Desiree Peterkin Bell

President and CEO of DPBell & Associates

President and CEO of DPBell & Associates, Desiree Peterkin Bell is a two-time best-selling author, award-winning, seasoned political and brand strategist, and advocate who seeks to lead movements, not moments. Her 20-plus years of experience with some of the biggest names in politics, as well as those in the cultural and global landscape, solidified her position as a trusted advisor, brand builder, and key figure in political, public affairs, and strategic circles.

Always driven by purpose, Desiree is focused on championing causes that amplify the voices of people of color and other underserved and marginalized communities.

Professional Trajectory

After Desiree graduated as a National Urban Fellow (New York) with a master’s degree in public administration, she went to work for former Mayor Bart Peterson in Indianapolis. Her work included addressing several key community issues, such as affordable housing and economic development. However, after 9/11, she decided to return to her hometown of New York, working for then-Mayor Bloomberg’s administration as a Supervising Legislative Representative.

While working for Bloomberg, Desiree championed three historic pieces of legislation in public law: The New York City Smoke-Free Air Act of 2022, Tort Reform, and the Film Tax Credit. Recognized for her initiative, resourcefulness, and tenacity, she was asked to serve as Vice President of Government Affairs of NYC Marketing. She secured multi-million dollar sponsorships for the city from major corporations, including Universal Studios, General Motors, The Latin Grammys, and the Country Music Awards.

A Move from New York to New Jersey

Her stellar work in New York was recognized across the Hudson by then-Mayor Corey Booker. She left New York to join Booker and served as the youngest senior official appointed to his team as Director of Communication. She built an award-winning 21st Century communications network that propelled the mayor’s robust social media presence. Within four years, Booker was engaging with 1.1 million followers. Her work was recognized by the New Jersey League of Municipalities, naming Newark’s Office of Communications as the “Best City Office of Communication in New Jersey.”

The City of Brotherly Love Comes Calling

Desiree took her experience and success in New York and New Jersey to Philadelphia to work for then-Mayor Michael A. Nutter. She served in two appointed positions for the City of Philadelphia: Director of Communications and Strategy and City Representative. As Director of Communications, she was responsible for creating and leading local, regional, national, international, traditional, and non-traditional media strategies. She also crafted the first-ever social media policy for the City of Philadelphia and built an award-winning online presence for the city.

As City Representative, Desiree Peterkin Bell was the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the country’s largest Fourth of July event, the multi-day, citywide Wawa Welcome America festival, produced by Wawa Welcome America, Inc. The event aired nationally on cable network VH-1 and regionally on Philadelphia’s premier broadcast source, 6ABC. She was the only African American Female Race Director in the U.S. for the city’s award-winning GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon Race Weekend activities. She also worked as Executive Producer of The Philadelphia Collection, a week-long series of fashion and style-related events that functioned as the city's principal marketing campaign to support Philadelphia’s fashion design and retail industries and its renowned fashion education institutions.

In addition, Desiree led the formulation and negotiation of Philadelphia’s successful bid to host the Democratic National Convention (DNCC), which took place in July 2016. During the Convention, she was a Senior Advisor to the DNCC’s CEO and staff.

Her accomplishments in Philadelphia also include spearheading the negotiations and strategic communications for the execution and production of Jay-Z’s Made in America Festival, Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit, and hosting Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia – the most significant event ever hosted by a North American city.

Before Desiree accepted her dual administration roles for the City of Philadelphia, she served as Senior Advisor of Communications at Obama for America – Pennsylvania, leading the development and execution of a statewide communications strategy in all seven media markets.

Venturing Out on Her Own

After several positions in government, Desiree launched DPBell & Associates in 2016, harnessing her talent and abilities to work with individuals, brands, and initiatives in positions that can affect change. She is committed to creating spaces and developing new paradigms that empower people of color to make a difference in media, politics, movements, and entertainment. One of her projects is her signature Chat & Chew events, in which she co-facilitates honest talks about various topics affecting women, such as race, culture, and politics, to foster constructive dialogue and healing. These vibrant conversations hosted worldwide are poised to continue and have a far-reaching influence on the lives of women and girls.

