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Deborah Diamond on Talent Growth in Cities

May 1, 2019

Talent is driving growth in cities, and Philadelphia saw this was on the horizon in the late 1990s when city and higher education leaders created Campus Philly. Since its official founding in 2004, Campus Philly has made Philadelphia central to the experience of city and suburban college students in the region. Campus Philly’s mission is to help students fall in love with Philadelphia and connect them to professional opportunities, so they can launch their careers in the city after they graduate. It’s an economic development strategy with human connection at its core. As first to market with this kind of strategy for city growth, Campus Philly has been called on by other cities to share its model and impact. At Young, Smart and Local, a national conference in Philadelphia on April 9-10, 2019, more than 20 cities will gather to share their talent growth initiatives, learn from each other, and create a network. This presentation will focus on how Campus Philly identifies the programs and experiences that make an impact on students, how to measure that impact, and what the implications for equity are on cities when growth occurs through college student attraction and retention.

Diamond has led Campus Philly since 2010. During her tenure, Campus Philly has grown from 15 to 35 regional college and university partners and has created a corporate partnership program that includes more than 40 regional employers. The author of “For Cities to Thrive,” Diamond speaks nationally about talent attraction and retention strategies for cities. Diamond began her career as a college professor, teaching political philosophy at Columbia University and Bryn Mawr College. She built a career in market research, first at The Melior Group, a boutique market research firm in Philadelphia, then as the first director of research and strategy at Visit Philadelphia, the region’s tourism marketing agency. Diamond holds a BA in political science from Bryn Mawr College and an MA and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago. Diamond serves on the board of overseers of the Jewish Grad Network of Greater Philadelphia and on the marketing committee of the National Museum of American Jewish History.

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