Margot James Copeland

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Margot James Copeland
Executive Vice President
Corporate Diversity & Philanthropy
KeyBank
Cleveland, Ohio

Margot James Copeland loves her mentoring moments. “Cry out of one eye,” she counsels. “‘Cry out of one eye’ means you have to prepare yourself to take care of yourself because life will toss you some curves. So, if your heart is going to break, you are going to weep; but cry out of one eye and keep the other eye focused,” she explains.

Her own mentor was Carole Hoover, CEO of Hoover Milstein, a financial services and real estate development partnership with New York business mogul Howard Milstein. “[Hoover] opened the doors of the business community and facilitated my introduction to the most influential people in our state and beyond,” Copeland says. Today Copeland is the executive vice president for Corporate Diversity & Philanthropy and an Executive Council member at KeyBank, and chair of the KeyBank Foundation. “You can’t have a phenomenal company in a city that’s dying; you cannot have a great city and not be a contributor into that city as a company,” she explains. “We pride ourselves with being one of the most generous companies in corporate America.”

Success in leadership requires hard work and in this regard, Copeland admits that her only competition is herself. “It’s about excellence. Anything that I’m responsible for executing and delivering, I want it to be the best,” she says. For big decisions, she draws from within, relying on her spirituality to guide her. “Jesus is not going to let me fall. I call on Him all the time,” she says.

Copeland holds a bachelor’s degree from Hampton University and a master’s degree from Ohio State University. A mother of three adult children, she spends time by the lake, swims, and takes long drives in her convertible to relax. She is the national president of The Links Inc., an influential organization of civic-minded African-American women.