Please introduce yourself and business to our readers:
I am a mother, a wife, a daughter and a sister deeply moved by making 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, I operate in my purpose despite my change in position, 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, a boutique global public affairs firm that serves both 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. As a leading firm focused on addressing issues of racial inequality and equity, DPBell & Associates is often called on to advise organizations, executives and CEOs of Fortune 100, 500 and C suite offices.
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 basic press assistance. My team and I have also made significant strides in entertainment, content and technology as well, most notably in the Africa. Working in more than 15 African countries, Desiree led the PR, 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. Her steadfast and strategic approach after two successful seasons, has led to 1-Billion Media impressions and 4 major 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 personal projects are her signature Chat & Chew events where she co-facilitates honest conversations on a variety of issues that affect women, from race, culture, politics, and more, in an effort to create constructive dialogue and promote healing. These dynamic conversations held around the world, are poised to continue and make a global impact in the lives of women and girls. I have had the privilege of taking these conversations to 13 cities throughout the US including Los Angeles where we partnered with former First Lady Michelle Obama and the United State of Women for the largest community event; we have also had these conversations globally in Panama, Mexico, Tel Aviv, The UK, Bermuda, Nigeria, Ghana and Colombia.
What advice would you share for building a recognizable brand in 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 that no one is talking about yet. Sometimes, as Black Women we can doubt ourselves and our abilities when many of our counterparts don’t put themselves through nearly the same amount of 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 meditate frequently as well keeping my thoughts focused on seeing my goals through to fruition. I think Black women often fall into these dangerous self-defining tropes, “Strong Black Woman” mentality when the reality is we should allow ourselves to feel vulnerable, take a moment and slow down, breathe. I am learning that my strength is not in the ability to push through the uncertain seasons or the hard times, but to rest and rest well during these times to regenerate and 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 impact in unique and indelible ways. First, I will announce new cities and countries to host “Chat and Chews”. I really want to continue to provide space for hard conversations that build coalition and understanding. Second, DPBell & Associates will continue to grow internationally and continue to focus on the brilliance and collaborative nature and innovation that exists within the Diaspora – We Got Us! My team and I are executive producing the Second Annual (Take Back The Mic) TBTM Interactive Festival. Last year’s festival boasted a timely theme, with the theme of 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 whole new roster of powerful leaders in their fields. This year’s Festival will take place virtually on the tbtm.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 company the best of me, when I am my best.
Please connect with me here:
Desiree’s most notable accolades: Recognized as one of the best and brightest in Public Affairs and the PR industry, Desiree has been recognized nationally and globally by PR Week’s “40 under 40,” Black Enterprise, The Obama Administration, For(bes) The Culture, Essence 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, PR, politics, and media.