Ask a Senior VP of a Convention & Visitors Bureau

As senior vice president of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Convention Division, Julie Coker ’89 oversees national sales of hotel packages for the city’s convention and hotel consortium.

As a student, she pushed herself to gain as much experience as possible — and it paid off. “JWU does an excellent job preparing students for the workforce. I did my internship as a sophomore and worked as a teaching assistant, which gave me an advantage over other graduates,” she recalls.

Julie Coker '89: “Hospitality is about creating memories that guests will treasure forever.” Julie spent 20 years with Hyatt, most recently as general manager of a 350-room hotel located on Philadelphia’s revitalized waterfront.

Now Coker oversees a staff of 25 to highlight Philadelphia as a travel and convention destination. “This is an exciting time for Philadelphia. I love working on ways to differentiate the city and win big in this highly competitive marketplace.”

She also serves as chair of the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Women in Lodging Networking Group and vice chair for the Greater Philadelphia Hospitality and Lodging Association.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career?
Understanding that you can’t always change people, but you can change your approach. It’s all about influence.

How do you maintain your work-life balance?
Make time for things that are a priority to you, including family, community service projects and, for me, sports. A little pampering now and then doesn’t hurt either.

Who are your career gurus?

Those leaders who continue to raise the bar and expect more of themselves each and every day.

What makes this industry special?
We work in an incredible industry that allows us to make a difference for people on a daily basis. It’s all about creating memories that guests will treasure forever.

Like Julie, do you have a passion for making people’s experiences perfect? Learn more about our Travel-Tourism and Hospitality Management degree in Providence and North Miami.