One would be hard-pressed to find someone as plugged in to every layer of St. Pete as Sean Kennedy. From the start-up community, to small businesses, to government and non-profit, Kennedy is deeply embedded here. As Manager of the St. Pete Greenhouse, a partnership between the Chamber and the City, he helps connect new and established businesses with the services they need in one-off interactions and longer term courses provided by the Greenhouse. But his engagements don't stop with the job. He is also highly involved in the city of St. Pete's Grow Smarter Initiative, as well as the non-profit Creative Clay. With the help of Matt Spence of the community foundation, he's creating services for nonprofits and social enterprise, teaching the social sector how business acumen can benefit their endeavors. Kennedy often gets the question: "Who is the Greenhouse for?" His answer: "Anyone considering starting a business, social enterprise or nonprofit; and anyone in need of help with their existing business's growth or acceleration." Sign up for the Entrepreneurial Academy's next cohort, starting on March 19th at stpete.com/ea.
Years in St. Pete
35 (Pinellas County Native)
Organizations involved in
Creative Clay President, Board of Suncoast Developers Guild, SPC Advisory Boards, Investment Review Committee of Tampa Bay Wave.
What gets you out of bed every day?
This city. Not to be hokey, it’s so special and I take such immense pride in it, everyone takes pride in it. When national and state political and economic situations can be so frustrating, we can have so much impact here.
Why St. Pete?
All of the above.
What is one habit that you keep?
Having meetings without specific agendas. Going into the community or meeting one-on-one just to listen and hear what’s happening.
Who are some people that influence you?
John Morrow – one of the smartest people with the most incredible world view I’ve ever known; Gypsy Gallardo – who is so selflessly dedicated to her mission; the entrepreneurs we work with on a daily basis – for the immense pride they take in their work; Kim Dorman – the executive director of Creative Clay, who is another selfless person dedicated to a mission.
What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?
Read fiction. It has a profound impact on the way you think and do things. It encourages you to take information on your terms, whereas non-fiction asks you to take it on the author’s terms.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?
How much I didn’t have to do alone. There are so many people to collaborate with in this city, you just have to find them.
The Greenhouse is always changing and evolving, we ask for feedback from each cohort after each speaker and we evolve and change our curriculum according to that feedback. I also staff Grow Smarter and there are huge things on the horizon for that, as we build more collaboration and multiply the effectiveness of our efforts.