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Desiree Peterkin Bell

Building Brands & Movements


A little bit about background

Desiree Peterkin Bell, based outside of New York, is a purpose-driven, award-winning political and public affairs strategist, brand builder, and best-selling author. Over the past two decades, she has worked tirelessly to institute positive change at the local, national, and international levels. In 2016, following her years of public service working with varying levels of international, national and local  governments and policy issues, she founded DPBell & Associates. 

Considered one of the best and brightest in the public affairs industry, Desiree’s work has received recognition in PR Week’s “40 under 40,” the Philadelphia Tribune, Black Enterprise, and the Philadelphia Business Journal.

A full-service firm, DPBell & Associates serves both national and international clients, with team members in Washington, D.C., New York City, Tel Aviv, and Los Angeles. They specialize in public relations, brand management, development, and positioning, strategic counseling, crisis communications, media training, digital organizing, event production, political consulting, content development, and strategic partnerships. 

With Desiree Peterkin Bell and her years of experience building a brand for political figures and causes, the firm is seasoned and battle-tested. She and her team understand how to react in a crisis, remaining calm and level-headed in situations of unrest—a skill that is vital in today’s world. 

DPBell & Associates

More details about the firm

Most recently, DPBell & Associates collaborated with the city of Los Angeles and H Code, a LatinX digital brand, to release culturally appropriate messaging to promote COVID-19 testing to the city’s Latin community. Through the use of OTV, digital assets, and influencer partnerships, Desiree’s team and H Code were able to spread awareness, calm anxieties, and increase testing. 

DPBell & Associates is a leading firm in also 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 and executives and CEOs of Fortune 100, 500 and C suite offices.

Battle-Tested, God-Bested Experience

Prior to establishing DPBell & Associates, Desiree Peterkin Bell served under Mayor Bart Peterson in Indianapolis. She later served as the Supervising Legislative Representative for the Bloomberg Administration in New York City and as the Vice President of Government Affairs for the city’s marketing development corporation, NYC Marketing. While working in New York, Desiree shepherded three historic pieces of legislation—the New York City Smoke Free Air Act of 2002, the Film Tax Credit, and Tort Reform—into public law. 

Following her accomplishments in the Big Apple, Desiree joined Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s team, serving from 2006 to the fall of 2010. As the Director for Communications, she was the youngest senior official appointed to his Administration. In her role, she built an award-winning, multi-platform communications network for the city, thus helping to redefine its national brand and image. 

Desiree Peterkin Bell is credited for her input into Mayor Booker’s rising social media presence—one that would eventually lead to his involvement in the 2020 Presidential Race. Furthering her contribution to Newark and the Booker Administration, she played an instrumental role in the development of the NAACP Image and Emmy award-nominated docuseries, Brick City. Detailing the first years of the Booker Administration and the City of Newark, the series later aired on Sundance and received a Peabody Award. 

Most recently, Desiree served in two appointed positions for former Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the City of Philadelphia. As the Director of Communications and Strategy, as well as a City Representative, she built the first-ever social media policy and an award-winning social media presence for the city. 

Desiree worked on a variety of committees and projects, including as the Executive Director and CEO of the country’s largest Fourth of July celebration, the Wawa Welcome America! Festival; as the only African American Female Race Director in the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon Race Weekend events; and led the negotiations and strategic communications for the execution and production of Jay-Z’s Made in America Festival, the Democratic National Convention held in Philadelphia in 2016 and Pope John Francis historic Papal visit.  

Desiree Peterkin Bell has also served as the Senior Advisor for Communications for President Obama’s successful reelection efforts in Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College and A Better Chance program alumna. She also holds a Master’s in Public Policy.

Recognizing that she drinks deeply from wells she did not dig, Desiree prioritizes spending time working with mentorship programs for young students of color, particularly young women of color. She participates in a number of boards and commissions. Furthermore, Desiree is often a guest Lecturer in colleges and universities. She has developed a course curriculum that defines Urban Communications. 

For more information on Desiree Peterkin Bell and her expertise in building a brand, be sure to read her blog.