Photo Credit: TN
Meet Angela Val, The First Black CEO Of Visit Philadelphia
Angela Val began her career 17 years ago as an executive assistant at VISIT PHILADELPHIA®. Today, she’s the new President and CEO.
In her role, she will drive Philly’s tourism industry and “take the organization to new heights of recognition among diverse regional, driver market and national audiences.”
Philadelphia’s tourism industry supports local businesses, creates jobs, and helps to enhance the city for its residents.
A Maryland native, Val fell in love with Philadelphia after moving to the city for college. After graduating from Drexel University with a bachelor’s degree, she decided to call Philly her home.
We had a chance to chat with Angela Val about her journey to CEO, how others can work their way up to c-suite positions, and her favorite things to do in the city she loves.
TN: Being a Maryland native, what drew you to staying in Philly after graduating from Drexel?
AV: I’m very drawn to big cities and bright lights because it represents life, so I knew I wanted to attend college in a big city. My uncle worked in hospitality, so I was intrigued and influenced by his experience in the industry.
I graduated from Drexel’s tourism and hospitality management program a year after the Pennsylvania Convention Center opened, which was perfect timing to embark on my career. I saw the vision for where the city was going, and knew the tourism industry would be growing in Philadelphia, and I wanted to get in on the ground floor.
TN: What are you most looking forward to in your role as President & CEO of Visit Philadelphia?
AV: Returning to Visit Philadelphia is like returning home. We as a city have built so much collective momentum, and I am excited to be a part of the growth at such a pivotal time. My goal is to take the organization and our city to new heights of recognition among diverse regional, driver market and national audiences. I’m looking forward to working with our partners to continue moving Philadelphia forward by promoting the city I love.
TN: What are three things/places every Black traveler must do/experience when visiting Philly?
AV: Philadelphia is home to over 130 black-owned and operated businesses for visitors to stay, shop, dine and explore, as well as cultural attractions celebrating Black history and diversity. My top three experiences are:
- Visit the Octavius V. Catto Memorial, Philadelphia’s first statue of an African American civil rights activist.
- Check out Indigo Arts Gallery, a staple gallery with a unique collection of art and artifacts that celebrate the human spirit’s color, texture, and boundless creativity.
- Dine at the new Rex at the Royal restaurant at the historic Royal Theater.
Related: A History Tour Of Black Philadelphia
TN: What advice do you have for someone who wants to work their way up to the c-suite?
AV: Say yes to the projects others say no to. Learn all aspects of your business, not just your job. Get to know as many people as possible in both your industry and community.
And always remember: dream big and believe you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
TN: How has travel impacted your professional life?
AV: You have to be brave to travel outside of your comfort zone because your world will get bigger. You will learn about yourself and how much you didn’t know, which will broaden your perspective on life.
Traveling confirmed my love for the tourism industry and changed my professional approach to putting people first.
TN: Are there any underrated gems in Philly we should know about?
TN: What does the perfect day in Philly look like to you?
AV: On my perfect day in the city, I would get brunch at The Love with my girlfriends, stop at Marsh + Mane on South Street for a little shopping and book a late afternoon spa appointment at Kari Skin in Old City.