A strategist, brand builder, and problem solver, Desiree has been recognized for her work and achievements. DPBell received the 2023 Innovation Award from the Women’s Business Awards. She was a 2023 Honoree at the Top Women Awards by PR News, received the Trailblazer Award Honoree at the 2022 PABJ Media Professional Awards from the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, was honored as one of the industry’s best and brightest by PR Week’s “40 under 40,″ and was a ‘Shorty Award’ winner. She was also recognized by the Philadelphia Tribune as “One of Philadelphia’s Most Influential African-American Women,” by Black Enterprise as a “triple threat,” and by the Philadelphia Business Journal as a “40 under 40” recipient.

As the Founder of DPBell & Associates, Desiree crafted a firm that serves both national and international clients, with team members in Washington, D.C., New York City, the Continent of Africa, New Jersey, Tel Aviv, and Los Angeles. They specialize in public relations, brand management, development and positioning, strategic counseling, crisis communications, media training, digital organizing, event production, political consulting, content development, and strategic partnerships.

DPBell & Associates is an award-winning firm that represents movements, not moments; brands that matter; and people who want to make a difference. As one of the leading firms focused on addressing issues of racial inequality and equity, DPBell & Associates is often called on to advise organizations and executives and CEOs of Fortune 100, 500, and C-suite offices.

Desiree and her team at DPBell & Associates led the successful strategy and passage of the country’s first Breonna’s Law in Virginia, limiting “no-knock” warrants. She and her team have made significant strides in entertainment, content, and technology, most notably in Africa. Working in more than 15 African countries, she led the PR, marketing, and brand strategy for the five-time Telly Award and Emmy-nominated The Mic Africa, the first music competition and docuseries born on the continent that connects African music, arts, and culture with a new generation of fans worldwide. Her steadfast and strategic approach after two successful seasons has led to 1 billion media impressions and four prominent billboards featuring African artists in Times Square, featuring the first-ever African artist/rapper from Tanzania. As a Hip Hop enthusiast, she also led the launch of the launch with KRS-One celebrating Hip Hop’s 50th Anniversary.

Driven by Purpose

Her early experiences shaped who Desiree is today and her passions. From a series of unfortunate events that left her family homeless to her ability to rise through education and deal with the ugliness and inequities of racism, privilege, and other societal issues, she chose a path to make a difference in the world. She is passionate about mentoring the next generations, especially young women of color, providing them with tools and strength to find resilience, having known firsthand her fight to get where she is today.

She graduated from Swarthmore College, where Desiree majored in Political Science and Education. She received the Dean’s Award for exemplary community service and outstanding achievement, as well as a full scholarship from the National Urban Fellows toward a master’s degree in public administration.

With offices worldwide, Desiree and DPBell & Associates are at the forefront of significant issues, policies, and strategies that impact various constituencies on a local, national, and international level. The company provides multiple services, including brand management, development, and positioning; crisis communication; strategic and political counsel; media training; high-impact events; stakeholder convenings; strategic partnerships; content development; and more.

Desiree Peterkin Bell lives on the East Coast with her husband, Brian, and their daughter Kaelyn.

Desiree Peterkin Bell Readers are Introduced to Herself and Her Business

Published On: 03-10-2023

I am a mother, wife, daughter, and sister passionate about making a difference in the world. I am a two-time New York Times bestselling author, award-winning public affairs and brand strategist, speaker, and advocate who seeks to lead movements rather than moments. I have served as a trusted advisor and brand builder for some of the nation's and world's most influential thought and cultural leaders of our time for over 25 years. Despite the change in my position, I continue to advocate for causes that amplify the voices of people of color and other marginalized communities. I often say that I am the poster child for Battle-Tested, but GOD-Bested; with a career that has cemented my skillset and knowledge, I have earned my place as a key figure in political, public affairs, marketing, and strategy circles around the globe.

I am the company's founder and chief executive officer. This boutique global public affairs firm with team members in Washington, D.C., New York City, New Jersey, Mauritius, Tel Aviv, and Los Angeles serves national and international clients. We specialize in public relations, brand management, innovative technology and positioning, strategic counseling, crisis communications, media training, digital organizing, high-level event production, political consulting, content creation, and strategic alliances.

