Big Summer for Philadelphia
What a summer for Philadelphia! PHL Diversity and the rest of the PHLCVB are winding down from a busy summer full of exciting opportunities for the city. PHL Diversity reflects on two of the biggest conventions that graced Philadelphia these past few months, the African Methodist Episcopal Church General Conference and the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Hear from Mazda Miles, President & Founder of Perfection Events, and Yvonne Drayton, President of Drayton Cross Consulting, about their involvement in this busy summer.
Tell us about your role with the Democratic National Convention and the AME Church Conference and Bicentennial Celebration.
- MM: When the news came that Philadelphia was selected to host the Convention, I reached out to a longtime friend and competitor, Kate Stockton (of Stockton & Partners Meetings and Events), and we agreed to go after “all things DNC” together. When the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee released the RFP for the major events, we were excited to bid, and even more thrilled to be awarded the contract to produce the Delegate Welcome Party. The party was split between two locations—The Kimmel Center for Performing Arts and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Perfection Events designed and produced the portion of the party that took place at The Kimmel Center for about 3,000 guests.
- YD: Drayton Cross Consulting had the honor of producing the African Methodist Episcopal Church Red Carpet VIP Reception, and Bicentennial Celebration Banquet held in the Terrace Ballroom of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The firm also provided public and media relations management and coordination, marketing, and strategic relationships management services to support the Bicentennial Celebration events held February–July, and the 50th Quadrennial of the General Conference held July 6–13. Supporting our client’s — AME First District — vision, branding, planning, and implementation for the historic banquet that kicked off the start of the AME General Conference was a significant undertaking. The banquet, which drew 3,000 guests, featured two international gospel recording artists supported by a 30-member choir; a house band; 40 liturgical dancers; a host of nationally and internationally renowned speakers; and a visually dramatic content rich multi-media presentation projected onto a 150-foot screen enabling substantially enhanced creative content and greater audience connectivity. To Drayton Cross Consulting’s delight, and our client’s stated appreciation, the Bicentennial Celebration Banquet created one of the greatest returns on experience to date for attendees.
What part of the experience did you enjoy most?
- MM: I am driven by strategy and results — when I begin the design process for any event, I start with a simple question: what do we need guests to know, do and feel? I approached this event no differently, so I most enjoyed the opportunity to design an event that communicated the message that the client desired—Welcome to Philadelphia! That seems straightforward on the surface, but Philadelphia is an epicenter of art, culture, dining, diversity, and so much more. So the party, in just three hours, needed to convey those messages through experiences we created, while also showcasing our region as a whole. I was delighted by the feedback we received from attendees about their experience and how connected they felt to Philadelphia and our region as a result of the event.
- YD: Event planning is project management, and directing a large collaboration such as the AME Bicentennial Celebration Banquet along with PR and marketing for the conference and other events was both challenging and rewarding. Integrating a plan that respects the skills and needs of each team member, while ensuring strategic objectives are created to attain our shared goals, is an aspect of planning and production I find most enjoyable. The event’s success was due in large part to my production team comprising exceptionally talented audio visual; graphic design; video production; creative; artistic; and content professionals and to the AME committee chairs and volunteers assembled to provide additional logistical support and to serve as ambassadors.
How did you incorporate and showcase Philadelphia’s diversity to visitors in town for the DNC?
- MM: Our region, and Philadelphia is home to an especially diverse population, which is beautiful, and I was determined to ensure the event showcased our region authentically. So, from our vendors and service providers to our entertainment, we were intentional in our effort to reflect diversity. In addition to Kimmel’s internal caterer—Garces Catering, representing Latin cuisine—a diverse mix of 17 additional restaurants and caterers featured their wares. Our event design featured 5 live performance stages strategically placed throughout the Kimmel Center, and close to 20 acts graced those stages. Almost every genre was represented—from classical to funk, various art forms were featured—from music to dance and even living art, and many cultures and ethnicities were represented—Asian, African, Latin and more. We highlighted Philadelphia-bred national/international acts like Marian Hill, DJ Aktive, Philadanco! and The Philadelphia Heritage Chorale (led by Dr. Donald Dumpson, and headlined by Kathy Sledge), and also hired grass roots acts like Laurin Talese, JudahKim, and Stella Ruze … it was all about authenticity.
- YD: Successful PR and marketing outcomes were achieved through collaborations with the support of PHLCVB, Visit Philadelphia, and other local entities. Drayton Cross Consulting partnered with these organizations relying on longstanding strategic relationships to ensure that the message of Philadelphia as a diverse, inclusive destination was promoted throughout the planning process during national and regional planning meetings. Collateral distribution to AME internal stakeholders containing information about the City’s diverse market segments also aided in showcasing Philadelphia as innovative, culturally rich, and welcoming.
Heads in Beds
Learn more about the diverse meetings and conventions making an impact in Philadelphia this year.
- 9/19-9/21: Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council
- Total Estimated Attendance: 370
- Estimated Economic Impact: $306,000
- 10/19-10/21: Welcoming Economies (WE) Global Network
- Total Estimated Attendance: 375
- Estimated Economic Impact: $237,600
- 10/21-10/23: Conference on Black on Black Violence
- Total Estimated Attendance: 300
- Estimated Economic Impact: $86,000
- 11/2-11/6: National Association of Black Storytellers
- Total Estimated Attendance: 180
- Estimated Economic Impact: $343,000
- 11/08-11/12: The Links, Inc.
- Total Estimated Attendance: 70
- Estimated Economic Impact: $162,400
- 1/15-1/23: National LGBTQ Task Force-Creating Change
- Total Estimated Attendance: 4,000
- Estimated Economic Impact: $6.8 million
Hospitality Education Day Wrap-Up
The 2016 PHL Diversity/Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association Hospitality Education Day was held on June 2 at the Community College of Philadelphia.
