Desiree Peterkin Bell

President and CEO of DPBell & Associates

Desiree Peterkin Bell, the president and CEO of DPBell & Associates is a two-time best-selling author, award-winning political and brand strategist, and advocate dedicated to leading movements, not moments. With over two decades of experience working with prominent figures in politics and the cultural and global landscape, she has firmly established herself as a trusted advisor, brand builder, and key player in political, public affairs, and strategic circles.

Driven by purpose, Desiree is committed to championing causes that elevate the voices of people of color and other underserved and marginalized communities.

Professional Trajectory

After earning her master’s degree in public administration as a National Urban Fellow (New York), she began her career with former Mayor Bart Peterson in Indianapolis, addressing critical community issues such as affordable housing and economic development. In the aftermath of 9/11, she returned to her hometown of New York, joining then-Mayor Bloomberg’s administration as a Supervising Legislative Representative.

During her tenure with Bloomberg, Desiree was instrumental in championing three historic pieces of legislation: The New York City Smoke-Free Air Act of 2022, Tort Reform, and the Film Tax Credit. Her initiative and resourcefulness led to her appointment as Vice President of Government Affairs for NYC Marketing, where she secured multi-million dollar sponsorships for the city from major corporations such as Universal Studios, General Motors, The Latin Grammys, and the Country Music Awards.

A Move from New York to New Jersey

Her outstanding work in New York caught the attention of then-Mayor Corey Booker in New Jersey. She joined Booker’s team as the youngest senior official appointed, serving as Director of Communication. She built an award-winning 21st-century communications network, significantly enhancing the mayor’s social media presence to 1.1 million followers within four years. Her efforts were recognized by the New Jersey League of Municipalities, which named Newark’s Office of Communications the “Best City Office of Communication in New Jersey.”

The City of Brotherly Love Comes Calling

Desiree brought her expertise to Philadelphia, working for then-Mayor Michael A. Nutter. She held two appointed positions: Director of Communications and Strategy and City Representative. As Director of Communications, she developed and led local, regional, national, and international media strategies, including the creation of Philadelphia’s first social media policy and an award-winning online presence.

As City Representative, Desiree served as Executive Director and CEO of the nation’s largest Fourth of July event, the Wawa Welcome America festival. The event aired nationally on VH-1 and regionally on 6ABC. She was also the only African American Female Race Director in the U.S. for the award-winning GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon. Additionally, she worked as Executive Producer of The Philadelphia Collection, a series of fashion and style events supporting the city's fashion industry.

Desiree Peterkin Bell led the successful bid to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where she served as a Senior Advisor. Her other achievements in Philadelphia include negotiating and managing communications for Jay-Z’s Made in America Festival, the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit, and Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia – the most significant event ever hosted by a North American city.

Before her roles in Philadelphia, Desiree served as Senior Advisor of Communications for Obama for America – Pennsylvania, developing and executing a statewide communications strategy across seven media markets.

Venturing Out on Her Own

In 2016, after various government roles, Desiree launched DPBell & Associates. The firm collaborates with individuals, brands, and initiatives to create meaningful change. She is dedicated to developing spaces and paradigms that empower people of color in media, politics, movements, and entertainment. One notable initiative is her Chat & Chew events, which facilitate honest discussions on topics like race, culture, and politics, fostering dialogue and healing among women globally.

Her firm has received numerous accolades, including the 2023 Innovation Award from the Women’s Business Awards. She was honored at the 2023 Top Women Awards by PR News, received the 2022 Trailblazer Award from the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, and was named one of PR Week’s “40 under 40.” Additionally, she was 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 established a firm with national and international clients, with team members located in Washington, D.C., New York City, Africa, New Jersey, Tel Aviv, and Los Angeles. The firm specializes in public relations, brand management, strategic counseling, crisis communications, media training, digital organizing, event production, political consulting, content development, and strategic partnerships.

DPBell & Associates is renowned for representing movements, not moments; brands that matter; and individuals committed to making a difference. The firm advises organizations, executives, and CEOs of Fortune 100, 500, and C-suite offices on racial inequality and equity issues.

Desiree and her team led the successful strategy and passage of the nation’s first Breonna’s Law in Virginia, limiting “no-knock” warrants. She has also made significant strides in entertainment, content, and technology, particularly in Africa. Leading the PR, marketing, and brand strategy for The Mic Africa, a five-time Telly Award and Emmy-nominated music competition and docuseries, she connected African music, arts, and culture with a global audience. Her efforts resulted in 1 billion media impressions and prominent billboards featuring African artists in Times Square. She also played a vital role in the launch with KRS-One, celebrating Hip Hop’s 50th Anniversary.

Driven by Purpose

Her early life experiences, including overcoming homelessness, have profoundly influenced her passions and drive. She is dedicated to mentoring the next generation, especially young women of color, providing them with tools and resilience to succeed. Her journey through education and confronting societal inequities has fueled her commitment to making a difference.

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 and earned a full scholarship from the National Urban Fellows for a master’s degree in public administration.

With offices worldwide, Desiree and DPBell & Associates address significant issues, policies, and strategies that impact diverse constituencies at local, national, and international levels. The firm offers services in brand management, 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.