Born the youngest of seven children in Northbrook Illinois, Kathleen grew up in a very modest household. She and her husband moved to St. Petersburg in 1985 when they purchased a retail business in St. Pete Beach. She received her BA from Eckerd College majoring in Human Development while raising four sons and working with her husband to further their business.
Kathleen got involved in community development in 1997 when she joined the workforce at the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County. There she coordinated a statewide advocacy group to develop a legislative agenda for positive youth policies associated with juvenile justice. She also coordinated a group of more than 70 youth in establishing a framework, developing program criteria, and acquiring funding to open a local teen center. Her role also required her to research numerous state and local policies related to children and youth.
In 2001, Kathleen joined the team at the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg and served as the Financial Development Director. There she managed and supervised all fundraising, marketing, public relations and grant management. Along with developing numerous partnerships for the YMCA, Kathleen secured community input from key stakeholders to identify strategies to combat the high rate of school suspensions and school related arrests among middle school students. This research resulted in the development of the award winning YMCA Youth Enhancement Skills Program, which demonstrated strong positive outcomes. In 2004, Kathleen presented this award winning program at a Congressional Briefing for the U.S. House and Senate.
Kathleen answered the call to serve her local community by first serving on the City of South Pasadena’s Planning and Zoning Board and then was elected to the City Commission in 2008 for a three-year term. In 2009, Kathleen was elected by the Commission to serve as Mayor for the unfinished term of her predecessor and re-elected in 2010 for a three year term. In 2008, she served on the Florida League of Cities Finance and Taxation Committee and the League’s Intergovernmental Relations Committee in 2009-2010. Kathleen also serves on the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, and Pinellas County EMS Council.
In 2009, Kathleen joined the leadership team at the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce in the position of Vice President of Public Affairs. In this role she monitors all local, state and federal legislation relative to the commerce community.
Kathleen was nominated for the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce 2006 Woman of Distinction Award and was named Princess of the Queen of Hearts Royal Court in 2005 for outstanding community service. She is a past member of the Advisory Board for the Pinellas Juvenile Assessment Center and she has chaired major fundraising events for the St. Petersburg Museum of History, Queen of Hearts Royal Court, Boys and Girls Clubs, and several private schools.