Home Page Updates

Charlie Justice Shares His Annual County Commission Update With BPW

Make your reservation now as BPW welcomes back the Chairman of the Pinellas County Commission for what has become an annual update to the members and guests of BPW. He’ll share the commission’s successes and challenges and how we can participate in countywide efforts to improve our community.
Approachable. Compassionate. Home town boy. All words used to describe Charlie Justice. One only has to spend five minutes with Charlie to know that he is not your usual politician.
Husband to Kathleen for twenty years and proud father of two young daughters Erin and Allison, Charlie grew up the youngest of five children in the heart of Pinellas. As a student at Boca Ciega High, Charlie excelled in academics, but really thrived at putting smiles on his classmates’ faces. To this day, his colleagues and friends admire his optimism and his ability to bring out the best in any person or situation.
After high school, Charlie attended St. Petersburg College, and the University of South Florida. It was important to him to stay close to his family, and build a life in his beloved hometown. During his time in college, he saw Pinellas County grow at an exponential rate. St. Petersburg and the bay area was becoming a metropolis in Florida, and along with that came typical growing pains. Roads were becoming congested, beaches overcrowded, and crime was on the rise. He decided that it was time to get involved and give back to the community that had given him so much. He became active in local politics, eventually becoming the legislative aide to Representative Lars Hafner. His admiration for our area grew, and so did his calling to public service. Five years later, Charlie earned the opportunity to represent us as a State Representative and later as a State Senator.
Tallahassee is a far different place from Tampa Bay. But Charlie relied on the good people of his district that he has come to know and love. He has succeeded in strengthening rights for our military, bringing home millions in beach re-nourishment funds, standing strong for our natural resources and protecting our coastline from near shore oil drilling and mandating stronger consumer protections for the safety of our families. His constituents demanded more attention and money for our schools, and Charlie delivered. To this day he remains a tireless advocate for education and teachers. His district was concerned about every vote being counted and Charlie delivered again, strongly supporting the switch to paper ballots. He continues to stand up for fair and ethical elections, working to rein in frivolous campaign spending by special interests and raising voter confidence by ensuring that everyone has the right and ability to vote.
Charlie credits his open door policy and community involvement for his success. He is constantly in the community, talking to nurses, teachers and others on the front lines who can offer real solutions to state wide problems. It is because of them that Charlie advocates so effectively for our most vulnerable. He has called for stricter regulations on nursing homes and harsher penalties for elder and child abuse. He supports measures to make our foster care system safer and programs that get homeless off the street. He has brought home funds for community organizations such as PARC, Gulf Coast Family Services, Hospice of the Florida Suncoast, and Vincent House, just to name a few.
Charlie has continued that same philosophy on the County Commission. He is working with many community partners addressing the poverty issues in Lealman, Midtown and throughout Pinellas. He worked to pass ordinances providing relief for wage theft victims, providing assistance to human trafficking victims, and expanded Pinellas’ human rights ordinance.
Charlie’s leadership was recognized by his peers when they selected him to serve as Chairman of the Pinellas Commission. He also has served  as Chair of the Tourist Development Council, the Pinellas Economic Development Council, and in leadership positions of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco- Pinellas Board, the Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Pinellas Historical Preservation Board.
Legislating aside, Charlie’s best attribute is his compassion for the working families who are the heart and soul of his community. He empathizes with those who, like him, worked to make their own way and provide for their families. He has an uncanny ability to identify with almost anyone he comes across, and usually ends the conversation by sharing a laugh and a smile. It is this capacity to connect and deliver that makes Charlie an effective leader, and a role model for others looking to serve their community.

Join us at Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant in St. Pete for Happy Hour!

All members and guests of Business and Professional Women are invited to join us to indulge in free appetizers and a cash bar. Cocktails will be on special and include $6 Ketel One Mules, Tanqueray Cucumber Gimlets and Don Julio Margaritas or a Bulleit Old Fashioned.
November 8 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 

Ceviche is conveniently located at 10 Beach Drive NE.

