Community & Career Growth: An Interview with Charity Wells, City of Philadelphia Diversity Recruiting & Workforce Development Director

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The City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) works with the Philadelphia School District, child welfare and judicial systems, and with families and communities to provide care and services for people with mental illness, people struggling with addictions, and people with intellectual disabilities. They help people with intellectual disabilities live self-determined lives in their communities by providing quality support and services.

The mission of DBHIDS is to educate, strengthen, and serve individuals and communities so that all Philadelphians can thrive. They embrace a vision of recovery, resilience, and self-determination through a model of care that is directed by the person in recovery. In this model, professional treatment, along with family, individual, and other resources, allow people to manage their own conditions and build their own recovery resources.

Campus Philly had the opportunity to connect with Charity Wells, Diversity Recruiting & Workforce Development Director at DBHIDS. Charity discussed her professional passions, life in the city of Philadelphia, and her work running a nonprofit. She has a great deal of advice about networking, business, and helping others, too. Read more about DBHIDS and the hiring process at the City of Philadelphia.

 

First things first: tell us about yourself! Share a little about your story—where did you go to college, what did you study? What are some of your favorite things to do?

I am a Philadelphia native—born and raised in West Philadelphia. I’m a 2016 graduate of the Temple University Fox School of Business, where I majored in Human Resources Management and minored in Legal Studies. I have always seen the worth in giving back and edifying others.

As a Temple student I raised over $80,000 for the University’s annual fund. I enjoy connecting the community to viable employment opportunities through my work as a Temple Alum and a professional. My efforts have allowed me work directly with the university, through churches, community centers, and organizations—encompassing private, public, and nonprofit entities.

When I am not in the office, you can find me running my late sister Hope’s nonprofit, Hope for Hope to support cancer patients and their families with my parents and sisters, Faith, Joy, Grace, and Glory Wells. I also enjoy’s using my Canon R8 to take photos, and love traveling. I am currently serving my second term as Director at Large at Temple University’s Fox School of Business Alumni Association and serve on the HR Connect Board for the Human Resource Management Division.

 

That’s incredible, Charity. Tell us a little more about your current job. How did you find and land the role?

I currently work for the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services as the Director, Diversity Recruiting & Workforce Development. I landed this role through my past work experience working with the City of Philadelphia in recruiting and labor relations. I also have experience working within campus recruitment and managing my own business, iBrandlinks and working within workforce development, career readiness, job development, professional development, and community development.

Once I found my passion in career development, I pursued it with purpose. I began centering my focus on professional development, career exploration, and surrounding myself with like-minded individuals through networking. Through consistency, and staying true to my personality, my beliefs, and my image, I began to realize that I not only created a business, but also a brand.

I fostered purposeful relationships both in my personal and professional life, and along the way those relationships aided in my launch. I began curating events to promote brands and companies, while also strategizing to maximize partnerships with brands and organizations. I believe it is an exchange, and by working together we are helping each other meet our goals, whether it’s connecting others with opportunities, meaningful connections, and/or employment.

 

Tell us more about your day-to-day life on the job.

Each day is different for me. Some days I am in meetings, preparing and planning for the upcoming year; some days I am developing, implementing, and monitoring workforce development programs within DBHIDS.

The next day, I could be attending a recruitment or networking event and sharing our opportunities with highschoolrs, college students, or community members. Or, I could be working on departmental strategic initiatives—whether that’s succession planning, performance management, or employee evaluations.

My main role is to lead diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in recruitment for students, providers, and talent, while also increasing diversity efforts to foster a diverse and inclusive workforce—reducing disparities, and effectuating equitable policies and procedures within the behavioral health industry.

 

What are some key takeaways or lessons you learned throughout your role?

Throughout my role, I have learned to always document and celebrate my accomplishments, small or large. I’ve learned that alongside God, I’ve always been the director and creator of my story and each success, mistake, or redirection have all been a part of my journey to prepare me for where I am today.

I’ve learned to never allow the company to manage my career, but rather to be intentional with the opportunities, roles, and people I select to continually grow and add to my career toolkit.

Even the “nos,” rejections, failures, and blocked doors—whether it’s people or opportunities—propel your life when you keep your trust and faith in God and your career journey. God’s never closed any door for me that I’d ever want to reopen. Continuously seek opportunities for growth, whether in training or education, to enhance your current skills or learn and develop a new skill!

How did your education at Temple prepare you for this position? 

My education at the Fox School of Business at Temple University prepared me for my role through giving me robust and diverse experiences while having hands-on learning. It also prepared me to work directly with universities, churches, community centers, and organizations. I am the founder and organizer of the largest West Philadelphia job fair, the Annual West Philadelphia Community Job Fair, which was first held in 2018. This job fair has been one of my most successful ventures, with over 400 job seekers being served and over 60 employers .

 

Tell us about your experience with the Campus Philly Street Team! Why would you encourage other students and recent grads to apply to the program?

Three of my sisters, Faith (Villanova University), Hope (LaSalle University), and Grace Wells (Temple University) were Street Team Members. They each enjoyed it and loved creating robust relationships and experiences with Campus Philly and fellow college students! Being a part of Campus Philly also enabled them to find opportunities, grow deeper within their career journeys, build long-lasting mentorships and relationships, and engage in diverse communities

 

That’s awesome. Last few questions! Do you have any advice for college students or recent grads looking to expand their professional network in the Greater Philadelphia Region?

  1. Do research to find professional organizations within the area or field you’re looking to launch in.
  2. Ask to volunteer for events, conferences, and seek to find other professionals and industry experts to set up information interviews.
  3. Many of my roles were offered to me by simply making intentional connections through conversation or voluntary activities, and also staying connected on LinkedIn!
  4. Join and apply for leadership development programs and cohorts, and accept nominations to be a part of leadership development organizations—like LEADERSHIP Philadelphia, which will allow you to build and enhance your skills while connecting to like-minded individuals.

 

Any advice on working remotely or in a hybrid setting?

Find ways to connect and continuously build your toolkit by being intentional: seek professional relationships, volunteer for opportunities, join company resource groups, and remain engaged in your communities. Be purposeful in planning regular virtual and on-site check-ins with your professional mentors and colleagues in the workplace, too!

 

What’s something you’d tell a student seeking a job at your organization this fall?

Check out the City of Philadelphia careers page regularly and connect with professionals on LinkedIn working at the City of Philadelphia. Research our company site and find the areas of most interest to you and make connections with professionals—it might just lead to an internship or full-time role!

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Stay engaged, and create opportunities to connect with your professional network. Find ways to build purposeful relationships and always offer meaningful support and resources to your professional network. Be intentional when working with brands and companies. Be confident with your approach, and know your voice and the value that you bring to the table!

 

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