During Women’s History Month, the Office of Special Events (OSE), would like to celebrate the many women leaders in the Philadelphia event industry. OSE reached out to a few women leaders and asked them why diversity and inclusivity are crucial in the event industry.
Marilyn Rodriguez, Events Manager, APM Philadelphia
“As an Event Manager for Associación Puertorriqueños en Marcha the planning phase of preparing for an event must include inclusion and diversity. People want to feel welcome in a setting that allows them to learn from others’ perspectives regardless of their identity and status.
APM welcomes everyone regardless of their race, gender, language, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, etc. My hope and goal is that they leave feeling empowered and motivated.”
Vicki Landers, Founder and Executive Director of Disability Pride PA
“As a disabled, queer woman in this industry, I feel a responsibility to raise my voice to make events inclusive. As the Founder & Executive Director of Disability Pride PA, we begin with three questions: what is the intended outcome, who should be at the table, and what will access look like? My hope is that more events are planned with access at the beginning and not an afterthought.”
Felicia Harris-Williams, Principal, HiTouch Enterprises
“In a city as diverse as Philly, it’s important that those who hold the responsibility of managing cultural celebrations & community events are a direct reflection of those cultures. I’ve been honored to manage events like the Philadelphia Juneteenth Festival, Love Park Multicultural Marketplace, and various nonprofit events for some of Philadelphia’s anchor organizations like One Day At A Time, VestedIn, Philadelphia Barristers, Black Brain Campaign, and the African-American Chamber of Commerce. Working alongside diverse leaders who entrust me and my team with their vision to engage and connect the Philadelphia community, has been the highlight of my career as an Event & Marketing Professional.”
Kathleen Titus, Race Director of The Philadelphia Marathon
“The city of Philadelphia is near and dear to me as it is known as the ‘city of firsts’ and I can say that holds true for me. It was the first city I worked, lived, and ran in. My career in hospitality and tourism has allowed me to work all over the world, but running has allowed me to experience it through a different lens, which sometimes meant getting lost and finding my way back on my own (before phones with GPS). Just like leadership!
“Leaving my former position and entering into the running industry was not taken lightly as it is a male-dominated business, but I knew there was a need to empower more females, youth, and those looking for a community to call their own through running. I had the passion, purpose, and drive to shape and shift change, so I jumped in with both feet and haven’t looked back. This industry needs more women leaders and leaders with diverse backgrounds.
“Philadelphia is a city of culture and diversity and my goal as the Race Director for the Philadelphia Marathon is to have everyone see themselves at the start line, no matter what shape, size, age, gender, or ability they are. My greatest joy is seeing our youth line up or meeting someone who connected with us through training runs or on social media and decided to join us in a journey that has changed their life.”