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    We've chosen the beautiful and dynamic southern jewel, the City of New Orleans, for this year's Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange (GPLEX)! 

    GPLEX 2023 will take place from 4pm on September 30 through October 3 at 1pm


    GPLEX is an initiative of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia (ELGP) to bring together a diverse community of non-profit, for-profit, and government leaders to build civic muscle and bring more economic opportunity to Greater Philadelphia.


    Through quarterly in-region programming (GPLEX 360) and an annual out-of-region summit (the GPLEX conference: this year in New Orleans, Sept 30-Oct 3) GPLEX provides a unique opportunity for participants to build connections with top leaders and develop a deeper understanding of the Philadelphia region while shaping its future. Since its inception in 2005, there have been over 1250 program alumni.


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Kiersten Mailler

GPLEX Director

A Letter from the Director


This is my third year in this role, and I am so pleased to be able to spend it preparing to take you all to New Orleans.  The GPLEX team has traveled to New Orleans several times to meet local leaders, get to know the energy and vibe of the city and its people, and plot out locations for dining, learning, and exploring. After our most recent visit, I am convinced that this will be a magical and meaningful experience for everyone involved: it was very hard to leave that beautiful city, but I took comfort in knowing I'd be going back with a full cohort of Philadelphians in September. 


New Orleans has so much to teach. We have considered several themes for this year based on learnings we could draw from New Orleans. We have also considered the current states of cross sector issues in the Philadelphia region, and will be focusing on several themes that have the most relevance to both regions. 


Our central theme for 2023 is Resiliency. New Orleans is the American poster child for resilience given its recovery after Hurricane Katrina. New Orleanians have a special ability to bounce back, to embrace change, and to preserve the pieces of their culture and economy that make them unique. New Orleans is also going through a process of economic metamorphosis as leaders seek to add new types of industry to their best-known sector: hospitality. 


We will discover the parallels between New Orleans and Philadelphia when it comes to human capital and identity  ways in which both of our regions can focus on creating the best environment for residents. Resilient residents have an incredible power to overcome the greatest challenges that face our cities, and we have a lot to learn from New Orleans about the fertile (and often fraught) conditions that lead to resiliency. 


In this year of a benchmark mayoral race, we will also dig into the issues that are top of mind for all Philadelphians: community violence, education, housing, workforce, and quality of life, to name a few. GPLEX 2023 participants will explore issues from the perspective of both regions through panels, regional explorations, and curated group workshops. 


I'm looking forward to joining you all in The Big Easy!


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Ready to join us in New Orleans, and become part of our esteemed alumni network? 

Fill out the application today!  

Due to a detailed process of selection, the deadline to apply is July 15. We will be accepting applicants on a rolling basis.


Participants are selected through a competitive process with the goal of representing the geographic, demographic, sector, and industry diversity of the region. To be eligible, applicants must live or work in the Greater Philadelphia region and serve in a leadership role in a business, nonprofit, or government organization.


The application takes about 20 minutes to complete, and you will learn of your acceptance or receive follow-up questions within about a week of your application.  



    Meet Our 2023 Co-Chairs 

     For our 19th GPLEX, we are joined by four esteemed leaders and GPLEX alumni who have been making waves across sectors. Get to know them! 



    Dominique Goss: MTB Bank


    Anne Fadullon: City of philadelphia Planning Department


    Maria Wing: Deloitte


    Malik Brown: Graduate Philadelphia




    Read More
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Who's Invited?*

Business owners
Burgeoning Leaders
Policy nerds
Community builders


*>>Do you know someone who currently lives in New Orleans who would be a great attendee at this conference? Let us know and feel free to email them the application.  


What to Expect

Attend intimate networking opportunities with a +175-person cohort and an alumnae network of +1250 attendees.


Establish social capital by deepening your network cross-industry and cross-sector, thus creating more opportunities to attend in-person events, foster collaborations, develop new programs, and make local friends.


Learn about the best practices, programs, and policies in other organizations, Philadelphia, and other regions to evolve.


Grow your understanding of issues that affect our region by learning how other cities handle similar challenges.



The majority of the conference will take place on site in our host hotel on Canal St in downtown New Orleans. 

We will also make our way out into the surrounding region during two days of Regional Explorations: locations and details of the explorations are subject to change, and will be finalized within the final month before the event. 


Proposed Schedule *

*subject to adjustment


Saturday September 30

Sunday October 1

1pm:  City Tours (French Quarter History Tour for 20 guests with Unique NOLA), open exploration, unstructured networking

9am: Registration and Breakfast

4pm: Registration Begins

9:30am: Welcome Remarks

5:30pm: Champagne Welcome Reception with Jazz band at Hotel

10am: Keynote Presentation


10:45am: Group Panel: Community Violence Conversation with Tulane


Noon: Lunch with workshop groups


1:30pm: Round 1 of Regional Explorations


5:15pm: Conversation groups


6:30pm: Dinearounds


Monday October 2

Tuesday October 3

7am: Optional morning wellness: Yoga

9am: Breakfast

9am: Breakfast

9:30am: Group Panel: Building a Resilient Public

9:30am: Group Panel: Tech Solutions for Quality of Life

10:45am: Final connections in small group conversations

10:45am: Workshop

12:30: Closing remarks and award ceremony

12:30pm: Lunch

1pm: to-go lunch

1:45pm: Round 2 of Regional Explorations


4:30pm: Break, conversation groups, and optional Pandemic, Plague, and Pestilence Tour (10 guests)


6:30pm: Evening Reception


8:30pm: Afterparty options




Leadership Exchange registration fees are as follows:

Companies with over $10M in revenue -- $3,200 

Companies with under $10M in revenue or Government --$2,600

We have a scholarship fund for limited qualified applicants: there is a question concerning need in this application.




