St Pete X features business and civic leaders in St. Petersburg Florida who share their insight, expertise and love of our special city. An initiative of the St. Petersburg Group, St Pete X strives to connect and elevate the city by sharing the voices of its citizens, and to bring awareness to the opportunities offered by the great St. Petersburg renaissance.
Helen R Murray - Artistic Producing Director - American Stage
Helen Murray is an award-winning playwright and director. Murray joined St. Pete’s American Stage as Producing Artistic Director in October 2022. Previous to her current role, Murray has notably worked as Executive Producer for the Aurora Fox Arts Center in Denver and as Artistic Director of the Hub Theatre in Virginia, which she also co-founded. She has authored over seven plays, and has directed over 19 productions. She has received multiple awards for her work.
Waveney Ann Moore - Journalist
Waveney Ann Moore’s first St. Pete Catalyst byline appeared just over two years ago, on Nov. 25, 2020, and her weekly columns have enriched and elevated our journalistic output a thousandfold. The Guyana-born Moore began writing for us following her retirement from the Tampa Bay Times, where she’d been a well-known reporter and columnist for 24 years. “My husband’s been telling everybody, for the past couple of years since I retired from the Times, that I failed retirement,” she says with a laugh in this SPX interview with Catalyst publisher Joe Hamilton.
This month, however, Moore is taking another shot at slowing down. After more than 100 Catalyst columns - about community, about equity and about the abundance of positivity amongst the people of St. Petersburg – she is now officially, no-turning-back retired.
Judy Genshaft - University of South Florida
Judy Genshaft was President of the University of South Florida for nearly two decades, from 2000 to 2019, overseeing the most transformative change in the university’s history. Enrollment grew by 40 percent; the four-year graduation rate tripled. USF’s endowment jumped from $254 million to $480 million. And most significantly, USF's research activity has tripled to more than $568 million in expenditures, it’s now one of the top 25 public universities for research. Today, USF ranks as the country's fifth leading public university in generating new U.S. utility patents. It is also the state's third preeminent university. Recently, the Board of Trustees voted to re-name the Student Life Building, on the campus of USF St. Petersburg, in honor of the former president.
Christian Hardigree - University of South Florida, St Petersburg
Regional chancellor Christian Hardigree joined the University of South Florida St. Petersburg administration in July, and she hit the ground running. In this wide-ranging conversation, Hardigree – who came to USF from Denver, Colorado, where she’d served as the Dean of Metropolitan State’s School of Hospitality – talks about the university’s forward momentum, and not only how to sustain it but grow it. She also touches on the future of education, bureaucracy and putting her stamp on St. Pete. The podcast concludes with some personal stories about her family and her almost becoming an FBI agent.
Freddy Williams - Boys and Girls Club
There’s a line Freddy Williams, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast, likes to drop into conversations: “We’re not your grandfather’s Boys and Girls Club.” Williams, a Florida native who’s been in the position since 2016 (after serving in the top spot for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lake and Sumter counties) emphasizes that today’s clubs are so much more than the warm, caring, safe place for young people – with caring adults – offering recreational and other after-school activities. That, of course, is still the case but among other things they’ve added grade-level reading programs, expanded food service (hot catered meals at all locations) and workforce readiness, to ensure kids have job skills. Williams is also dedicated to deepening partnerships with other bay area nonprofits. He is a board member at the Pinellas Community Foundation, the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and others.
Ep. 84: Peter Belmont - Preserve the Burg
Peter Belmont see cities through a special lens. It reveals to him the elements - the buildings, districts, and neighborhoods - that comprise the DNA of a place.
From this DNA comes character, the character that shapes a community that in turn shapes our individual lives.
Experience has shown Peter that not everyone can see the connection between the elements and the outcome. Newer, bigger, more profitable projects are enticing. There's a lot of money and political gain to be had from such 'progress'. But those short term gains can lead to long term losses for a city if they mutate its DNA too much.
Peter has dedicated much of his life to preserving a healthy civic DNA. As a lawyer, an advocate and a historian Peter has been a multi-faceted champion for St Petersburg. He is willing to go toe to toe in the court room and step by step on walking tours.
His impact on St Petersburg is immense and worth celebrating, and that's what we do in we do in episode 84 of St Pete X.
Great conversations on all things St. Pete.
Must listen for any St. Pete local!!
I look forward to this podcast every week. It's great to have a resource like this that helps you not only feel like a more informed citizen but also just a member of the community. Great interviews of local people doing their best to make our city better, which motivates you to do the same. I love hearing the back stories of some of my favorite local businesses/institutions and the people behind them and knowing that I could run into them just going about my day. This podcast really shows how inspirational our city is and makes you want to get involved!