About Me

Desiree Peterkin Bell, president and CEO of DPBell & Associates, 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 Peterkin is focused on championing causes that amplify the voices of people of color and other underserved and marginalized communities.

Desiree’s 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 Peterkin 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

Desiree’s 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 Peterkin 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 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 largest 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 Peterkin Bell 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.

Desiree, a strategist, brand builder, and problem solver, 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 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 major billboards featuring African artists in Times Square, featuring the first-ever African artist/rapper from Tanzania. As a Hip Hop enthusiast, Desiree also led the launch of the Birthplaceofhiphop. nyc launch with KRS-One celebrating Hip Hop’s 50th Anniversary.

Driven by Purpose

Desiree’s early experiences shaped who she 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.

Desiree graduated from Swarthmore College, where she 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 Peterkin Bell 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 various 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.

She lives on the East Coast with her husband, Brian, and their daughter Kaelyn.

Desiree Peterkin Bell