This educational program kicked off with a welcome from the sixth president of the Community College, Dr. Donald Generals. Students then heard from Kim Reed, owner of Reed Development Group, who encouraged them to share their experience via Twitter (check it out: #PHLHospEd).
Students were broken out into 2.5 hours of sessions to learn more about the hospitality industry. Topics included a culinary demonstration featuring Joseph Poon, social media workshop featuring Campus Philly, a college prep workshop conducted by Temple University School of Tourism and Hospitality Management/Cheyney University of Hospitality and Tourism Management and an events prep workshop conducted by PHL Diversity.
Philadelphia OIC students also had separate engaging workshop topics that discussed life skills/professional development and the onboarding hotel process.
Hospitality Education Day touched approximately 250 students in the Greater Philadelphia Area. PHL Diversity is grateful for the sponsorship and partnerships that made this great day possible.
A Word from Nolan Atkinson Jr.
Nolan Atkinson Jr., Chief Diversity Officer for the City of Philadelphia, emphasizes why diversity is important to attracting travel and convention business to Philadelphia:
Philadelphia has a rich history of being home to many diverse populations. During the course of the year, there are hundreds of events celebrating the history and achievements of Africans, Asians, Latinos, ethnic cultures of Europe, Native American, Indians and West Indians to our city and the world. The City’s official policies and practices are welcoming to immigrants, LGBTQ individuals and persons with disabilities. Our strength in diversity is a value-added asset in welcoming visitors for both business and leisure and is increasingly a part of our culture and our commerce.
The city has many assets that are attractive for both people and businesses to come here. Our world-class health care institutions are a driver of growth both regionally and nationally. Our educational institutions and growing technological sector serve as a magnet for talent from around the world. The City’s existing energy infrastructure positions us for long term growth in manufacturing and other industries. Philadelphia’s population is growing and much of it is fueled by young people who enjoy the quality of life and opportunities the city has to offer.
Philadelphia continues to celebrate the inclusive vision of our founder William Penn on a global stage. Over 50,000 visitors were welcomed to our city for the Democratic National Convention by Philadelphians eager to showcase their pride in our unique neighborhoods and shared history. The creation of the Philadelphia International Unity Cup, a World Cup-style soccer tournament between members of the various immigrant groups that call Philadelphia home, illustrates the commitment of Mayor Kenney and his Administration to finding innovative ways to celebrate our city and its citizenry.
Capitalizing on the opportunities for growth created by our recent success requires a renewed focus on shared prosperity within our diverse constellation of communities. Starting with Philadelphia’s governmental and business leadership, we must turn the concept of diversity and inclusion into action by embedding its values into all of our systems and operations. Mayor Kenney created the Office of the Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer to ensure that the City workforce reflects the community we serve. Our citizens have amended the law to require the creation of Language Access Plans by all City Agencies to further support the contributions of those with limited English proficiency to tourism and business development throughout our city. Additionally, the creation of RebuildPHL, a historic investment in our parks, recreation centers and libraries, ensures that community members and visitors alike will continue to see that Philadelphia is strongest when we learn from and lean on one another. Philadelphia is proudly known as the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, and we continue to celebrate this legacy of inclusion in all of our neighborhoods and communities.
Stay Up to Date on All Things PHL Diversity
Upcoming Events, New Board Members, Return of the Podcast and more:
PHL Diversity invites you to join us for two upcoming programs:
- Unconscious Bias Workshop, a Philadelphia MED Week Event
- The Business Value of Diversity and Inclusion: Philadelphia’s Network & Affinity Groups, Exploring Business and Employee Resource Groups
PHL Diversity Welcomes Our Newest Board Members
- Anthony Geistwite, Director of Sales & Marketing, Sofitel Philadelphia
- Corvette Kittrell, Associate Director Hotel, Restaurant, Travel, and Tourism Academies, Philadelphia Academies Inc.
- Elvin Ross, Attorney and Managing Member, Legis Group LLC
- Jamila Johnson, Al Dia News
- Jane Keyser, Owner, Bustard Advertising
- Jennifer Kerstetter, Business Development Officer, Store Manager, Republic Bank
- Kelly Lee, Chief Cultural Officer, City of Philadelphia
- Leslie Patterson-Tyler, Director of Media Relations & Communications, Kimmel Center, Inc.
- Randy Brown, Executive Vice President, Gamble Global Entertainment Group, LLC
PHL Diversity in the News
PHL Diversity Podcasts Returns
We are excited to soon introduce a new launch of the PHL Diversity Podcast Series. Stay tuned for featured interviews from various influential professionals in the Philadelphia region including: Jay Shah, CEO of Hersha Hospitality; Honorable Blondell Reynolds Brown, Philadelphia Councilwoman; Malcolm Lazin, founder of Equality Forum; and many more!
Annual Luncheon Statement
In observance of PHLCVB’s 75th Anniversary, PHL Diversity will postpone the 2016 PHL Diversity Annual Luncheon. PHL Diversity Annual Luncheon is the only gathering of diverse hospitality professionals in the Greater Philadelphia Area dedicated to increasing Philadelphia’s recognition as a leading multicultural and diverse meetings and convention city.
In 2016, the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau celebrates its 75th Anniversary. Over those 75 years, Philadelphia has continued to growth into a world-class metropolis, much as what had been the Philadelphia Convention & Tourist Bureau evolved into the world-class Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Stay tuned for the launch of PHL Diversity 30th Anniversary 2017 Annual Luncheon campaign! And get ready to share your PHL Diversity 30-year memories using the hashtag #PHLDiversity30.