Sheila Alexander-Reid serves as the executive director of PHL Diversity.
With decades of leadership experience in diversity, equity and inclusion, and a champion for marginalized communities, Alexander-Reid oversees PHL Diversity’s efforts to promote Philadelphia as an inclusive, welcoming destination for meetings and conventions.
Before joining the PHLCVB, Alexander-Reid served as senior vice president, business development at BiasSync, a firm that helps organizations more effectively assess and manage unconscious bias in the work environment.
In 2015, Alexander-Reid was appointed by Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser as executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Affairs. She advised the Mayor on the implementation of discrimination protections and diversity and inclusion policies that supported D.C.’s LGBTQ residents. Alexander-Reid was instrumental in the city’s successful fight for marriage equality, and she also served on a policy committee advising the Biden-Harris campaign. She often collaborated with Destination DC, a destination marketing organization similar to PHLCVB charged with attracting diverse conventions.
The mission of PHL Diversity, a division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), is to provide innovative, creative customer service and resources to diverse/multicultural groups (African Diaspora, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, & Women).
PHL Diversity attracts meetings and conventions which promote economic impact for the hospitality industry and citizens to ensure Philadelphia is known as a premier diverse/multicultural destination.
PHL Diversity’s vision is to promote Philadelphia as the world’s premiere destination that welcomes and embraces all meetings and conventions. Philadelphia is where you come to build what’s next through education, innovation and customer service.
PHL Diversity, formerly the Philadelphia Multicultural Affairs Congress (MAC), was founded in 1987 as a division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau to help attract more multicultural visitors to the city. Now, PHL Diversity continues to work to increase Philadelphia’s share of the multicultural meetings and tourism markets.
PHL Diversity maximizes opportunities for the region by promoting Philadelphia as an ethnically diverse visitor destination. By encouraging multicultural business and social responsibility, PHL Diversity helps the city’s varying multicultural communities benefit from the hospitality and tourism industries. PHL Diversity maintains an ethnically diverse membership that represent an array of Philadelphia’s corporate, government and social communities.
PHL Diversity has worked with key industry figures to help increase the presence of multicultural leaders in the industry. Events like its annual Hospitality Education Day help high school and adult students receive training and information direct from people working in the hospitality industry. Annual Seminars provide information on multicultural marketing and help create business opportunities for PHL Diversity members. PHL Diversity also supports community organizations and networking events that highlight partnerships, membership initiatives and educational programs.
In addition to PHL Diversity’s work in the meetings and conventions market, the organization has also worked closely with the Asian American community to promote Chinatown, one of Philadelphia’s most historic neighborhoods, to visitors. Philadelphia’s Native American organizations also work closely with PHL Diversity to promote its history, annual festivals and educational programs.
As a city of rich African-American background, PHL Diversity works hard to promote the many significant historical and cultural African-American landmarks the city has to offer. And as the city’s Latin American & Caribbean community continues to grow, PHL Diversity continues to support the many Hispanic businesses, organizations and events the city boasts.
In pursuit of its commitment to making Philadelphia an inviting place for people of all cultures, PHL Diversity has garnered a number of accolades. Among them, PHL Diversity was given Hispanic Meeting and Travel magazine’s Image Award for the best convention and visitors bureau (East); named by The Washington Post as one of the top 10 places to hold family reunions; and is one of Essence Magazine‘s top 10 cities for Black families.
From site visits to customized multicultural press and promotional materials, the PHL Diversity team seamlessly assists your guests from the baggage claim to the hotel check-out — and beyond.
PHL Diversity is proud to partner with Meeting Professionals International – Philadelphia Area Chapter (MPI – PHL), Philadelphia Chapter, to produce the PHL Diversity Jack Ferguson MPI PHL Member Scholarship. The Jack P. Ferguson scholarship aims to send a minority meeting planner to the WEC Conference with no cost. We cover transportation, meals, registration and membership to their local MPI chapter.
In 1987, U.S. Congressman 2nd Congressional District of Pennsylvania Dwight Evans and A. Bruce Crawley, two African American men serving on the board of directors of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), realized that Philadelphia was missing opportunities in the minority meetings, conventions and tourism market.Learn More