For more information contact membership@bpwstpetepinellas.org

Outreach to Special Communities – Lariana Forsythe, CASA 

As Domestic Violence Awareness month draws to a close the work goes on. Join us on November 2nd when we welcome Lariana Forsythe, Interim CEO of CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse) to speak about the ongoing efforts that this vital organization makes in our area and specifically reach special communities that may be underserved by other services.
Lariana brings extensive nonprofit leadership experience to CASA, which is implementing a significant expansion of its programs for survivors of domestic violence in southern Pinellas County, Florida. Longtime employee Suzanne Horn, who had served as Interim Director during the transition period, has been promoted to CASA’s Chief Operations Officer (COO) and Harry Linn has been promoted to Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
“I am honored to have the opportunity to help change the image of domestic violence in Pinellas County,” said Ms. Forsythe. “So many domestic violence survivors live in the shadow of this systemic issue, which effects as many as 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men, and often fear the undeserved stigma and false assumptions that can come with it.”
“Now celebrating its 40th anniversary of service to this community,” she continued, ”CASA is a larger influence than ever before, providing safety and a voice for those who have had theirs taken away.  I look forward to getting to know and working closely with the leaders in our community to ensure St. Petersburg is a vibrant and safe community for everyone.”
 
Lariana has more than 20 years of nonprofit experience, most recently serving as the Vice President/Chief Development Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix. In addition to 17 years with the Boys & Girls Clubs, she has held a variety of roles within National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Special Olympics. Lariana has earned a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, a Bachelor of Science from Arizona State University, and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive.
CASA is the official domestic violence center for southern Pinellas County, Florida. It is also a proud member of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV), the professional association for Florida’s 42 independent, certified domestic violence centers.
As a community organization, CASA is in constant need of supplies to support their many efforts. Click Here to see their wishlist and how you might support them.

Meet the Candidates: St. Petersburg City Council, District 6

Join us on October 5 as we welcome the candidates for St. Petersburg City Council: District 6. This district which includes the core of downtown St. Petersburg from I-275 east to the water stretching from Old Northeast south to Colony Point has been served by outgoing city council member Karl Nurse. In an incredibly close primary election, 2 candidates emerged to vie for this very important position: Gina Driscoll and Justin Bean. We are delighted that both candidates have accepted our invitation and have an opportunity to share their vision for not only District 6, but St. Petersburg as a whole.

Click Here to Make a Reservation 

Gina Driscoll

Gina has lived in St. Petersburg for over 10 years and is dedicated to making the city a better place to live, work, and raise a family for all of our residents. That’s why she’s endorsed by outgoing District 6 City Councilman Karl Nurse.

She is the President of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, and has led several projects to improve our neighborhoods including the Clean Waterways Project, renovations at the historic Shuffleboard Club, and donation drives for food, diapers, and other necessities of Daystar Life Center. She has also spoken before City Council regarding issues important to residents, such as the Al Lang Stadium referendum, to ensure that their voices are heard.

Gina has also worked to improve the business climate in St. Petersburg for both large and small business. She serves on the Board of the Downtown Business Association, the Organizational Committee of the Central Avenue Council, and is a member of both the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership and St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. While she worked in advertising for the Tampa Bay Times and other local firms, Gina built strong relationships with local businesses and helped them develop successful marketing strategies. In 2015, she also served on the city’s Urban Construction Best Practices Task Force.

She understands the importance of tourism as an economic driver in St. Petersburg. She’s been a leading voice supporting the Sunshine Street Team which is a group of volunteers who help tourists have a better experience in St. Petersburg.

 Justin Bean was born and raised in the St. Petersburg area. He is currently the Business Development and Sales Manager at Reusable Transport Packaging, a growing web based sales and marketing company headquartered in Downtown St. Petersburg. Bean currently Chairs the Williams Park Partnership and SmartBurg. He has served as Chair of SPYP in 2016, was appointed by the Mayor to the Pier Uplands Selection Committee, and currently serves on the City’s Complete Streets Committee. Previously, he served as Economic Development and Arts Chair for SPYP and continues to work as a mentor and serve as Board Chairman for SailFuture, a local Nonprofit that helps keep at risk men from returning to the juvenile justice system.