Bonnie Grant: Bridging Life Sciences and Hospitality

Skift Meetings Podcast - Bonnie Grant

Skift Take

Bonnie Grant is promoting Philadelphia as a premier host of life sciences meetings by showcasing unique destination opportunities.

Bonnie Grant is the executive director of PHL Life Sciences, a division of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB). She is proud of her work in helping Philadelphia generate economic impact and employment opportunities. Her role involves not only sales but also supporting associations in planning their meetings, including site visits and media strategies. She is passionate about connecting the life sciences and hospitality in her hometown.

Grant began her career in higher education as a public relations professional, where she helped recruit students and position educational institutions. She then moved on to work under two mayors for the city of Philadelphia, where she was responsible for special events, festivals, and parades. She also worked for the Philadelphia Eagles for a few years, being involved in their community initiatives and events. Eventually, she joined the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, specifically for their Business Development Division for PHL Life Sciences. Her role there is to market the city as a life sciences meetings destination.

Life Sciences’ Unique Challenges

While life sciences is a popular sector for destination marketing organizations to focus on, Philadelphia has taken it up a notch by creating a separate division complete with an advisory board. PHL Life Sciences not only promotes the city as a meeting destination but also highlights the advances of the local life sciences community.

The scope of life sciences is broad and so is the range of associations running meetings in the city. From citywide conferences led by professional teams of planners to smaller meetings run by volunteers or assistants, PHL Life Sciences is there to help.

Unique Destination Opportunities

Grant always enjoys bridging life sciences and hospitality, and always seeks more opportunities to showcase the city’s assets to attendees and leadership. Where possible she pushes for dedicated sessions to explore the destination’s offerings.

One of many venues that she invites attendees to explore is the Barnes, a museum and education space that houses the impressive collection of impressionist art collected by Dr. Albert C. Barnes. Dr. Barnes co-invented the antiseptic Argyrol and later became an art collector and sponsored artist William Glackens to purchase art in Europe.

Looking to the Future

Grant is confident that Philadelphia will continue to be a premier destination for life science meetings and events. She will continue actively looking for ways to streamline the RFP and destination selection processes.

PHL Life Sciences is focused on connecting local resources with scientific minds and removing logistical challenges so that meetings and events in Philadephia can be memorable experiences.