PHL Diversity Podcasts

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Welcome, listeners.

PHL Diversity Podcasts — brought to you with support from the Pennsylvania Convention Center and post-production by A Step Higher — are digital audio files available for download.

PHL Diversity (formerly known as the Multicultural Affairs Congress) works to increase Philadelphia’s share of the multicultural meetings and tourism markets. We maximize opportunities for the region by promoting Philadelphia as an ethnically diverse visitor destination, encouraging multicultural business and social responsibility that contributes to and benefits from the varying multicultural communities that enhance our region’s hospitality and tourism industry.

PHL Diversity Podcasts are brief insights, views and opinions from tourism and hospitality leaders, meeting/convention professionals and academics regarding specific hospitality, tourism and diversity topics.

Join us to learn more about strategies and initiatives to raise Philadelphia’s image as a premier diverse/multicultural destination for meetings and convention.

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Gary Bell, Executive Director of Bebashi – Transition to Hope sits down with the PHL Diversity podcast to discuss his experience taking the helm of the first African American HIV AIDS advocacy organization in the U.S., established with a special focus on serving low-income people of color. Through Gary’s efforts, Bebashi has transformed into a full-service health management agency for economically disadvantaged Philadelphians. Gary also touches on the nonprofit sector of business, from its evolution to the importance of relationships and resiliency.

Rev. Luis Cortez, Founder and President of Esperanza joins the PHL Diversity podcast and provides insight into his experience founding Esperanza and developing it into a national network of more than 13,000 organizations. Luis shares his model for success, his insights on the importance of quality mentorship and his thoughts on development in Philadelphia and what it means for our city.

Grammy-nominated music icon Kathy Sledge sits down for the PHL Diversity podcast to discuss how growing up and being immersed in Philadelphia’s one-of-a-kind artistic culture has influenced her career. From the importance of arts and entertainment to delving into the necessity of diversity and inclusion, this Philadelphia native strongly believes that our city has a unique and authentic culture that is truly unmatched. Tune in to learn more.

Robin Morris, Executive Director of the Garces Foundation, joins the PHL Diversity Podcast to share how her organization works to meet the needs of immigrant communities working in Philadelphia’s restaurant industry.

Dan Templar, Scout Executive/Chief Executive Officer for the Boy Scouts of America Cradle of Liberty Council, highlights the importance of diversity within his organization, and the positive impact it has on the Boy Scouts of America.

Ernest L. Strother Jr., Chairman and CEO of Strother Enterprises, Inc. and Natasha Strother Lassiter, Executive Vice President of Strother Enterprises, Inc. join the PHL Diversity Podcast to share the evolution of leading, minority-owned food service and contracting company Strother Enterprises, Inc. Following Natasha and Ernest, we are joined by Shahid Rana, Vice President of Business Development at Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, who highlights the exciting projects and programs he has been involved with during his time with the organization. Both conversations focus on the importance of diversity and inclusion and the positive effect it has on our communities.

Carol Watson, General Manager at the Kimpton Hotel Palomar joins the PHL Diversity podcast to discuss her unconventional path to the top and highlight the importance of diversity within positions of influence, providing advice to young professionals on how to accomplish their goals and achieve success.

Evan Evans, General Manager of Aloft Philadelphia Downtown continues the conversation by discussing the growth and impact of Philadelphia’s hospitality industry. He notes the importance of the city’s identity, as well as the consistently in-demand meeting and convention market Philadelphia has created, and the impact that it has had, and will continue to have, moving forward.

Harold T. Epps, Director of Commerce for the City of Philadelphia, joins the PHL Diversity Podcast to shed light on global business development within Philadelphia. Mr. Epps discusses his position in Philadelphia’s current mayoral administration, the prospect of bringing Amazon’s new headquarters to the city and the importance of minority businesses in the continued economic development and success of Philadelphia.

Selisse Berry, Founder and CEO of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, joins the PHL Diversity Podcast from the 2017 Out & Equal Summit at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. She discusses the future of LGBT equality both in and out of the workplace, the passion that drives her to advocate for workplace equality and the advantages of hosting an event in a diverse and welcoming destination such as Philadelphia.

Jennifer Rodriguez, President and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, discusses the impact of Hispanic businesses in Philadelphia. She provides a look at the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s goal to provide programming, education, opportunities and awareness to bridge the gap between minority businesses and the local corporate environment.

Zachary Wilcha, Executive Director of Independence Business Alliance, highlights how his organization works to provide opportunity, access, education and networking opportunities for the LGBT community in Greater Philadelphia, as well as the spending power and impact of the LGBT community as a whole.

LaVette Henderson, Deputy Executive Director of the National Dental Association, highlights how her organization continues to grow and evolve, the importance of creating authentic relationships, and the need for creating and fostering a pipeline of diverse suppliers.

Zabeth Teelucksingh, Executive Director of Global Philadelphia Association (GPA), discusses the importance of Philadelphia being the first World Heritage City in the U.S., and the assets that the city, its residents and the hospitality industry have at their disposal to best leverage this designation.

A. Bruce Crawley, President and Principal owner of Millennium 3 Management, Inc. and a co-founder of PHL Diversity, discusses the circumstances that led to the division’s creation, the importance of minority business access and give his thoughts on what Philadelphia must do to continue being a leader in attracting diverse meetings and conventions.

U.S. Congressman Dwight Evans, a co-founder of PHL Diversity, reflects on the entity’s evolution and outlook for the future while touching on economic development opportunities within the hospitality industry and the role of diversity and inclusion in workforce development, among other topics.


Don’t miss all our earlier PHL Diveristy podcasts. Click here for dozens of additional episodes from Season 1 and Season 2 highlighting diversity throughout Philadelphia and in the hospitality, meetings and conventions industries.

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