Desire Peterkin Bell is a globally recognized and award-winning public relations professional, brand builder, and strategist based just outside of New York City. Desire Peterkin Bell has almost two decades of hands-on experience working with some of the most prominent figures in politics, including former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor Michael A. Nutter, and Mayor Cory Booker. Desiree started DPBell & Associates, a full-service public affairs firm, in 2016 after a rewarding career in numerous capacities throughout government.
Desiree began her career working for former Mayor Bart Peterson in Indianapolis. She focused on topics relating to community involvement, education, strategic governance, affordable housing, and economic development throughout her time there. Desiree Peterkin Bell relocated her career to her birthplace of New York City, where she accepted a position as the Bloomberg Administration's Supervising Legislative Representative.
I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, and a sister deeply moved by making an impact in the world. I am a 2x Best-Selling author, award-winning seasoned public affairs and brand strategist, speaker, and advocate who seeks to lead movements, not moments. With over 25 years of experience, I have served as a trusted advisor and brand builder to some of the nation and the world’s most influential thought and cultural leaders of our time. Today, despite my change in position, I operate with my purpose to champion causes designed to 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 an accomplished career that has cemented my skillset and knowledge, I have earned the position of being a key fixture in political, public affairs, marketing, and strategy circles around the world.
I am the Founder and CEO of DPBell & Associates. This boutique global public affairs firm serves national and international clients, with team members in Washington, D.C., New York City, New Jersey, Mauritius, Tel Aviv, and Los Angeles. We specialize in public relations, brand management, innovative tech and positioning, strategic counseling, crisis communications, media training, digital organizing, high-level event production, political consulting, content development, and strategic partnerships.
DPBell & Associates is an award-winning public affairs firm representing movements, not moments; brands that matter and people who want to make a difference. DPBell & Associates is often called on to advise organizations, executives, and CEOs of Fortune 100, 500, and C-suite offices as a leading firm focused on addressing racial inequality and equity issues.
My team at DPBell & Associates and I have led the successful strategy and passage of the country’s first Breonna’s Law in Virginia. We have traveled the country during the Presidential and midterm elections providing media training, digital organizing tactics, and essential press assistance. My team and I have made significant strides in entertainment, content, and technology, especially in Africa. Working in more than 15 African countries, Desiree led the P.R., 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. After two successful seasons, her steadfast and strategic approach has led to 1 billion Media impressions and four prominent billboards of African artists in Times Square, featuring the first-ever African artist/rapper from Tanzania.
- How are your current efforts helping to propel women forward?
I am fully committed to curating spaces and redefining new paradigms that allow people of color to be impact makers in media, politics, movements, and entertainment. One of her projects is her signature Chat & Chew events, where she co-facilitates honest conversations on various issues that affect women, from race, culture, politics, and more, to create constructive dialogue and promote healing. These dynamic conversations, held worldwide, are poised to continue and make a global impact on the lives of women and girls. I have had the privilege of taking these conversations to 13 cities throughout the U.S., including Los Angeles, where we partnered with former First Lady Michelle Obama and the United States of Women for the largest community event; we have also had these conversations globally in Panama; Mexico, Tel Aviv, The U.K., Bermuda, Nigeria, Ghana, and Colombia.
- What advice would you share for building a recognizable brand in a saturated market?
Don’t be afraid to separate yourself from the pack. We are all uniquely and divinely made. I try not to chase trends and instead create and focus on things no one is talking about. Sometimes, as Black Women, we can doubt ourselves and our abilities when many of our counterparts don’t face nearly the same scrutiny before they “try something new .”Give yourself space and grace to try something new. Be Bold and consistent.
- How do you stay motivated during uncertain seasons?
Real talk, I pray, and I have a therapist (or two). In times of uncertainty, I often need something larger than myself to guide me through that moment. I frequently meditate, focusing on seeing my goals through to fruition. I think Black women often fall into these dangerous self-defining tropes, the “Strong Black Woman” mentality when the reality is we should allow ourselves to feel vulnerable, take a moment, slow down, and breathe. I am learning that my strength is not in pushing through the uncertain seasons or the hard times but in resting and resting well during these times to regenerate, recharge, and find peace.
Peace. Be Still.
- Tell us about your 2023 plans and how to connect with you online:
By the Grace of GOD, I plan to continue to be able to make an impact in unique and memorable ways. First, I will announce new cities and countries to host “Chat and Chews .”I want to continue providing space for hard conversations that build coalition and understanding. Second, DPBell & Associates will continue to grow internationally and focus on the brilliance, collaborative nature, and innovation within the Diaspora – We Got Us! My team and I are executives who produced the Second Annual (Take Back The Mic) TBTM Interactive Festival. Last year’s Festival boasted a timely theme: Connecting the Continents, Connecting the Culture. Featured speakers included Dr. Deepak Chopra, Aja Naomi King, Mustafa Shakir, Baratunde Thurston, and thought leaders across Business, Tech, Impact, Media & Entertainment, and Innovation.
This year, the virtual Festival returns with the theme Remixing the Renaissance: Culture and Technology in the New Global South and a new roster of influential leaders in their fields. This year’s Festival will take place virtually on the team: app and TBTM web platform. In 2023 you will see more of my team and I executive producing more global, impactful events. And lastly, I want to take much-needed rest. I have been going for a while and recognize that I can only give the world, my community, my team, and my company the best of me when I am my best.
I have also been invited to speak at the House of Lords in London to speak on “Purpose, Not Position” https://masterchangeyourway.com/
Please connect with me here:
Desiree’s most notable accolades: Recognized as one of the best and brightest in Public Affairs and the P.R. industry, Desiree has been recognized nationally and globally 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. She was recently bestowed the TrailBlazer Award by the National Association of Journalists’ oldest chapter, the Philadelphia Association of Journalists, for her game-changing international reach in consulting, P.R., politics, and media.
© Desiree Peterkin Bell 2022