• Zabeth Teelucksingh
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Teelucksingh: Collaboration Is in Our DNA

GPLEX - a fundamental program for every city. The intention: isolating a cohort of 120-150 civic, corporate, and academic leaders in a contrasting city with the intention of learning from that city’s example.  The bonus being that the participants can interact face to face and get to know each other better over the course of three days.


As a newcomer to Philadelphia in the fall of 2010, my first GPLEX was in Toronto, where we learned how Canadians welcome their immigrants. The outflow, among many others, was the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs introduced to Philadelphia and an enhanced Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians. What a great way for me to meet the leaders of our city and to understand some of the major issues Philadelphia was facing through the lens of an enriched program in Toronto (the first international GPLEX). Unequivocally I would say that the GPLEX is an amazing initiation for any new leader in Philadelphia.


At Global Philadelphia Association, we work on the positioning of Philadelphia as a global city in the context of our members and their work, as well as the World Heritage City Project. Broadly, the core of the Project is divided into four areas: preservation and culture, educating global kids with roots, raising awareness of our World Heritage status, and extending Philadelphia’s global reach. For each of these areas, we rely on our partnerships for successful programming and results. A phrase immortalized in Toronto, “collaboration is in our DNA.” Some of our partners will be at the GPLEX, and it will be wonderful to reconnect, but I am also anticipating making new connections to further spread our message. In a busy, driven professional environment, the GPLEX is a one-stop shop opportunity that allows you to make effective connections to be taken home and extended.


But the impact of the GPLEX should not end at wheel’s up in Seattle. I firmly believe that the lessons and relationships that we build over the course of the three days must be integrated into our city’s fabric in order to truly explore the true potential of the GPLEX. I know many participants feel the same way. Let’s go! Philly’s got this.


Zabeth Teelucksingh is Executive Director of Global Philadelphia Association and a GPLEX veteran.