Philadelphia has $20-million worth of LGBT conferences coming to the city next year, according to the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau.
In addition to Creating Change, which the National LGBTQ Task Force announced earlier this year would take place at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown in January, the Out and Equal Workplace Summit is set for October 2017.
Exact dates and venues have yet to be announced.
Out and Equal is a San Francisco-based workplace-advocacy organization for employers, human-resource professionals and employee-resource groups to develop policies and practices regardless of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
“We do a great job being a good backdrop for inclusion because of what this city does everyday,” said Julie Coker Graham, president and CEO of the convention and visitors bureau. “It’s not something we turn on and off. It’s a core value.”
She noted the creation of PHL Diversity in the visitors bureau within the last five years and Mayor Jim Kenney’s diverse administration.
“Really good partnerships have proven key to our success,” Coker Graham said.
James Delmar, a sales associate with the visitors bureau, and Greg DeShields, director of PHL Diversity, started working on the bid for the workplace summit in the summer of 2014.
C. Richard Horrow, board president of the Independence Business Alliance, the Philadelphia region’s LGBT chamber of commerce, showed Out and Equal representatives around the city to highlight its LGBT-owned businesses and other hotspots.
“Philadelphia’s having a bit of a moment,” said Zach Wilcha, IBA executive director. “I’m not surprised Out and Equal wants to take advantage of what we have to offer.”
Coker Graham said Out and Equal sees about 3,000 people attend its annual workplace summit. She added Philadelphia can typically draw 10-15 percent more attendees to any conference because of its convenient location on the Northeast corridor.
The workplace summit is expected to have a $10-million economic impact on the city and account for 6,000 hotel room nights, Coker Graham said.
Wilcha referenced Creating Change and Out and Equal coming to the city next year and said, “It’s a really fantastic time for LGBT business in Philadelphia.”