Rooms will be available at our hotel on Canal Street in Center City New Orleans. A group block link to our hotel booking platform will be provided upon acceptance. Rooms are limited to the first 140 signups. Attendees will pay for their own hotels, but at a discounted group rate. 

Attendees may choose to stay elsewhere: AirB&B is not allowed in the French Quarter, but there are many options within a mile walk or a short cab ride to the hotel. The hotel will be the main base of operations.  



It is recommended that attendees fly into Louis Armstrong Airport. American Airlines, Southwest, and Delta all offer nonstop flights. Attendees will cover their own airfare. 


Recommended Saturday flights to New Orleans:

3h 2m flight American Airlines 2166

Airbus A320

8:20am - 10:22am


3h 2m American Airlines 2167

Airbus A319

1:35pm - 3:37pm


4h 53m Delta 2582

Boeing 757

8:00am - 11:53am




Recommended Tuesday flights to Philadelphia:

2h 55m flight American Airlines 2167

Airbus A320

4:10pm - 8:05pm


2h 55m flight American Airlines 2166

Airbus A319

1:55pm - 5:50pm


2h 10m flight American Airlines 1793

Airbus A321

4:25pm - 9:47pm (1 stop)

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Sunday Regional Explorations* 10/1

1:30 PM – 4:30 PM 

*subject to change

Environmental Justice + Housing

Lighthouse Project, St Bernard Parish and 9th Ward

Start at Lighthouse, drive to St B. + 9th Ward

Give more time to Lighthouse


You might like this if: 


  • You are interested in housing

  • You are interested in community engagement

  • You are focused on sustainability issues

  • You are curious about surrounding neighborhoods in the region

  • You would like to see development post-Katrina

This tour will focus on environmental justice through the lenses of housing, education, and local solutions. We will begin at the Lighthouse Project and will also see neighborhoods of St. Bernard Parish, and the 9th Ward. We'll begin our journey at the Lighthouse Project, where you'll have the chance to learn about the innovative approach to sustainability and community development spearheaded by Together New Orleans.


From there, we'll drive through the historic St. Bernard Parish and stop to appreciate the stunning architecture and cultural landmarks that make this area so special. Finally, we'll head to the 9th Ward, where you'll see how this once-devastated area has been transformed through community-driven revitalization efforts. Many different housing styles and attempts to build affordable housing can be seen on this trip.

Tourism Equity + Downtown Planning

Downtown Development District

Walk + small group conversations


You might like this if: 


  • You are interested in center city and CBD business practices
  • You want to get a sense of the downtown core of New Orleans
  • You are interested in the evoloving New Orleans economy
  • You appreciate a walking tour

This regional exploration will focus on two important topics: Tourism Equity and Downtown Planning in the Downtown Development District. We'll begin by exploring the concept of Tourism Equity, which is about ensuring that tourism benefits all members of the community, not just a select few. We'll visit key landmarks and businesses that exemplify this idea.


Next, we'll delve into the planning and development of the Downtown Development District, learning about the efforts to create a thriving and sustainable urban core that benefits both residents and visitors. This tour offers a unique perspective on the dynamic and ever-evolving city of New Orleans.

Arts and Culture

French Quarter Gallery Tour, Studio Be

You might like this if: 


  • You are a fan of visual arts
  • You want to see the contrasted worlds of French Quarter art galleries and the burgeoning art scene in other parts of the parish
  • You are curious about racial representations in art
  • You are interested in art that tackles controversial and complex subjects

Join us for an unforgettable exploration of New Orleans' visual arts culture! Our journey will take us through the historic French Quarter, where we'll delve into the city's rich artistic heritage. The highlight of our adventure will be a visit to the world-famous Studio BE, an immersive art installation that showcases the vibrant and eclectic graphic arts scene of New Orleans.


Led by our expert guide, we'll begin by exploring Studio BE as a group, taking in the stunning murals, sculptures, and multimedia exhibits that make this space a true one-of-a-kind experience. Founded by artist Brandan "BMike" Odums, Studio BE has become a must-see destination for visitors seeking an authentic and immersive art experience in New Orleans.


After our visit to Studio BE, we'll head back to the French Quarter, where we'll split up into smaller groups to explore a curated list of art galleries. From contemporary to traditional, these galleries offer a range of art forms that showcase the unique creative energy of New Orleans.


Whether you're an art lover, a history buff, or just looking for a unique and immersive experience, this exploration is sure to leave you inspired and awed by the cultural riches of New Orleans.

