Women & Business: Rachel L. Kopper

Kopper is Director of Business Operations and Finance at Knopp Biosciences LLC.

201230 Pghmag Wib Feb Dsc 4642r RachelRachel L. Kopper is Director of Business Operations and Finance at Knopp Biosciences LLC, a small drug discovery and development company focused on treatments for immunological and neurological diseases such as eosinophilic asthma, epilepsy and neuropathic pain. “We’re committed to expanding the life sciences sector in Western Pennsylvania.” With her team at Knopp, Kopper manages finance, HR and IT functions as well as investor engagements, document management and operational facilities.

In 2012, the South Side-based company encouraged Kopper’s participation in the formation of a Pittsburgh Women In Bio chapter. Kopper worked with “an amazing group of women,” including Babs Carryer, Dottie Clower, Lynn Banaszak and Pat Rogan, to create a volunteer-powered 501(3)(c) that is part of a network of chapters across North America. “Our mission is to promote and advance the careers of women in life sciences through networking interactions and educational opportunities.”

Kopper is national president-emeritus and a national board member of Women In Bio. Members include executives, academics, entrepreneurs, students and representatives from organizations that support life sciences, and its programs include the national Spring into STEM program for middle school students and a Boardroom Ready program for executives, among many others. In 2020, Women In Bio undertook a “dramatic pivot” – successfully transitioning from face-to-face to virtual interactions.

How does Kopper describe herself as a business woman? “I’ve made a career of balancing polar opposites.” She supports business operations at Knopp, where the discovery and development teams are the real stars of the show. And as Women In Bio’s national president and board chair, she led an organization of more than 3,000 members in 13 cities across North America.

Born and raised in Louisville, Ky., Kopper has lived in Pittsburgh for 26 years and worked for Knopp for more than 13 years. “I am proud to call Pittsburgh, an emerging center of biotech innovation, home.”

When Kopper looks back on her career, she is proud of the fact that in her mid-40s, she pursued an MBA degree at Chatham University (completed Spring 2013).  “After 20 years of applying business skills, it was a wonderful opportunity to step back and look at business operations from an academic perspective,” Kopper said.

What advice does she offer other women in business? “Give it a go – you may just amaze yourself with how much capacity you possess.” The best advice she has ever received? “From my mentor and early-career manager, Allen Roberts: You’re never too old to learn something new.”

For more than 10 years, Pittsburgh Magazine has spotlighted exceptional businesswomen within our pages and at quarterly networking events. Join us Feb. 25  for a vibrant conversation with our four inspiring honorees and keynote speaker, Dorothy Andreas, Founder of Streamline Success LLC, who will discuss how following your instincts can make or break your business. Click here to register.

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