JOHN LUIPOLD EMBA ’13: Reawakening a City’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

At IE Brown, we create 21st Century Business Leaders by combining IE’s cutting-edge business curriculum with Brown’s excellence in critical and interdisciplinary thinking.  At the heart of our pedagogical approach lies the assumption that business is a liberal art.

By liberal arts, we mean thinking critically about the world through multiple disciplinary lenses – economics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and political science. Interdisciplinary thinking grounded in solid business fundamentals empowers leaders to connect the dots and drive innovation to advance industry and society. 

Read on to find out how this business mindset catapulted forward the career of John Luipold, IE Brown Class of 2013, and reawakened a city’s entrepreneurial spirit.

John Luipold, IE Brown 2013 – Connecting the Dots:

Brown University Assistant VP of Real Estate John Luipold leveraged his IE Brown training to play a key role in the rise of the Providence Innovation & Design District.  It took leaders like Luipold to help Brown expand beyond College Hill and commit to converting Providence’s once-thriving Jewelry District into a bustling academic, lab-to-market innovation district.


Big Picture Thinking

Partnering with government and financial leaders, Brown’s vision initially resulted in the $220 million South Street Landing (SSL) project, which includes the conversion of the abandoned Providence Power Station into stunning new spaces for Brown and other RI academic institutions.

The District got a major boost when Brown’s SSL development partner broke ground on the Providence Innovation Center which will be anchored by:

  • Brown’s School of Professional Studies – home to Brown’s Executive Master programs
  • CIC (f/k/a The Cambridge Innovation Center) – developer of  space for innovators and access to resources
  • A Johnson & Johnson health technology operation

According to Luipold, connecting the dots is at the heart of this venture.

“The Providence Innovation District is an example of Brown’s deep appreciation of public-private partnerships. Whether it’s Brown’s cutting-edge data science, engineering, biomedical research, human-centered robotics or brain science, we increase our impact on the world in collaboration with people in the private and government sectors.”

Superior People Skills

This public/private partnership reflects the changing mode of operation for businesses today where linkages are the bellwether of success.

To compete in this new world order, today’s leaders need superior skills to listen, engage and influence in new arenas and with new people sitting at the table.

“Working in teams during IE Brown prepared me to work with this project’s diverse set of stakeholders – the state, academics, civic groups, and entrepreneurial interests. At IE Brown, I learned the importance of developing a deep understanding of everyone’s goals to bring them all together to create shared value for all stakeholders.”

Ethical Core

Luipold also credits IE Brown for strengthening his resolve to act decisively and from an ethical core.

“IE Brown courses like Slavery and Capitalism powerfully illustrate the social consequences of business decisions. It forces you to broaden your goals beyond ROI to protect your brand and how history will judge you.

At Brown, we’re committed to the Providence Innovation and Design District because it lifts all boats. According to RI’s Governor, the district will create 1,000 construction jobs and as many jobs for engineers, researchers, custodians, support staff, and executives.”

Proof that Brown’s vision for the Providence Innovation District – rooted in the University’s values of justice and equality – is working: Recent announcements by Infosys and Johnson and Johnson to expand in RI.



At IE Brown, we take great pride in the breakthrough work of our alumni that advance business and society.

We are particularly grateful to John Luipold as his real estate leadership played a key role in the development of the Providence Innovation Center, Brown’s future home for its executive master programs and state of the art teaching facility.

We welcome you to join us to cultivate 21st-century leadership for a more just and prosperous world.

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