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Around the Globe & At Home in Philadelphia:
The Status of DEI In the Corporate World

Networking, Discussion, and Luncheon 

Past Event: 4/11/24

DEI Update


The Pyramid Club

1735 Market Street, 52nd Floor

Philadelphia, PA 19103

Is DEI in the Best Interest of Business?

Networking, Luncheon, and Fireside Chat with Philadelphia’s International Business Community


The FACC Philadelphia was delighted to join the Irish-American Business Chamber & Network, as well other Greater Philadelphia international business associations, for the latest installment of the Women in Leadership series.


The Panelists discussed the state of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) frameworks, policies, and initiatives in 2024. How the concept and definition of DEI has evolved, how the DEI backlash factors into the conversation, and where we go from here were all discussed in this during the fireside chat.



• Sheila Alexander-Reid, PHL Diversity Executive Director, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau

• Julia Fleischner, Trustee & Chair of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Committee, Philadelphia Art Museum

• Lauren Holden, Partner, KPMG

Meet the Speakers:

Sheila Alexander-Reid

PHL Diversity Executive Director

Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB)

Sheila was appointed executive director of PHL Diversity, a key business development division of the PHLCVB in September 2022. With decades of leadership experience in diversity, equity and inclusion, and a champion for marginalized communities, Sheila oversees PHL Diversity’s efforts to promote Philadelphia as an inclusive, welcoming destination for meetings and conventions.

Sheila leads implementation and strategy at the PHLCVB to develop and synergize relationships with industry and government stakeholders across Philadelphia’s diverse community. She leads PHL Diversity with the goal of increasing the net convention, meetings and tourism brand value of Philadelphia as a welcoming DEI convention destination, while also advancing opportunities for growth of local businesses as a result of increased event and visitation to the city.

Sheila founded two agencies in which she remains active, Branding4Change, a boutique branding and training agency focused on DEI, and Women in the Life, a social justice non-profit organization that creates safe spaces and social gatherings for lesbians of color.

Prior to joining PHLCVB, Sheila served as senior vice president, business development at BiasSync, a firm that helps organizations more effectively assess and manage unconscious bias in the work environment.

In 2015, Sheila was appointed by Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser as executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Affairs. She advised the Mayor on the implementation of discrimination protections and diversity and inclusion policies that supported D.C.’s LGBTQ residents. She was instrumental in the city’s successful fight for marriage equality, and she also served on a policy committee advising the Biden-Harris campaign. She often collaborated with Destination DC, a destination marketing organization similar to PHLCVB charged with attracting diverse conventions.

In the last decade, Sheila earned certificates in diversity and inclusion from Cornell University and Stanford Graduate School of Business and leadership training from Victory Institute. At the 2019 LGBTQ Leadership Conference at Stanford University, she presented about the intersectionality of race and gender, which launched her personal ambitions for full-time work focused on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Sheila spent 32 years with the Washington City Paper where she served as director of strategic engagement and development manager focusing on sales and marketing. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Spelman College, a historically Black college. She lives with her partner, Aishah Shahidah Simmons, a documentary filmmaker, writer and Philadelphia native.


Julia Fleischner

Trustee & Chair of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Committee

Philadelphia Art Museum

Julia Fleischner is a philanthropist and civic leader. She is a member of the Public Education and Engagement Committee at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Advisory Board at MANNA and serves as the Chair of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Committee at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where she is a Trustee. Julia has served on the Parent’s Association Board at St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH, and is involved in fundraising and development efforts for local nonprofits and schools, such as Laurel House, The Westtown School, The Martha’s Vineyard Museum and The West Tisbury Library in Massachusetts.

Julia’s initial interest in Mural Arts Philadelphia stemmed from a passion for public art, which she and her husband both share, and a sense of becoming connected with an organization with deep ties to the city of Philadelphia. The programs that Mural Arts established and has successfully run were an impetus for her to get involved. She began volunteering with the Restorative Justice program before becoming a board member in 2018. She served as the Secretary of the Board in 2021 and was recently elected Board Chair starting July 1, 2022.

Julia is a graduate of St. Lawrence University, and lives in Haverford with her husband, David, and their two daughters, Margaret and Caroline. She has a background in Development in the nonprofit sector and has been volunteering since she was in her early teens.


Lauren Holden



Lauren Holden is an audit partner at KPMG. She graduated from Villanova University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and then began her career in public accounting. Lauren specializes in providing audit services to public and private companies, primarily in the energy, natural resources and chemicals industries. She has a wide range of experience with technical accounting topics and SEC filings, including multiple IPOs and equity and debt offerings.

In addition to her client work, Lauren actively recruits and develops the next generation of KPMG. She is an alumna of the KPMG Executive Leadership Institute for Women and co-lead’s the Philadelphia Chapter of the KPMG Network of Women.

Born and raised in Maryland, she now considers Philadelphia home!





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