Residing in Cherry Hill, NJ, Gregory DeShields is a luminary in the field of tourism and hospitality. As the Executive Director Tourism, Gregory’s command over the industry is shaped by his educational background, extensive experience, and myriad professional accomplishments. Known as a Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE), Gregory has been instrumental in creating revolutionizing strategies and initiatives to shine the spotlight on tourism destinations. He is admired not just for his professional prowess, but also for his noteworthy contributions to academia and community service.

Greg DeShields also hosts the “Something to Say” podcast, an engaging and thought-provoking platform for individuals from diverse backgrounds. Something to Say was created to combine passion with purpose. It seeks to ignite curiosity, foster empathy, and empower its audience to find their passions and voices.

Background and Education

Gregory’s foundation was built during his time at Johnson & Wales University, Providence, Rhode Island. Here, he acquired an A.S. Degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management, followed by a B.S. Degree in Hospitality Management. His pursuit of knowledge did not stop here. He expanded his leadership insights through multiple professional development programs from the likes of the Institute for Diversity Certification, Urban League of Philadelphia, Leadership Forum, Leadership Philadelphia, and Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange.

Professional Accomplishments

During his illustrious career, Gregory has been bestowed with numerous accolades such as, the ConventionSouth Meeting Professional to Watch 2024, BizBash 15 Over 50, Metro Philadelphia LGBTQ+ Power Players, Pride Power 100 Most Influential Pennsylvania LGBTQ, and Boy Scouts of America’s Hospitality “Good Scout” Award. In 2022, he was recognized with the esteemed Camden County Board of Commissioners Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Medal. His efforts also led him to receive the Black Meeting and Tourism Apex Award and PhocusWire Movers and Shakers for his exemplary contributions to the industry.

As a Certified Diversity Executive (CDE), Gregory’s expertise extends beyond regular tourism and hospitality functions. Through his strategic initiatives, he has championed the cause of promoting diversity and removing systemic barriers to inclusion to transform the brand. He is credited with creating impactful changes in business landscapes by focusing on inclusive practices and fostering a sense of belonging.

A Dedicated Educator

Greg’s role as an adjunct faculty for both Community College of Philadelphia and Temple University School of Tourism and Hospitality Management is not just a job, but a testament to his unwavering commitment to education.

As an adjunct instructor, he navigates unique challenges with resilience, always prioritizing student success. His dedication to teaching, student success, and continuous learning is not just commendable, but indispensable to the academic community. His contributions significantly enhance the educational experience, equipping students for triumph in their academic and professional journeys.

Professional Affiliations

Alongside his full-time role, Gregory has actively served on numerous professional platforms. He held the position of the Board President at Independence Business Alliance Philadelphia LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, Board Secretary at COMHAR Inc., and President of Skål Philadelphia Chapter. Currently, he serves on the board of EBANMAN Inc., Greater Philadelphia Film Office, Center City Proprietors Association, The Tourism Academy and Philadelphia Award.

Gregory holds professional certifications such as Certified Diversity Executive (CDE) from Society of Diversity, Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE) from the American Hotel & Lodging Association, Educational Institute, and Certified Hotel Owner (CHO) from the Asian American Hotel Owners Association. His deep-seated passion for hospitality and tourism reflects his commitment to the industry and to the next generation of hospitality leaders.

Personal Life and Interests

Aside from his professional endeavors, Gregory has a deep passion for cooking, which he nurtured during his education at Johnson & Wales University. He loves the creativity that cooking brings and enjoys experimenting with diverse flavors and ingredients.

Community Contributions

Gregory is deeply invested in giving back to his community. He has been instrumental in establishing The Delores W. DeShields Endowed Scholarship. This fund provides scholarships for juniors or seniors enrolled in STHM who demonstrate a deep passion for travel and tourism. Gregory is inspired by the resilient spirit and ceaseless determination of Delores DeShields and aims to foster these qualities within scholarship recipients.

The Delores W. DeShields Endowed Scholarship Award Ceremony at Temple University School of Sport Tourism and Hospitality Management took place April 3, 2024.

With his passion for the field and commitment towards enriching the industry and community, Gregory DeShields continues to inspire budding professionals and embodies the idea of evolving and growing with grace, perseverance and relentless dedication.

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