Julie Coker is the president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA) where she oversees the organization’s efforts to promote and sell San Diego as a top destination for meetings, conventions, overseas travelers, and leisure visitors. The San Diego Tourism Authority is recognized as one of the best in the business and continues to set the standard for destination marketing organizations around the country.
Previously, Coker served as the president & CEO of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) where she oversaw the 2017 NFL Draft and the 2016 Democratic National Convention, which had a combined economic impact of $325 million for Philadelphia. Prior to that, she was PHLCVB’s executive vice president, Convention division, and managed a staff of 25 sales and services professionals responsible for selling the expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center and hotel packages to customers across the country.
Prior to joining the PHLCVB, she was the general manager for the Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing, where she oversaw all operational aspects of the 350-room hotel. A 21-year Hyatt veteran, she began her career in 1989 as a corporate management trainee at Hyatt Regency Columbus. Throughout her more than two decades with Hyatt, she rose through the ranks in a variety of positions, including assistant front office manager, front office manager, hotel assistant manager, assistant executive housekeeper, and general manager.
Coker serves on several boards, including the California Travel and Tourism Commission, Visit California, The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, The San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, and Meeting Planners International. She is currently one of the vice chairs on the U.S. Travel Association board.
From January 2018 to 2020, she served as co-chair of U.S. Travel’s Meetings Mean Business Coalition and secretary-treasurer for the International Association of Exhibitions and Events Executive Committee (IAEE). In 2016, she served on the transition team of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. From 2016 to 2019, Coker co-chaired the Shared Spaces Initiative to combat homelessness.
Additionally, Coker is a member of the San Diego Chapter of The Links, Incorporated. In both 2012 and 2019, the Philadelphia Business Journal named her among their Women of Distinction honorees. She was the 2017 United Negro College Fund Mayor’s Ball Honoree for Civic Leadership and was named one of the Network Journal’s 25 Most Influential Black Women in Business. She also received the Cradle of Liberty Good Scout Award by the Boy Scouts of America Cradle of Liberty Council and was the recipient of the 2011 John Wanamaker Award (Individual Award) given by the YMCA of Philadelphia and vicinity.
Coker is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, where she received a Bachelor of Science in hospitality management and graduated magna cum laude.