Black Meetings and Tourism

January / February 2020

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B M & T ••• January/February 2020 ••• 4 At Black Meetings & Tourism, we typically require a three to four month lead time for stories to be included in our bi-monthly print maga- zine. So our cover story for this issue – "A Conversation With Julie Coker Graham" – was put to bed back in September of last year and slated for this January/February book. Julie's impressive resume and longtime commitment to the multicultural market seg- ment has earned her our deep respect, grat- itude and admiration, as well as a stellar reputation in this industry. The outstanding work she has done in Philadelphia has not only generated growth in visitor numbers, but has also served to engage more people of color in the hospitality, meetings and tourism arena. I applaud you Julie and am honored to call you my friend and colleague. Quite unexpectedly, however, we received word the Julie would be stepping down from her post as President/CEO of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau to assume a similar post in San Diego in March of this year. We decided, however, to go with Julie on the cover of our January/February 2020 issue anyway and give her all of the recognition she deserves for her accomplishments during her tenure in Philly. Obviously it's clear that we should PUBLISHER'S MESSAGE Black Meetings & Tourism is published bi-monthly by SunGlo Enterprises, 20840 Chase St., Winnetka, CA 91306-1207 •Telephone: (818)709-0646/Fax: (818) 709-4753 Copyright 2020 by SunGlo Enterprises. All rights reserved. Single Copies, $6.00 Subscriptions $45.00. Postage Paid at Pasadena, CA. •Postmaster send address changes to Black Meetings & Tourism, 20840 Chase St., Winnetka, CA 91306-1207. Solomon J. Herbert Publisher/Editor-In-Chief E-Mail: run another feature on Julie during 2020 once she settles into her new digs at the San Diego Tourism Authority. I'm confident her leading the team at SDTA will be a profound game chang- er, and elevate this beautiful destination even higher on a meeting planner's wish list. The process to find a new leader at the Philadelphia CVB is now underway. The Administrative Committee of the PHLCVB Board of Directors recently accepted Coker's resignation and approved the activation of a search committee and firm. John McNichol, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority and PHLCVB board member, will serve as the search com- mittee chair. SearchWide Global, a national executive recruitment firm specializing in the hospitality industry with an emphasis on exec- utive level positions, has been contracted to conduct the national search. I truly hope that SearchWide will do their due diligence to ensure that the pool of candidates they bring to the table will be diverse and inclusive. The fact that there are only 11 African-Americans head- ing up CVBs in the US is a clear indication that unfortunately, a thorough and inclusive execu- tive search is not the norm. Julie has definitely left her mark on Philadelphia, and we encourage BM&T's audi- ence of meeting, incentive and event planners, as well as our travel agent readers, to continue to support the City of Brotherly Love and book their business there whenever and as often as possible. We also urge you all to take another (and closer) look at San Diego, which has always boasted a spectacular visitor product, but with Julie coming on board, it can only get better. San Diego is home to a world-class convention center, the legendry California weather, and is one of the homeports for Holland America Line, whose president, Orlando Ashford, is an African-American. Ashford – in fact the whole Holland America Line African-American leadership team – will grace the March/April cover of Black Meetings & Tourism.

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