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2018 in review: Tee Grizzard, Leadership St. Pete

Bill DeYoung



Commercial property and casualty broker Tee Grizzard has been involved with the innovative Leadership St. Pete program since 2013. He is the chair of the all-important Class of 2019, the 50th anniversary LSP class.

The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s intensive training program for community and business leaders has produced approximately 1,500 graduates well-tuned to the issues and opportunities present in our community, and ready (and willing) to face them. “There’s no better way to get plugged into a community,” Grizzard told the Catalyst in September.


St. Pete Catalyst: What were your organization’s biggest accomplishments in 2018?

Grizzard: One of the accomplishments that is a source of pride is the fact that this Leadership St Pete is inclusive to all industry segments and our diverse population.  Diversity and Inclusion is much more than race in our community, we have been successful in recruiting community leaders from varying backgrounds to work together and strengthen our community through relationships.


St. Pete Catalyst: What was a challenge the organization faced in 2018, and what did you learn from it?

Grizzard: Hurricane Irma was a challenge that made our organization be more nimble. We had information sessions scheduled and other logistics in place and with the impending storm it was a challenge to get a robust response from our recruiting efforts. We learned that we need to recruit all year round and be more flexible in where and how we conduct the recruiting efforts, and that we need to be consistent with the messaging through multiple platforms throughout the year.


St. Pete Catalyst: What do you see as the biggest challenge for the 2019 class?

Grizzard: As always when the class selects the class project, it is the biggest challenge the class will experience. The class will have to internally organize themselves to be able to create a budget and scope of work to be able to complete a project in six months. It is always a tall task, but when everyone in the class is working together, the heavy lift is easy with many hands.


St. Pete Catalyst: What business insight (advice or a tip) can you share with readers?

Grizzard: Always strive to understand the other parties’ perspective. I think that we can work to have a greater level of respect with each other, and one of the beautiful things about LSP is that everyone is not going to agree on everything all the time. That is a good thing as ideas and perspectives change from individual to individual, and if we can have a higher level of respect, you will be able to hear and understand where others are coming from.


St. Pete Catalyst: What was your favorite book in 2018?

Grizzard: The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway. To me, it’s a story of self-determination and the satisfaction of never giving up no matter how bad things may seem, even though no one was there to witness your triumphs.

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