Well-known policy advisor and consultant Helen Levine has joined the Corcoran Partners firm, where she will lead operations in St. Petersburg.
Corcoran Partners, a government relations and advocacy firm representing local and federal clients, celebrated the firm’s expansion into St. Pete with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting event Thursday. Although there isn’t a physical office yet in the city, it was a symbolic moment of the firm adding Levine, who will have her boots on the ground serving the market.
Corcoran Partners has over 90 clients ranging from Coca-Cola to Walmart and Verizon to hyperlocal clients such as The Florida Holocaust Museum board, The Florida Orchestra and Ruth Eckerd Hall.
Corcoran Founding Partner and CEO Michael Corcoran started the Tampa-centric firm with his wife, Jessie Corcoran, and has multiple office locations. He still recalls the longtime friendship and the mutual respect he and Levine had from the humble beginnings of their careers.
“When I started my career, I was very green and naive,” Corcoran said. “Helen was one of the few who took me under her wing and nurtured me when I worked with a state representative. I have a fondness for Helen for the person she is.”
Levine has served a plethora of dynamic leaders and organizations in her 30-plus years of experience in the public policy space. She cut her teeth in the early 2000s when she worked with then-St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker.
She most recently served as regional vice-chancellor of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. At USF, she helped the university system-mandated consolidation process, removing USF St. Pete’s independent accreditation and shifting back under a singular accreditation with the USF Tampa parent campus and the Sarasota-Manatee regional campus.
Levine retired from the role in August 2020.
“Mike and I have known each other for over 30 years. He was working with a representative when we met and I was a new lobbyist for Hillsborough County Government,” Levine said. “Mike now owns one of the elite lobbying firms in Tallahassee.”
Levin said she didn’t plan on continuing her career after retiring from USF, but communication with Corcoran changed her course.
“As we continue to grow, we never want to forsake service with our existing clients. We felt we needed a full-time person for St. Petersburg,” Corcoran said, explaining how he eventually mustered up the courage to directly ask Levine if she’d be interested in the role, which she gladly accepted.
“The whole arc of my career working in the public sector has been successful – it was all about being a good translator and having that persuasiveness,” Levine said.
She grew up in Tallahassee, and credits her ability to listen and digest issues to lessons learned in her household.
“My claim to fame is that I am very successful in working with everybody. My parents were both social workers – my dad was a professor and my mother was a clinician. I come from a family of listeners. My dad was always about hearing the other side because it made him a better thinker. One of the hallmarks in the political world is you have to be a problem solver. The more minds, the better. If I’m speaking to someone, I try to find the common ground,” Levine said.
In a news release, Rep. Ben Diamond acknowledged Levine as “an extraordinary community leader, passionate advocate and pragmatic problem solver.”
Levine officially started the role this month.