Today we’re featuring Deirdre Childress Hopkins, Strategic Communications Manager at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. She has been a PPRA member for two years and serves on our College Relations Committee.
PPRA: Deirdre, tell us a bit about your background.
DCH: Prior to my position at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, I was the features, city desk, sports and suburban editor atThe Philadelphia Inquirer, where I supervised and edited award-winning reporters and freelancers. Born in Los Angeles, I also previously worked at The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Daily News, United Press International, and the Syracuse Post-Standard. I served as the 2014 and 2015 Convention and Career Fair Program Chair for the National Association of Black Journalists, its 2009-11 Vice President-Print and its former National Secretary. I currently serve on the 2016 Philadelphia DNC’s Communications Working Group and was a member of the 2015 Communications and Marketing Committee for the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
In recent years, I’ve traveled throughout the U.S. and also Toronto, Canada; Kingston, Jamaica and the Caribbean; and Dakar, Senegal, organizing and attending meetings, conferences and conventions.
PPRA: What projects are you working on right now?
DCH: I am leading a team compiling our second annual Year in Review, which received a Ladle Award last year. My goal is to present a more comprehensive and better planned document each year.
PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?
We host more than 1 million visitors a year and our top shows are what make this job constantly compelling and interesting. We have the annual Flower, Auto and Home Shows plus Comic Con and Tattoo Arts, all of which bring unique attendees to the Convention Center. This year will bring Democratic National Convention activities and the anniversary of the African Methodist Episcopal Church founded here in Philadelphia.
PPRA: What was your latest and greatest accomplishment at your job?
I am very proud to be a part of the team of leaders, partners and Center workforce that turned around the perception of the Convention Center in the last three years. A record number of bookings for future years, worth $1.1 billion, was set in 2015, a major milestone for the Center and the city of Philadelphia. I also just completed an overhaul of our website,paconvention.com, and it’s more navigable, captures metrics and offers more to our attendees. It’s a major improvement and serves as a shining welcome mat to our guests.
PPRA: What one piece of advice would you give to your fellow PR pros?
Continue to learn as much as you can about our industry and your employer. I believe in a lifetime of learning.
PPRA: What book or movie could you read or watch again and again?
I am the former film editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and there is an Oscar in my office. I would recommend all of the top movies of 1939, the great year in movies ever! But I’m still upset “The Color Purple” lost to “Out of Africa.”
PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?
I love Amada and Reading Terminal Market. RTM is where all of Philadelphia, regardless of race, class or gender can share a sandwich from Dinic’s.