Karine Pansa, the new vice president-elect of the International Publishers Association, is a passionate believer in the power of books and reading to change lives and has been involved in numerous literacy initiatives in her native Brazil. She believes in the importance of leadership and says “if you want to see change, you need to be the change”.
She is the owner and publishing director of Girassol Brasil Edições, the children’s publisher based in Sao Paulo, Brazila, and like the sunflower which gives the house its name, she thinks publishing has a role to bring light and joy to the world. She has worked in the industry for more than 25 years and from 2009 to 2011 was president of the Instituto Pro Livro, a non-profit dedicated to developing reading and literacy initiatives in Brazil.
Until recently she was on the board of the National Book and Reading Plan, a set of programmes in the book industry promoting reading habits, literature and developing libraries in Brazil, and she is currently chair of the board of directors at the Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind, facilitating the inclusion of blind and low vision children, youth and adults through free and specialised rehabilitation services, special education, low vision clinics and employability programmes.
She admits that it was perhaps inevitable that she would make a career in publishing since her father worked for one of the major houses in Brazil and she grew up attending book fairs and festivals. She became a trainee at the company where her father worked and in due course they were asked to set up Girassol Brasil Edições. She is proud that it has celebrated its 20th birthday.
She was only the second woman to be president of the Brazilian Chamber of Publishers where she worked on the project Minha Biblioteca (My Library) to give a book to every child in Sao Paulo.
She told Bookbrunch earlier this year: I think that personal learning, self-development and having new experiences are big motivations. I am curious to understand new ideas, different perspectives and new realities…” She continued: “I’m confident of the power of diversity and the results of collaborative work. I trust that I can contribute to embracing the challenges of the global publishing market and work together towards its development, not only in the field of diversity and inclusion itself, but the development of the global publishing market overall.”