President’s Message Feb. 2018

Georgie S. Menke ’09

Dear Fellow Leadership Alumni, Board Members, and Class Members:

What an exciting month January was for this year’s class. We started with Government and Infrastructure Day. Thank you to the committee members Cyndi Raskin-Schmitt ’16, Matthew Campbell ’15, Debbie Leous ’17, Dan Saracki ’17, Meagan Decker ’17, and Jill Silverboard ’09 for an exciting day! Although it is hard to nail down the best part of any program day, it seems that the “Claw” at the Pinellas County Solid Waste was the ultimate winner. LP’s very own Jan Tracy ’96 loves when her fellow Leadership Pinellas group comes to visit.

On January 28, we hit the road to Tallahassee! What an adventure that was. Thank you to committee members Kimberly Berfield ‘97, Ricky Butler ‘15, Joanna Cheshire ‘16, and Franco Ripple ‘17 for an amazing two days. We were greeted on our first day by Leadership’s very own Chris Latvala ‘14. Representative Latvala gave us a wonderful review of the chambers and current members. Thank you, Representative, for the time you spent with us answering questions. Across the hall, we were greeted by Senator Jeff Brandes. The LP class had a tour of the new senate chambers and had the opportunity to have a mock debate on passing a bill. That was exciting to say the least.

Lunch at the Governors Club was amazing! Our very own Kimberly Berfield was kind enough to facilitate the panel discussion including Missy Timmins, Sara Bascom, Kevin Cate, and Carrie Roth. We took a little road trip inside the Capitol and met with the most exciting new reporters around, Dara Kim, Steve Bousquet, Troy Kinsey, and Alex Glorioso. Thank you Joanna for leading this discussion panel. After all that excitement one would say, how can you top that? Well the committee did! We had an amazing visit with the Chief Justice, Jorge Labarga! If you are curious about where he went to school … he is a Florida Gator. Chief Justice Labarga was born in Cuba and moved to Miami as a very young boy. He is a good example of making the American Dream come true!

Our next day started with Representative Chris Sprowls ’14 answering questions during breakfast. Thank you, sir, for joining us at breakfast and taking our questions. After breakfast, we received a little slice of history on the State of Florida at the governor’s mansion. We took a tour of the old capitol building where it all began in 1845. Then, back to the capitol we go!

We had the honor to see Representative Kathleen Peters in action in front of the Careers & Competition subcommittee. Representative Peters was presenting to the Committee about Restructuring the Pinellas County Contracting license board. This makes it a dependent district, accountable to the county instead of being independent, and calls for more transparency and accountability. This vote was unanimous in Representative Peters favor! Needless to say, it was an amazing trip! Thank you all for your help and Leadership for an incredible month!

By now, you should have received the email regarding nominations for next year’s board slate. If you have not gotten that, please contact us at [email protected].

Last year, Mrs. Nancy St. Arnold ‘11 had the honor of receiving the 2017 Deborah Vincent Distinguished Alumni Award. If there is someone you have in mind, a leader and a pillar in our community, please feel free to nominate them. Those nominations will be due in April. We will send the nominations ballot out shortly.

Have a great month!
Your LP President
Georgie Menke