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1:00 PM13:00

Pre-Conference Roundtables


This session is brought to you by Destinations International

Greetings by: Don Welsh, President and CEO, Destinations International

Moderated by: Tonya Ladipo, Founder and CEO of The Ladipo Group, LLC


  • Roger Dow, President and CEO, U.S Travel

  • Marsha Flanagan, Vice President of Learning Experiences at the International Association for Exhibitions and Events (IAEE)

  • Paul Van Deventer, President and CEO of Meeting Planners International (MPI)

  • John Graham, President and CEO of American Society of Association Executives

  • Michelle Mason, President and CEO of Association Forum

  • John Tanzella, President and CEO, International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association

  • Al Kidd, President and CEO, National Association of Sports Commissions

Diversity and Inclusion has become a fundamental strategy and requirement for successful meetings and conventions.

This Roundtable session will examine the current state of Diversity and Inclusion in the meeting and convention industry to create a collaborative approach for Diversity and Inclusion efforts underway by leading Destination Management Organizations.

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“Diverse and Welcoming Cities”

This session is brought to you by Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce

Greetings by: Varsovia Fernandez, Philadelphia Market Executive at Customers Bank and Diversity & Inclusion Committee Chair at the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia

Moderated by: Harold Epps, Director of Commerce for City of Philadelphia


Join us as we engage in a provocative conversation by mayors from various cities articulating their current strategies.

Today, cities and municipalities in the United States are recognizing the economic and social benefits of becoming welcoming communities and fostering a welcoming culture. Cities are developing welcoming agendas that look to attract and retain a global workforce and maximize the local economic development and growth opportunities that newcomers bring.



This session is brought to you by Jackson Lewis

Greetings by: Malcom J. Ingram, Attorney at Law at Jackson Lewis

Moderated by: Ed McNeill, President of Lodging Media'


  • National Association of Black Hotel Owners Operators and Developers: Andy Ingraham, Founder & President/CEO

  • National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners, Marlinda Henry, President

  • Asian American Hotel Owners Association: Hitesh Patel, Chairman

  • American Hotel and Lodging Association: Rosanna Maietta, Executive Vice President of Communications and Public Relations

Minority association management must deliver to it dues-paying members and govern their association through an elected board or other governing body, along with association committees, commissions, task forces, councils and other units.

DISCUSSION: Advocacy, Education, Communication

Overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Association, a non-profit organization providing membership services to paid Association members (adult and youth). Administrating support and coordination of services and staff (volunteers and clerical support, as applicable) necessary to comply with bylaws, policies and performance standards. Managing and/or execution of all administrative/transactional activities required of the Association to maintain the Association significant contact with the public (i.e. members, proprietors, governing organizations, suppliers, and the media).

ATTENDING: American Hotel Lodging Association (AHLA); Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA); National Association of Black Hotel Owners Operators and Developers (NABHOOD); Latino Hotel Association (LHA); National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners (NCBMP)

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1:00 PM13:00

Pre-Conference Think Tank


“Elevate the discussion of diversity & inclusion in higher education”

Developed by Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management, the Academic Think Tank is specifically designed for deans, directors, faculty and Diversity & Inclusion practitioners to discuss ideas and best practices for incorporating diversity and inclusion on university campuses.

Our goal is to elevate the conversation around diversity and inclusion in higher education by discussing best practices for incorporating diversity and inclusion content into academic programs, program strategies to enhance the experience for a diverse population of students, and how diversity and inclusion impacts faculty recruitment and retention.

Sponsored by:


Greetings by: Debra Blair, Associate Professor, The School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management

Thought Leaders:

During the Academic Think Tank, faculty and educators will:

Discuss Best Practices on how to incorporate diversity and inclusion content into academic programs that leverage the collaborative potential of academia and industry.

  • The intent of this Discussion Group is to bring academicians and industry together to develop a Diversity & Inclusion content “blueprint” that meets the needs of industry and education in the preparation of future industry professionals.  Strategies will include everything from internships and externships to metrics and partnerships. 
    Outcome: Diversity & Inclusion Collaborative (Industry & Academic Work Teams)

Discover how to design educational programs through implementing diversity and inclusion content and case studies throughout curricula.

  • The intent of this Discussion Group is to drill down to discuss specific diversity and inclusion content through the use of industry-relevant case studies.

Learn ways to enhance program strategies that focus on providing comprehensive quality student experiences for students of color.

  • The intent of this Discussion Group will focus on the “student experience”.  Faculty and administrators will discuss the challenges and best approaches to recruiting and supporting students of color.

Discuss how diversity and inclusion programs can impact faculty recruitment and retention.

  • The intent of this Discussion Group is to discuss current initiatives and brainstorm around new diversity and inclusion initiatives to cultivate, recruit and retain a strong pipeline of diverse faculty. 

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5:00 PM17:00

Opening Reception

Welcome Introduction: Richard Lee Snow, Chairman of the PHL Diversity Advisory Board

Remarks by:

  • JoAnne A. Epps, Executive Vice President and Provost of Temple University

  • Michael Newmuis, Director of Stakeholder Engagement & Community Affairs at Visit Philadelphia

  • Julie Coker Graham, President & CEO of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau

  • Ed McNeill, President of Lodging Media

Sponsored By:

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6:00 PM18:00


During this year’s D&I Conference, Philadelphia, PA., a first time award will be presented by Lodging Magazine. The focus of this award is offered/given to a person or organization that delivers sincere and demonstrated leadership, in addition to being a clear difference maker in the area of Diversity & Inclusion domestically or globally. This inaugural award will set the national and international trend that focuses on the leaders that actually make a conscious decision to make change a reality in the Tourism & Hospitality Industry.

