28 at the Jayhawk Welcome Center!

Want to receive alumni and career stories like this in your inbox? Subscribe to the Water Cooler, a monthly career newsletter for alumni, students and friends. It includes upcoming events, featured mentors, stories about alumni and students, jobs and more.

More Headlines

Copy the Leader: Crystal Fong

Crystal Fong, c’15, j’15, is a DEI and Talent Development Leader. We sat down with Crystal to learn what leadership means to her.

Driving with Jayhawks
Driving with Jayhawks: KU mascot coach Brian Carpenter

KU mascot coach Brian Carpenter, c’02 joins Driving with Jayhawks. Learn what it takes to fill the boots of Big and Baby Jay!

‘Hawks & Highways’ brings KU Alumni, KU Endowment across Kansas

The University of Kansas Alumni Association and KU Endowment are hosting “Hawks & Highways” gatherings in several Kansas communities this summer.

Copy the Leader: Stephanie Wittman

Stephanie Wittman, d’10 is a Health and Strength and Conditioning teacher at Tonganoxie High School. We sat down with Stephanie to learn what leadership means to her.

Copy the Leader: Jon Sabillón

Jon Sabillón, c’11, is an international DJ, entrepreneur, and music futurist. We sat down with Jon to learn what leadership means to him.

Jayhawks Give Back
Jayhawk helps communities grow through The Giving Grove

Tucked away in urban neighborhoods across the U.S. are little orchards making a big impact.

KU Alumni Association
KU Alumni receives Insight Into Diversity Magazine’s Inclusive Excellence Award

The KU Alumni Association will be featured, along with 31 other recipients, in the June 2024 issue of Insight Into Diversity magazine.

Driving with Jayhawks
Driving with Jayhawks: Flying Jayhawks

In the monthly Driving with Jayhawks series, we’re taking the best of KU on a ride through campus as we talk about their Jayhawk experience.

Tradition of Excellence Award honors student leaders

Eleven University of Kansas students were honored for their leadership on the Lawrence.

Welcome to the University
of Kansas Alumni Association

Your membership in the KU Alumni Association is the single most powerful way to make all of KU stronger, including the value of your own degree. Through your membership, the Association: