Meet Leadership St. Pete’s Class of 2023
Now in its 54th year, one of the nation’s oldest leadership programs is welcoming 40 new, diverse members to its Class of 2023.
Leadership St. Pete (LSP), a division of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and its nonprofit foundation, consists of a dynamic and intensive six-month experience that promotes and enhances community stewardship. Program officials seek to identify, recruit and develop leaders who encompass the city’s diversity.
Like the classes before them, the new members will participate in a curriculum that challenges participants to view local issues as opportunities and stimulates creative thinking through class interaction and guidance from current community leaders. Class Chair Maggie Knaust, a partner at Trenam Law, will guide their growth and development until June 2023.
“It’s such a special program that had such a deep impact on me and my professional development,” said Knaust to the Catalyst. “I’m just really grateful for this chance to pay it forward by being in this role.”
LSP also made a profound personal impact on Knaust, a graduate of the Class of 2016; she has served on the 28-member volunteer planning committee nearly every year since. An executive committee comprising past chairs, the Alumni Association and Chris Steinocher, Chamber president, elected Knaust to oversee the program’s latest cohort.
What draws her to the program is also what she looks forward to the most as she embarks on the next six months – watching locals from diverse backgrounds bond and make deep connections.
“It’s the most fun part for me,” added Knaust. “It’s why I’ve been doing this for years.”
Since 1970, LSP’s keystone undertaking has been its class project, which allows classes to give back to their community. Knaust said the Planning Committee identified three nonprofit finalists, which they will present to the future leaders at their Dec. 14 orientation dinner at The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg.
The class will then vote on what organization’s facility they would most like to improve through creating awareness, fundraising and sweat equity. Program officials task participants to organize roles and create a plan to accomplish their goals.
The Class of 2022 “legacy project” provided South St. Petersburg’s Clam Bayou Marine Education Center with much-needed improvements. LSP upgraded the Grand Central District’s Mustard Seed Inn, a nonprofit home for addicts and the homeless, in 2021.
Both classes exceeded their goals by fundraising over $50,000 to complete the projects. Knaust said the group’s diversity and those endeavors allow participants to “learn more about themselves, understand different perspectives and really grow from the experience.”
Before joining LSP, Knaust said many of her friends and colleagues were fellow lawyers. Once in the program, her circle expanded to include people from a variety of professions.
This year’s class includes people in academia, healthcare, construction, banking, communications, real estate and philanthropy, among other industries. In addition to the legacy project, they will participate in three leadership development retreats and seven educational seminars.
Knaust called LSP one of the best programs in St. Pete for people hoping to better integrate into the city and grow personally and professionally.
“Because you learn so much about the city and about yourself,” she added. “I hope all 40 members of our class leave this experience having grown and learned and develop some relationships that they didn’t have before they entered their LSP journey.”
Introducing the Class of 2023:
- Callie Barber – Olivia Poppy Salon
- Kristen Brauer – Healing Hands for Pets
- David Brett – CBIZ MHM, LLC
- Aaron Bryce – Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College
- Manny Carmona III – Wallace, Welch & Willingham
- Alfio Carroccetto – The Affinity Group of Dalton Wade, Inc
- Anne Core – St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corporation
- Bryan Dion – Johnson, Pope, Bokor, Ruppel & Burns, LLP
- Alexandra DySard – Environmental Defense Fund
- Erin Flock – Seacoast Bank
- John H. Flood – Suffolk Construction
- Brittney Frazier – Allegany Franciscan Ministries
- Al Gentilini – University of South Florida
- Aaron Germundsen – Burns and McDonnell
- Dr. Byron Green – PRX
- Chris Griffin – City of St. Petersburg
- Dr. Charee Howard – On the Go D.O., PLLC
- Missy Hurley – B2 Communications
- Robin Ingles – Seniors in Service of Tampa Bay, Inc.
- Pamela Lee – Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas & West Pasco Counties
- Sebastian Leon – TECO Peoples Gas
- Steve Marciano – BayCare/St. Anthony’s Hospital
- Kelli McDonaugh – NextPath Career Partners
- Megan McGee – St. Petersburg Police Department
- Allison McKown – Foley & Lardner, LLP
- Cyndi Mitchell – SPCA Tampa Bay
- Jake Moore – Moore Resources Insurances
- Lola B. Morgan – A Griot’s Corner, LLC
- Morgan Puttick – Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital
- Ryan Quinty – Cyndeo Wealth Partners
- Mindi Richter – Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP
- Jeanene Ruska – Centene
- Kristin Sakora – SouthState Bank Mortgage
- Christie Sullivan – McFarland, Gould, Lyons, Sullivan & Hogan
- Dr. Christopher Talluto – Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital
- Demetrius Taylor – Heritage Insurance
- Joshua Verch – BKS Partners
- Nicole Walker – Realty One Group Sunshine
- Dr. Beverly Warren – Eckerd College
- Sandy Weiss – University of South Florida
For more information on Leadership St. Pete, and to view the class bios, visit the website here.