Interview with Deirdre Childress Hopkins, Visit Philadelphia

For this year’s International Women’s Day, our team at Slice is proud to celebrate women across the marketing and communications industry through an interview series. Follow along throughout the week leading up to International Women’s Day to read about these inspiring women and their stories.

This interview is with Deirdre Childress Hopkins, the Director of Public Relations for Visit Philadelphia, the region’s official tourism marketing agency, and also the President for the Philadelphia Public Relations Association.

How do you define your leadership?

Coalition building and strategic planning are the two qualities that come to mind. I am leading the transition of our organization as a growing community of professionals. I love leading a group that feels it can work without walls.

How has your leadership changed over the years you’ve been working?

I work smarter today than in the past. Part of the change in my style is about accountability. As a former newspaper editor, I might be the last one in the newsroom when I first became a leader. Today, I ask my team to be accountable for their work and I do a better job of delegating tasks.

Can you share a story that demonstrates a key learning for you in your leadership journey?

I try to treat everyone with respect. I had a managing editor at my first full-time newspaper job who advised me to be as kind to the reception desk team as I was to the management team. One day, you could be expecting a call that never comes because you failed to respect the front desk. I think this was sound advice and I try to approach all of my collaborations in this way as a partner.

What role do you think marketing communications should play in the future of your organization or industry?

Marketing communications is constantly evolving. Our goal is to find the smartest way to deliver the best message to our stakeholders and customers. It is our job to learn and explore new and emerging opportunities. Devoting yourself to this goal means you are never bored with a field that is always evolving. 

What do you think young women entering the marketing communications field should know?  What advice do you have for them?

Young women in our field should stick to their professional ethics. I have worked with several young women in our region and I tell them all to seek a support system within the profession. We all need and should seek honest feedback. With those critiques, we should also deliver support. It is critical that women uplift other women. If I shine, you shine.

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