Master of Ceremony: Jonathan Lovitz, Senior Vice President of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce

Welcome Speakers:

Remarks: Mayor James Kenney, Mayor of City of Philadelphia

Diversity & Inclusion Award Recipient: Norman K. Jenkins, Founder & President of Capstone Development

Armchair Interviewer: Julie Coker Graham, President & CEO of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau

Armchair Interviewee: David Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and the Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation

Sponsored by:


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8:00 AM08:00

Breakfast & General Session

8-8:45 a.m.


8:45-10 a.m.

General Session

Master of CeremonyJonathan Lovitz, Senior Vice President of National LGBT Chamber of Commerce

Welcome Remarks by: Nolan N. Atkinson, Jr,  Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer of the Office of Mayor Jim Kenney; City of Philadelphia

Opening Speaker: Justin G. Nelson, Co-Founder and President of National LGBT Chamber of Commerce

CEO Roundtable

Rapidly shifting local and national demographics, as well as continued globalization, mean that organizations must embrace diversity and inclusion not only as a means to enhance business performance but also as an enabler of innovation and collaboration.

 Businesses must make diversity a priority in practice, not just a promise. While there has been significant progress, organizations must do more to ensure everyone is able to achieve their dreams and potential.

 Hear from national business leaders, from the private and public sectors, fostering a positive and productive workplace.  Although advancement has been achieved, as leaders it is imperative diversity and inclusion are more than goals to strive for – it’s smart business.

Moderator: Sophia Lee, Partner & Chief Officer of Diversity and Inclusion at Blank Rome


  • Don Welsh, President and CEO, Destinations International

  • Nina Vaca, Founder, CEO and Chairman of Pinnacle Group

Sponsored by:

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10:15 AM10:15

Breakout Sessions

10:15 - 11 a.m.

Supplier Diversity

Moderated by: Gerald A. Fernandez, President & Founder of The Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance (MFHA)

Panel Introduction by: Bill Hooker, President, SourceOne Innovations, Inc.


This session will deliberate Supplier Diversity in Hospitality proactive business programs encouraging the use of minority, women veteran, LGBT, service disabled veteran owned, historically underutilized business, and SBA-defined small business vendors as suppliers. Supplier diversity programs recognize sourcing products and services helps to sustain and progressively transform a company’s supply chain.

10:15 - 11 a.m.

Women Leadership & Board Governance

Moderated by: Terri Easter, Principal of T.H. Easter Consulting Group LLC

Panel Introduction by: Teddie Malangwasira, Scholar, Leadership Speaker & Author; Malangwasira Leadership Consulting


Today’s business and social environment requires bold steps forward, especially for companies and organizations looking to change the paradigms of business. We need to overcome the barriers to creating organizational boards that better reflect the diversity of our society. The proportion of women and people of color represented is a disappointing missed opportunity for the organization to model how to operate in an awake, inclusive fashion.

11:15 - 12 p.m.

Talent Pipeline

Moderated by: Jameel Rush, Philadelphia Chapter President of the Society for Human Resource Management

Panel Introduction by: Christopher E. Lopez, Sr., Diversity Contact Recruiter, National Association of African Americans in Human Resources


  • Marlinda Henry, President of National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners

Organizations and educational institutions are partnering to align education and training with the jobs of today and tomorrow. But, how common is this practice? What works? And what are the plans for the future? In this Talent Pipeline session, we explore how companies are recruiting and can partner with universities to secure their talent pipelines.

11:15 - 12 p.m.

Diversity in Healthcare

Moderated by: John Clayton, Director of Diversity Inclusion & Workforce Initiatives of Independence Blue Cross

Panel Introduction by: Bridgett Battles, Project Manager for the Office of Enterprise Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement at Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health


  • Millicent Gorham, Executive Director of National Black Nurses Association, Inc.

  • Ky’a Jackson, Director of Diversity & Inclusion, AmeriHealth Caritas

  • Dana Beckton, Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Christian Care Health Systems

Today it is vital to eliminate inequities in the quality and availability of health care for ethnic, racial and economic minorities.  Join us as we discuss why Cultural competence is required by healthcare professional to provide optimal care and services to patients from a wide range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

11:15 - 12 p.m.

Benchmarking Best Practices: Diversity & Inclusion

Moderated by: Michael Days, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion of Philadelphia Inquirer

Panel Introduction by: Nolan N. Atkinson, Jr,  Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer of the Office of Mayor Jim Kenney; City of Philadelphia


This session will present “Benchmarking Best Practices” in Hospitality highlighting the process of comparing one’s business processes and performance metrics to industry bests or best practices from other companies.

11:15 - 12 p.m.

Diversity in Tech

The Tech Sector has a Diversity Problem, an industry driven by innovation and finding solutions, why therefore is this still an issue in the 21st Century? Join us as we discuss the business case for diversity and inclusion, and how to implement strategies and achieve success.

Moderated by: Kiera Smalls, Executive Director of Philly Startup Leaders

Panel Introduction by: Tyrone Dixon, CEO and Founder, Let's Live Philly


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12:00 PM12:00

Closing Luncheon

Master of Ceremony: Jonathan Lovitz, Senior Vice President of National LGBT Chamber of Commerce

Remarks by:

  • Jeremy Jordan, Associate Dean of School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management

  • Due Quach, Author, Founder & CEO Calm Clarity

Arm Chair Interviewee: Wade Davis, Former NFL Player & Thought Leader & Public Speaker

Closing Remarks by: Sheila Hess, City Representative, City of Philadelphia

Sponsored by:

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