DPBell & Associates is a prestigious public affairs firm representing movements, not moments; brands that matter and individuals who wish to make a difference. As a leading firm addressing racial inequality and equity issues, DPBell & Associates is frequently asked to advise Fortune 100, 500, and C-suite organizations, executives, and CEOs.

In Virginia, my team at DPBell & Associates and I led the successful strategy and passage of the nation's first Breonna's Law. During the presidential and midterm elections, we traveled the country to provide media training, digital organizing strategies, and essential press assistance. We have made significant entertainment, content, and technology advancements, particularly in Africa. Desiree led the public relations, marketing, and brand strategy for The Mic Africa, the first music competition and docuseries born on the continent that connects African music, arts, and culture to a new generation of fans worldwide. Her consistent and strategic approach has resulted in one billion media impressions and four prominent billboards of African artists in Times Square, including the first-ever African artist/rapper from Tanzania.

How are your current efforts contributing to the advancement of women?

I am fully committed to curating spaces and redefining new paradigms that enable people of color to influence media, politics, social movements, and the entertainment industry. One of her projects is her signature Chat & Chew events, at which she co-facilitates candid conversations on various issues affecting women, including race, culture, and politics, to foster constructive dialogue and promote healing. These global conversations are likely to continue and have a worldwide impact on the lives of women and girls. I've had the privilege of bringing these conversations to 13 U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, where we partnered with former First Lady Michelle Obama and the United States of Women for the largest community event; we've also had these conversations in Panama, Mexico, Tel Aviv, the United Kingdom, Bermuda, Nigeria, Ghana, and Colombia.

- What recommendations would you offer for establishing a recognizable brand in a competitive market?

Feel free to stand out from the crowd. We are all divinely and uniquely created. I try to avoid following trends and instead make and concentrate on things nobody is discussing. Sometimes, as Black women, we doubt our abilities, whereas many of our counterparts are not subjected to nearly as much scrutiny before "trying something new." Allow yourself the time and flexibility to try something new. Be courageous and constant.

How do you maintain motivation throughout uncertain seasons?

The truth is, I pray, and I see a therapist (or two). During times of uncertainty, I frequently require guidance from something greater than myself. I often meditate, concentrating on achieving my objectives. Black women frequently succumb to these dangerous self-defining stereotypes, the "Strong Black Woman" mentality, when we should permit ourselves to feel vulnerable, pause, slow down, and breathe. I am learning that my strength does not come from pushing through uncertain seasons or difficult times but rather from resting and resting well during these times to regenerate, recharge, and find peace.


- Please describe your 2023 plans and provide your online contact information.

By the grace of GOD, I intend to continue to make a distinct and lasting impression. First, I will reveal new cities and nations hosting "Chat and Chews." I wish to continue providing a forum for difficult conversations that foster coalition and comprehension. We Got Us! As executives, my team and I produced the second annual (Take Back The Mic) TBTM Interactive Festival. The theme of last year's Festival was "Connecting the Continents, Connecting the Culture." Dr. Deepak Chopra, Aja Naomi King, Mustafa Shakir, Baratunde Thurston, and other thought leaders from Business, Technology, Impact, Media & Entertainment, and Innovation were among the featured speakers.

The virtual Festival returns this year with the theme Remixing the Renaissance: Culture and Technology in the New Global South and a new roster of influential leaders in their respective fields. The Festival will occur virtually this year via the team: app and TBTM web platform. In 2023, my team and I will executive produce more global, consequential events. Lastly, I intend to get some much-needed rest. I know I can only give the world, my community, my team, and my organization my best when I am at my best.

I've also been invited to speak at London's House of Lords on "Purpose, Not Position."

Please get in touch with me here:

Twitter: @DPBell



Desiree's most noteworthy achievements: Desiree has been recognized nationally and internationally as one of the best and brightest in Public Affairs and the P.R. industry by P.R. Week's "40 under 40," Black Enterprise, The Obama Administration, For(bes) The Culture, Essence Magazine, Black Enterprise Magazine, and Pope Francis. Philadelphia Association of Journalists, the oldest chapter of the National Association of Journalists, recently presented her with the TrailBlazer Award for her game-changing international reach in consulting, public relations, politics, and the media.