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Meet 40 leaders who are making a difference in St. Petersburg

Margie Manning

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Members of the 2020 class of Leadership St. Pete


Click the arrow above to listen to the full interview between Leadership St. Pete 2020 Class Chair Madeline McCarthy and St. Pete Catalyst Finance Editor Margie Manning.

Leadership St. Pete’s Class of 2020 gets underway today, with 40 St. Petersburg business and community leaders attending an opening retreat at Innisbrook Golf Resort.

Madeline McCarthy

Over the course of the next six months, they’ll get an opportunity to engage on a more intimate level with the city of St. Petersburg, through a series of events, seminars and a community service project, said Madeline McCarthy, 2020 Class Chair.

“This is our home, this is our community. Intimately being able to have an intelligent opinion or protective stance, if you will, to preserve what makes St. Pete so cool and unique, gives us an advantage above other communities and even cities in the Tampa Bay area,” McCarthy said in an interview with the St. Pete Catalyst. “I think Leadership St. Pete has the opportunity to provide the training and commitment to the city of St. Petersburg that is really what’s present in multiple generations and why people keep coming back here.”

Leadership St. Pete, a division of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, is the second-oldest leadership organization in the United States, and just celebrated its 50th year, as representatives of all 50 previous classes gathered at the Coliseum in October.

The alumni group is wide and deep, and includes U.S. Congressman Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg), Florida’s former governor, as well as state Sen. Darryl Rouson, also a St. Petersburg Democrat; former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker; and St. Petersburg Fire Chief Jim Large. McCarthy, a graduate of the class of 2013, is regional director of operations for TJM Properties, a real estate acquisition and management firm specializing in hotels and senior living.


See the gallery below for this year’s class members.


This year’s group will take part in three retreats (including the Jan. 10 opening retreat), two dinners and 11 educational seminars. Participants will learn how to get involved and make an impact in the city. They’ll focus on a wide array of local businesses, learn more about the city’s culture, and take a trip to Tallahassee to see the Florida Legislature in action.

One of McCarthy’s goals is to strengthen ties to other leadership organizations around the Tampa-St. Pete area.

“Collaboration and working together is a critical part of making Tampa Bay work,” she said. “We’re unique and each city brings extreme value to the Tampa Bay area. It’s important that we play on each other’s strengths and work together to make Tampa Bay a world renowned community.”

The nonprofit organization is supported by sponsors. Patron sponsors this year are Collaborative Labs, Duke Energy, Eckerd College Leadership Development Institute, Phillips Hayden and Labbee, Power Design and Raymond James.

Those interested in taking part in a future class, or nominating someone for a future class, can find information on the Leadership St. Pete page on the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce website.

Leadership St. Pete 2020

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