Ahmeenah Young, who served as president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Convention Center from 2008 to 2013, died on Friday due to complications from cancer, at age 69. She was the first African American, and first woman, to hold that position, and she helped the Philadelphia venue transition to private-management firm SMG as her stint ended.
Young first worked for the convention center in the late 1980s as director of its affirmative-action team. She held a number of executive positions at the venue and elsewhere, and was named convention center president and CEO during the venue's $787 million expansion.
"She was a great role model and opened a lot of doors for others like myself," Julie Coker Graham, president and chief executive of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, told Philly.com.
Young had remained active in local hospitality and government. She was appointed to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board in October 2016 by Pennsylvania's Governor Tom Wolf.
"We are deeply saddened by the death of our colleague," said Gaming Control Board chairman David Barasch. "Ahmeenah was a valued member of the board, and she will be sorely missed. Her warmth, quick wit, kindness to all and ability to contribute to the Gaming Control Board's casino oversight role in a meaningful way will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends."
Young had been named just two weeks ago to serve on the board of directors at the Philadelphia Tribune.