Desiree Peterkin-Bell (USA)
Director of Communications and Strategic Partnerships, City of Philadelphia
- Communications Director for Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter
- Honored as one of the industry's best and brightest in PR Week's '40 under 40'
- 'Shorty Award' winner
Desiree is a strategic planner, brand strategist, and savvy public administrator. Honored as one of the industry’s best and brightest in PR Week’s 40 under 40, and a ‘Shorty Award’ winner, Peterkin Bell regularly strives to identify, create and leverage traditional and non traditional media. She currently serves as Director of Communications and Strategic Partnerships for Mayor Michael Nutter for the City of Philadelphia. She is responsible for the long term planning and oversight of the Mayor’s communications strategy and works closely with the Mayor and top Administration officials as a senior advisor.
Prior to this position, Ms. Bell had served as the Director of Communications for Mayor Cory A. Booker in Newark, NJ. She was the youngest senior official appointed in the Administration. As the Director of Communications for the City of Newark, New Jersey, Peterkin Bell built an award-winning twenty-first century multi-platform communications network for the City where one did not previously exist. In 2009, the New Jersey League of Municipalities recognized Peterkin Bell’s leadership and named the City’s Office of Communications as the ‘Best City Office of Communications in New Jersey’.
Desiree was the architect of the City of Newark’s social media footprint. Under her leadership, the City launched the ‘Newark Tech Group’, a working group of technology sector founders and executives who teamed with the City and the Mayor to activate and amplify social Web audiences. Designees from Twitter, Facebook, Google, Apple, LinkedIn, Ning, Ustream, Causes and Seesmic, joined the working group to harness new media platforms, experiences and connections to elevate local, national and global engagement with Newark’s residents.
Prior to joining Mayor Booker’s team, Peterkin Bell served 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 multimillion dollar partnerships and sponsorships for the City with General Motors, Universal Studios, Country Music Awards, The Latin Grammy’s, and negotiated media barters with cities like London, Amsterdam, and Dusseldorf, Germany
Before her marketing role with the City of New York, Peterkin Bell served as an advocate for the Bloomberg Administration in 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 Peterkin Bell a full scholarship toward a Master’s in Public Administration. As a National Urban Fellow, Mayor Bart Peterson, Indianapolis, Indiana, selected Peterkin Bell to serve in his Administration addressing community engagement, economic development, education, strategic governance, and affordable housing issues.
Mrs. 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, Desiree excelled in athletics as a five-time National Collegiate Athletic Association All-American in track and field.
A special part of Peterkin Bell’s vocation includes mentoring minority students. 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, like hers are modest, encouraging them to break through boundaries and barriers to determine the path toward their goals.
Mrs. Peterkin Bell is married to Brian Bell and has a three year old daughter. They live in Center City, Philadelphia. Follow Desiree on Twitter @DPBell