Food Economy

Urban farm, Healing Center + Community Grocery Store, New Orleans Food Cooperative, Near St Rock, lower 9th

You might like this if: 


  • You want to learn more about the food economy in New Orleans
  • You are curious about how race, politics, and culture play a part in the New Orleans food scene
  • You like hearing personal stories from local makers
  • You are curious about how food and community are connected in New Orleans

This session will focus on the ever-evolving Food Economy of the city. We'll start at an urban farm, where you'll learn about sustainable agriculture and the important role that urban farming plays in food production and distribution. Next, we'll visit the Healing Center and Community Grocery Store, where you'll see firsthand how this community-led initiative is empowering residents and building a more equitable food system.


We'll also stop at the New Orleans Food Cooperative and explore the innovative ways in which this member-owned grocery store is creating a sustainable food economy. Finally, we'll head to the vibrant neighborhood of Near St Rock and the Lower 9th to sample some of the best local food and drink. This tour offers a unique perspective on the food culture and economy of New Orleans, from farm to table. 


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Monday Regional Explorations* 10/2

1:45 PM – 4:15 PM

*subject to change

River Commerce

Port NOLA, St. Bernard Parish

You might like this if: 


  • You are interested in the New Orleans economy
  • You would like to see how  the ports of the region operate
  • You want to hear about the history and future of trade
  • You are hoping to see the city from a unique angle

Ask any New Orleanian and they'll tell you: the river is life and death for their city. The region's relationship with the river is complicated and vast: commerce, identity, food, history, and disaster all stem from the mighty Mississippi and her surrounding waterways.


We'll start at Port NOLA, one of the busiest ports in the United States, where you'll see first-hand the massive ships and cranes that are responsible for moving goods around the world. Next, we'll visit the historic Port of New Orleans and learn about the city's long and storied history as a hub of global trade. We'll also stop at the Innovation Embassy at the Port of New Orleans to see how technology is transforming the industry.


Finally, we'll head to St. Bernard Parish, where you'll learn about the unique challenges and opportunities of river commerce in this region. This tour offers a fascinating glimpse into the vital role that river commerce plays in the economy of New Orleans and beyond.

Small Business

Idea Village, Venture for America, NOLABA:, Propellor + Page

Tour Idea Village, talk, mostly conversation based


You might like this if: 


  • You are focused on small business support
  • If you are interested in workforce development
  • You want to learn about the small business landscape in New Orleans
  • You are curious about innovative practices coming out of small businesses
  • You are interested in economic issues

This session focuses on the thriving small business community and workforce development issues in the city and will draw parallels between New Orleans and Philadelphia small business support structures. We'll visit key sites such as The Shop and Idea Village, where you'll learn about the innovative programs and initiatives that are supporting local entrepreneurs.


You'll have the chance to engage in conversation with industry leaders, hear stories of successful ventures, and gain insights into the unique challenges and opportunities of small business ownership in New Orleans. We'll also visit or hear from representatives from Venture for America, NOLABA, and Propellor, where you'll learn about the various resources and support available to small businesses in the city.  


Real Time Crime Center, Reentry, Homeland Security

You might like this if: 


  • Crime, justice, and policing are top of mind for you
  • You want to learn about this topic from several angles and hear from people who have various experiences within the system
  • You want to learn about new technology and approaches for addressing crime
  • You are interested in the social and personal affects of crime and policing

In both New Orleans and Philadelphia (as well as in many major cities around the country), the topic of justice is pressing and complex. In this session, we will seek answers to questions such as:  How does the reentry program support individuals who have been released from incarceration? What are the challenges that they face, and how can they be overcome?


We'll visit Homeland Security and the Real Time Crime Center to learn more about the role of law enforcement and technology in ensuring public safety. How do these entities work together, and what challenges do they face in protecting the community?


Finally, we hope to visit Cafe Reconcile, a community-led initiative that provides training and job opportunities to at-risk youth. What impact does this program have on the community, and how does it address systemic issues related to poverty and inequality? Join us on this thought-provoking and informative tour to gain a deeper understanding of the complex issues surrounding Justice in New Orleans.


Leona Tate and KIPP

You might like this if: 


  • You are interested in history
  • You are interested in racial politics and the experiences of People of Color
  • You are interested in education
  • You have questions about the public and charter school system

Education has a unique history in New Orleans: After Katrina, the public schools were nearly completely transitioned to a charter school system. New Orleans is also the location of some of the first school integrations in the country: While Ruby Bridges was pioneering desegregation at the William Frantz Elementary School down the road, three little girls were doing their part at McDonogh Elementary in the 9th Ward.  


We'll start by visiting the Leona Tate Foundation, where you'll learn about the courageous story of the McDonogh Three, who were among the first Black students to integrate New Orleans schools in 1960. You'll gain insights into the challenges they faced and the impact their activism had on the Civil Rights Movement.


We'll then visit a KIPP charter school location, where you'll learn about the innovative approaches being taken to provide high-quality education to all students. We will dig into the challenges and opportunities of the charter system to learn about its potential implications in the Philly region. This tour offers a powerful opportunity to engage with the history and future of education in New Orleans.


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