Credit: Discover Los Angeles
Last week, I took a very brief break from the public relations and digital communications spheres of Philadelphia. I had the privilege of attending the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia’s Leadership Exchange (GPLEX) in Los Angeles. For the uninitiated, like me six months ago, GPLEX is a bi-annual trip where local Philadelphians from a wide range of industries travel to a city similar to Philadelphia to learn more about how we can “borrow” ideas and strategies to apply to our work here at home. Call it content management for the city. The two-and-a-half day trip included presentations from educational, entrepreneurial, cultural, technology, entertainment and human service leaders.
The LA River – how it flows!
In the afternoons, we took field trips but instead of going to the zoo or a museum, we saw and learned about things like how Los Angeles is “greening” its river, a 51-mile stretch of concrete with little to no water in it, or what the city is doing to keep the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. (True confession: This field trip also included a tour of two studios including one where The Goldbergs, a weekly homage to Philadelphia, is filmed.) Other GPLEX members took trips to see Silicon Beach, Homeboy Industries, the Port and Little Tokyo.
While I learned a lot on the trip and thoroughly enjoyed the intensive relationship-building with old and new Philadelphia friends, my greatest takeaway was that Philadelphia is doing extremely well even when compared to a metropolis like Los Angeles, which is double our population size. Like LA, we have a burgeoning technology industry; we have beautiful green vistas like Fairmount Park (a Great Public Space), the Schuylkill Banks and the Circuit Trails in close proximity to Center City; we have a well-developed downtown area where people work, live and play; and we are slowly improving our school and social service systems. Many of these same initiatives are still unfolding in LA.
Source: The Pew Trust
Often, you have to get out of Philadelphia to appreciate Philadelphia, and this trip confirmed that fact. Fortunately, an appreciation for what we’re achieving seems to be trending. Yesterday, I read about a new Pew Trust poll which shows that 50 percent of Philadelphians believe that the city is headed in the right direction, up from 39 percent in 2012. They also strongly favor big events like the Pope’s visit and the Democratic National Convention, and 73 percent want us to host more events like this.
All in all, as this trip confirmed for me, Philadelphia is on the move and now even our typically pessimistic populace agrees. We are more confident in our city. We should be. We have a lot to be proud of.
D+P Media Volunteers Waiting for Pope Francis
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