With a brand-new executive director of PHL Diversity, Sheila Alexander-Reid, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau had plenty to share about its DEI initiatives during the recent IMEX America.
In her role, Alexander-Reid’s goal is to increase the net convention, meetings and tourism brand value of Philadelphia as a welcoming DEI convention destination, while also advancing opportunities for growth of local businesses as a result of increased event and visitation to the city.
The PHLCVB has been known as a leader in diversity in the tourism and hospitality industry for more than 30 years—and her charge is to take it to the next level. PHL Diversity, a business development division of the bureau, was formed in 1987 as the first multicultural division of a CVB in the nation.
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 and charged with attracting diverse conventions.
Most recently, 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. She founded two agencies of which she remains active, Branding4Change, a boutique branding and training agency focused on DEI, and Women in the Life, a social justice non-profit organization that creates safe spaces and social gatherings for lesbians of color.
“I look forward to continuing my career of advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion and progress in the great city of Philadelphia by leading PHL Diversity,” said Alexander-Reid. “And I look forward to continuing to support the mission of the PHLCVB and PHL Diversity and cannot wait to work with its well-established board and close partners in the city and beyond.”