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Juvenile Welfare Board

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St. Pete Free Clinic

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The Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County voted unanimously to appoint Beth A. Houghton as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and accept the terms of a two-year employment contract. The action came during the Board's regular meeting on July 11, 2019, at which time the CEO Search Committee presented its recommendation after launching a nationwide search in February. Ms. Houghton's anticipated start date is September 16, 2019, pending formal contract execution. "Beth Houghton is an experienced and passionate leader with a proven track record of organizational excellence," stated Dr. Jim Sewell, Immediate Past Board Chair and CEO Search Committee member. "While our pool of candidates was strong, Ms. Houghton rose to the top because of her legal and fiscal expertise, high regard in the community, vast knowledge of Pinellas County, and reputation for getting things done. Plus, she walks the talk, and has dedicated her life to giving back." Ms. Houghton currently serves as the St. Petersburg Free Clinic Chief Executive Officer where she's held the top position for eight years. Under her leadership, the organization expanded its reach to eight food, shelter, and health care programs that distribute food to more than 55,000 people monthly, provide over 9,000 with free health and wellness services annually, and help another 400 on their path to independent living through shelter services. Ms. Houghton has taken numerous mission trips to rural Honduras and currently serves as Treasurer for the Foundation for International Missions which supports a rural medical clinic. She serves as Chair of the Hospital Board of H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research and Vice Chair of its Institute (Parent) Board. Ms. Houghton is a graduate with highest honors from Stetson University College of Law, graduated from Tulane University Graduate School of Business earning an MBA, and received her BA from Newcomb College of Tulane University. Ms. Houghton is licensed to practice both law and public accounting in Florida and has been an adjunct professor at the University of South Florida and Stetson University College of Law. Her previous employment includes serving as Chief Financial Officer and General Counsel of John's Hopkins All Children's Health System. In her role as CEO, Ms. Houghton will oversee an annual budget of $94.3 million and workforce of 62, while ensuring policies set forth by the JWB Board of Directors are effectively implemented, funds are responsibly invested in programs with proven results, and innovative partnerships are created that benefit tens of thousands of Pinellas County children and families annually. She will serve as the nexus between the JWB Board and day-to-day operations at JWB, as well as coordinating and partnering with public entities, major funders of services, service providers, and community leaders. She will also provide leadership to the JWB Executive Team and other direct reports and establish and oversee accountability systems and measurements to ensure effective use of the community's investments. "We were searching for an innovative and strategic leader who can build and maintain relationships with Pinellas County community partners and residents to improve the lives of children and their families. We were also looking for a professional with a commitment to data-driven decision-making and experience developing and using impact measures and metrics. Someone passionate about JWB's mission and able to articulate and implement JWB's value to all constituents," added JWB Board Chair Brian Aungst. "Ms. Houghton possesses all of these attributes and more." Established by a Special Act of the Florida Legislature in 1945 and approved overwhelmingly by Pinellas County voters in 1946, JWB is an independent special taxing district that is governed by an 11-member Board and responsibly invests property tax dollars to give children the best opportunities to lead healthy, successful, and satisfying lives. Last year, JWB contracted with 49 nonprofit agencies to deliver 88 programs focused on school readiness, school success, prevention of child abuse and neglect, and strengthening community. These investments served more than 66,000 Pinellas County children and their families. JWB also invested in collective initiatives with community partners to address childhood hunger, grade-level reading, and preventable child deaths. Ms. Houghton will succeed Dr. Marcie Biddleman, who announced her plans to retire after a 10-year tenure with the organization. A public farewell gathering in Dr. Biddleman's honor is being planned for September.

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