The PHLCVB welcomes Gregg Caren as President and CEO, Monday, June 8.
In addition to overseeing the PHLCVB’s efforts to promote and sell Philadelphia as a premier destination for meetings, conventions, sporting events, overseas travelers, and group tour visitors, Caren – a 30-year hospitality industry veteran – will also serve as the chief liaison for the PHLCVB’s tourism and hospitality partners, including the Pennsylvania Convention Center, as well as national industry associations, and the City of Philadelphia.
The Penn State alum, who says taking on the role is “an exciting opportunity with the PHLCVB – in my hometown of 25 years,” shared some insight into his life, his family and what he loves about Philadelphia.
1. His roots in hospitality taught him to have respect for all.
Caren started out his career with Marriott and credits that organization, along with the people he has worked with over his hospitality career, for teaching him to have the same level of respect and appreciation for everyone – team members, clients and guests alike.
“One of my first General Managers in northern New Jersey also opened the Marriott Downtown here in Philadelphia. He was a first time GM feeling his way, and I was a first-time sales manager trying to stay out of trouble and make my goals. I watched how he interacted with ALL team members. With support, respect and care, he made sure that everyone felt important in their role. I have tried to carry that with me to this day,” says Caren.
2. The best advice he ever got was from his parents and Marriott.
“If you follow the golden rule (treat others as you wish to be treated) and have respect for others and yourself, you should do well in life both professionally and personally,” says Caren.
3. He is admired by his peers.
When asked about Caren’s strengths and leadership, his colleagues call out his skill in communication, his deep understanding of the hospitality industry and concern for his team.
“His work ethic and integrity are beyond reproach. There are very few individuals in the industry that work as hard as Gregg or that I would trust as much as Gregg,” said David Peckinpaugh, President & CEO, Maritz/Experient. John Burns, former CFO, ASM Global, recalls Gregg’s manner and treatment of his staff. “Gregg established himself as a leader in the convention industry by developing meaningful relationships with other leaders in the industry. He earned great respect through his relationships and he used it to inspire confidence in his team.”
4. He loves what he calls Philadelphia’s “approachability” factor.
Whether for a quick bite or just to walk around, Gregg cites the ease of getting to Philadelphia and getting around the city. Coming in can be a very spontaneous decision. “Driving and parking, regional transit or Amtrak, it’s all just nice and easy. There are much bigger costs and logistical decisions to be made with some other cities,” says Caren.
He and his family enjoy walking and exploring in Old City and beyond. “My wife’s extended family is literally the ‘fabric’ of Philadelphia. Her aunts, uncles and cousins are the families that make up our famous ‘Fabric Row’ on South 4th Street.”
5. He met his wife at Penn State’s School of Hospitality Management and is a die-hard Nittany Lions fan.
Caren was born and raised in New York but has been married to a Philadelphian for almost 35 years. They raised both daughters here for 25 of those years and Caren has learned that when asked what his favorite sports team is, any answer OTHER than Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, etc. is a dangerous one. His own family always focused more on college sports and Caren says that nothing is more passionate to him than a Penn State “white out” at Beaver Stadium.