Purpose, not Position ™️
Desiree Peterkin Bell strives to identify, create, and leverage traditional and nontraditional media, and define strategies that work. Desiree Peterkin Bell is a strategist, brand builder and problem solver.
In recognition of her efforts, Desiree has been honored as one of the industry’s best and brightest by PR Week’s “40 under 40″; as a ‘Shorty Award’ winner; by the Philadelphia Tribune as “One of Philadelphia’s Most Influential African-American Women”; by Black Enterprise as a “triple threat”, and by Philadelphia Business Journal as a “40 under 40” recipient.
Prior to establishing DPBell & Associates, Desiree Peterkin Bell served in two appointed positions for the City of Philadelphia and for former Mayor Michael A. Nutter: Director of Communications and Strategy, and City Representative. As Director of Communications she was responsible for creating and leading local, regional, national, international, traditional and non-traditional media strategies for the City of Philadelphia and Mayor Michael A. Nutter. She crafted the first-ever social media policy for the City of Philadelphia and built an award winning online presence for the City.
CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE And Sisterly Affection
As City Representative, Desiree served as the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the country’s largest Fourth of July celebration, the multi-day, citywide, Wawa Welcome America! festival produced under the auspices of Wawa Welcome America, Inc. The event aired nationally over cable network VH-1 and regionally via Philadelphia leading broadcast outlet, 6ABC. She served as the only African American Female Race Director in the country for the City’s award-winning GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon Race Weekend events, including the USTAF-sanctioned Full Marathon, the Half Marathon, Rothman Institute 8K, Kids Fun Run and the companion Health & Fitness Expo. Desiree also served as Executive Producer of The Philadelphia Collection, a week-long series of fashion and style related events that served as the City’s primary marketing campaign supporting Philadelphia’s fashion design and retailing industries and its leading institutions of fashion education.
Additionally, she served as the lead in drafting and negotiating the successful bid for Philadelphia to host the Democratic National Convention that took place in July 2016. During the Convention, Desiree served as a Senior Adviser to the CEO of the DNCC and her team.
With a keen eye for developing ground-breaking strategic partnerships, Desiree also led the negotiations and strategic communications for the City of Philadelphia in the execution and production of Jay-Z’s Made in America Festival, Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit and the hosting of Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia – the largest event ever hosted by a North American city.
Prior to assuming the dual Administration posts, Desiree served as Senior Advisor for Communications for Obama for America – Pennsylvania, leading the development and execution of a statewide communications strategy in all seven media markets. The campaign earned positive media coverage via proactive and rapid response press events, paid ads, and public events supporting President Barack Obama’s successful reelection efforts in the “must-win” battleground state, Pennsylvania.
From 2006 to fall of 2010, Desiree served as the Director of Communications for Mayor Cory A. Booker in Newark, New Jersey, where she was the youngest senior official appointed in the Administration. As the Director of Communications for the City of Newark, Desiree built an award-winning twenty-first century, multi-platform communications network for Newark where one did not previously exist. In 2009, the New Jersey League of Municipalities recognized her leadership and named the city’s Office of Communications as the ‘Best City Office of Communications in New Jersey’.
Desiree is credited with helping to build Mayor Cory Booker's significant social media presence, helping to launch the Newark Tech Group and helping to redefine Newark's national brand and image. Desiree also led on behalf of the Administration and Mayor Cory Booker, the development of the Emmy and NAACP Image award nominated docu-series, Brick City which chronicled the first few years of the Booker Administration and City of Newark. Airing on Sundance, and Executive Produced by Forest Whitaker, Brick City the docu-series went on to win a Peabody Award.
As Communications Director, Desiree always sought creative ways to highlight the good in the City of Newark and its people. She led the production team and digital response in the national feud between Mayor Cory Booker and late night show host, Conan O'Brien which resulted in millions of impressions for the Mayor, the City and the work being done to elevate the City of Newark.
The Big Apple
Prior to joining Mayor Booker’s team, Desiree served in the administration of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as Vice President of Government Affairs for the city’s marketing development corporation, NYC Marketing. Desiree developed and implemented strategies and platforms to secure multi-million dollar sponsorships for the city with General Motors, Universal Studios, Country Music Awards, The Latin Grammys, and negotiated media barters with cities including London, Amsterdam, and Dusseldorf, Germany.
Desiree had previously served as the Supervising Legislative Representative for the Bloomberg Administration representing and lobbying matters before the 51-member city council. While in this role, she shepherded three historic pieces of legislation through to final passage and public law: the New York City Smoke Free Air Act of 2002, Tort Reform, and the Film Tax Credit.
After a brief stint in Washington, D.C., working on a range of public policy issues, the National Urban Fellows Program awarded Desiree a full scholarship toward a Master’s in Public Administration. As a National Urban Fellow, Desiree was selected by Mayor Bart Peterson, Indianapolis, Indiana, to serve in his administration addressing community engagement, economic development, education, strategic governance, and affordable housing issues.
What drives Desiree
Desiree Peterkin Bell recognizes that she drinks deeply from wells she did not dig, and spends a lot of her free time mentoring young students of color, specifically young women. She is a founding member of the Simmons Memorial Foundation, a non-profit that supports students in their efforts to achieve their education and self-reliance goals. She focuses on students whose backgrounds, similar to her own, are modest; encouraging them to break through boundaries and barriers to determine the path toward their goals.
Desiree Peterkin Bell is an alumna of the A Better Chance program and a graduate of Swarthmore College where she majored in Political Science and Education and received the Dean’s Award for outstanding academic achievement and exemplary community service. In addition, she excelled in athletics as a five-time National Collegiate Athletic Association All-American in track and field.
Desiree is a member of a number of boards and commissions. Most notably, she is a member of the Union League of Philadelphia, a Founding Member of the Walnut Club of Philadelphia, a Vision2020 Delegate, and a Commissioner serving on Governor Wolf’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs.
Desiree is also a Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication teaching Urban Communications. Desiree also travels the world speaking on the theme of Purpose, Not Position, a mantra that guides her life and her passion.
Desiree lives in Center City, Philadelphia with her husband Brian and their 8-year old daughter, who is an avid gymnast.