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Published on : Tuesday, January 12, 2016
In June 2014, Coker Graham was promoted to executive vice-president of the PHLCVB as part of a strategic succession plan that allowed her to continue leading the organisation’s convention sales efforts, while expanding her responsibilities to include overseeing all of the PHLCVB’s departments and operational duties.
A 21-year Hyatt Hotel Corporation veteran, Coker Graham will be the only female African-American president & CEO to lead a major CVB in the top 50 US markets.
“Julie Coker Graham is a talented, experienced and respected professional and her hard work and dedication to Philadelphia during her tenure at the PHLCVB has been pivotal to the city’s continued recognition as a first-choice destination for all visitors,” said Nick DeBenedictis, PHLCVB chairman. “I have great confidence that she is the right leader to build upon the successes of Jack Ferguson and maintain the PHLCVB’s reputation as one of the most recognisable destination marketing organisations in the country.”
As the primary sales and marketing agency for the expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center, in 2014 the PHLCVB boasted its strongest convention booking year in a decade.
Between May 2014 and December 2014, more than US$870m in new business for future years was booked into the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Coker Graham will work to continue this momentum with new sales and marketing initiatives.
The PHLCVB is also the official tourism promotion agency for Philadelphia globally and, under Coker Graham’s leadership, will continue efforts to further promote travel to Philadelphia, which claims to have moved from 21st to the 15th in overseas visitation rankings.
“It is a great honour to be assuming the position of PHLCVB president & CEO. On the heels of a visit by Pope Francis in September that drew nearly one million national and international visitors, Philadelphia’s star continues to rise across the globe. It is an extremely exciting time to be taking the reins,” said Coker Graham. “As we look ahead to a year that includes the City of Philadelphia hosting the 2016 Democratic National Convention and tens of thousands of delegates and leaders from around the world, I look forward to sharing Philadelphia’s story.”
Julie Coker Graham has been appointed president and CEO of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) in the US following the retirement of current president and CEO Jack Ferguson.