The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts - Leslie Tyler

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Company: The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, PA
Company Description: Kimmel Center Inc.’s mission is to operate a world-class performing arts center that engages and serves a broad and diverse audience throughout the Greater Philadelphia region.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Employee of the Year - Government or Non-Profit

Nomination Title: Leslie Tyler, Director of Media Relations and Communications

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated employee since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):

Leslie has worked to build a new Teacher Appreciation Program, an initiative aimed at broadening the Center’s teacher-base. With art and music frequently eliminated from curriculums, Leslie and team constructed a plan that acknowledges and celebrates Philadelphia’s star teachers, fostering relationships, and funneling students into education programs.

Leslie tapped into her wide contact network to maximize program reach and inclusiveness, as the team looked to forge connections with the Philadelphia School District, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, and the Principals Union, planning to gift free or discounted tickets to many shows. To best inform and garner retention, pre-performance receptions are proposed for the upcoming season. The Center will communicate face-to-face – letting teachers experience the Campus, programming, and learn about perks like free transportation.

Leslie knows television stations are subject to deep cuts and understaffing, limiting coverage manpower. With freelance videographers and photographers, on-site staff, and a keen understanding of news mediums, she has guided her team to hone skills in creating content like video packages, recap photos, and blog posts to provide to media. Curating content in-house and producing pre-packaged stories when news outlets cannot ensures quality, approved material is available regardless of scheduling, building trusting relationships between the Center and networks.

This initiative had opportunity for cultivation during the Kimmel-curated PIFA Festival Street Fair, a massive community-minded event. Kimmel staff identified a station’s lack of attendance and sent content to facilitate coverage. Leslie intends to next produce aerial footage for major sports networks during local games and events – furthering the Center’s reach.

To establish the Center as a place for open community discussion, Leslie curated panels with local civic leaders to highlight socially-relevant topics.

She engaged some of the region’s top arts journalists during the Center’s Open House season kickoff event. Fine-tuning the topic around “The State of the Arts in Philadelphia,” 15 influential reporters spoke about shifts in arts coverage over the last few years and the future. She sent a special invitation to encourage other journalists, arts organizations, stakeholders, and PR firms to attend, and structured a press release and eblast. Creating a think-tank atmosphere for 100+ attendees, the positivity generated opened the door long-term for Leslie to utilize those journalists as a PR Advisory Board.

Adjacent to a performance entitled The Movement Revisited by Grammy Award-winning musician Christian McBride, Leslie designed a pre-show panel - “Black Lives Matter – The Modern Day Civil Rights Movement” - featuring local activists and an advocate journalist. The show celebrated Civil Rights icons, while the panel discussed the modern-day civil rights movement and struggles. Facebook and Twitter takeovers generated interest and conversation.

Leslie used her influence in PR to “friend-raise”, securing a “Kimmel Center Campus Camera” with NBC10’s VP of News - a longtime friend. With broadcast expertise, Leslie co-produced the NBC special “Backstage Pass: From Broadway to Broad Street”, plus a 6ABC special for the Kimmel-curated PIFA Festival.

Wife of the head pastor at Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, Leslie implemented Kimmel’s first Clergy Breakfast for 20+ leaders – totaling a reach of 50,000+ - exposing attendees to institutional, performance, and group sales opportunities for congregations.

Provide a brief biography of the nominated employee (up to 125 words):

Leslie Patterson-Tyler is known in her community as a difference maker. Whether in her hometown of Cincinnati where she received her first opportunity, or in Miami, Washington, D.C., or Philadelphia, Leslie was known in the newsroom to push herself and those around her to do more than settle for the old “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality. She is a graduate of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio and studied in the Graduate School at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Leslie is also a distinguished McCormick-Tribune Fellow and a Fellow of Leadership Philadelphia Class of 2011. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, The Philadelphia Black Public Relations Professionals, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.