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Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin: Podcast will be ‘a place for authentic exchange’

Bill DeYoung

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With Just Getting Started, her upcoming twice-monthly podcast, St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Tomalin hopes to bridge the awkward gap between life before and after the coronavirus pandemic.

The purpose of her “chat show,” as she calls it, is “to keep us all connected as a community.

“There’s so many things going on, and the COVID-19 disruption has certainly thrown our community, in many ways, for a loop,” Tomalin explains. “But it still has such a great story to tell, St. Pete. There’s so many wonderful initiatives that were underway, and so many that are on the horizon, I just wanted to make sure – as we all take the necessary focus that’s required on public health – we also stay fully connected to all the great things that were, and will continue to, unfold.”

Just Getting Started is a co-production with the St. Pete Catalyst. The initial half-hour program, which will tape on June 8 and premiere shortly thereafter, will focus on St. Petersburg’s leisure services. The guest has not yet been finalized.

“We have such a resurgence and focus in our community on ways to partake in our leisure amenities,” Tomalin says. “And there are some good things on the horizon.”

A St. Petersburg native, Tomalin is also Chief Administrator for the city. As a thought leader, policy maker, community ambassador and health advocate, she has been a critically important part of Mayor Rick Kriseman’s administration.

She intends to speak as both a city administrator and a citizen. “It’s funny, when you’re in a position of leadership, it’s often inextricable. I bring a lot of my personal self into my work, and my commitment to community. So I certainly will be speaking as a representative of the city, and talking to people of and from the city, but will definitely be infusing it with my personal insights and experiences as a resident of St. Pete.”

Just Getting Started will serve as more than just a mouthpiece for city initiatives. Tomalin expects. “All kinds of dialogue; we welcome it all.

“The only structure we want is that it be inviting and that it be a place where people have authentic exchange, and know that if they show up they’ll learn a little bit new.

“Even if it’s about a project that they’ve long heard of or talked about, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to emerge the unexpected, or hidden treasures of the chapters of St. Pete that feel very familiar.”

The podcast’s title refers to the city’s growth – thus far, and into the future. As a community, Tomalin is saying, we’re just getting started.

“What I hope it to be is: If you were invited to sit down in a booth, two people talking about an engaging topic,” she says. “And you might not be able to have access to those people on a regular basis. So I hope to have very real, authentic conversations and exchanges that touch on the things that we all care about.”

Tomalin is also enthusiastic about her Just Getting Started media partner.

“The Catalyst is existentially St. Pete,” she says. “All of the things that we most love and celebrate about our awesome city, I think are really well-represented and epitomized by the Catalyst. It’s a very reflective platform that’s responsive, allows a lot of latitude for authentic exchange, and has a pulse on everything that’s happening in the community as it unfolds.

“I really can’t think of a better platform or place in which to meet our community and have some regular conversation.”

The launch date for Just Getting Started will be announced in the coming days.

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