The third annual Grow Smarter Summit brought together over 200 members of the community to connect and engage in conversations around the idea of an equitable St. Pete.
The importance and relevancy of the Grow Smarter initiative was presented with openings remarks from Randy Russell of the Foundation for a Health St. Pete, Dr. Sridhar Sundaram as the exiting chair of Grow Smarter, Dr. Tashika Griffith as the entering chair, Bill Kent Chair of the Chamber of Commerce , and a video from Dr. Kanika Tomalin. We also released our 2019 annual report which you can find here.
We then heard from the workgroup leadership about their progress in 2019 and what attendees could expect from the “hubs” in the following For St. Pete Expo.
The majority of the event gravitated centered around the 22 represented organizations who presented and participated in this expo session. The room was abuzz with conversations and connections as the organizations and attendees discussed the programs in St. Pete that are striving to make it a better city for all its citizens.
Finally, we closed with a keynote panel featuring Beth Houghton with the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County, Dana Hill with Florida Blue and Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council, Malcolm Randolph with the University of South Florida, and Nikki Gaskin-Capehart with the City of St. Pete. The panel was designed to showcase how several different sectors – nonprofit, government, for-profit, and higher education – advance equity in their respective work. Moderated by Dr. Sridhar Sundaram and Jocelyn Howard (Grow Smarter’s Manager), they discussed the issues that St. Pete is facing and the steps we as a community must take to move forward and make progress.
Overall, the purpose of the event was to showcase the positive impacts being made around to promote equity in St. Pete and to highlight the ways in which we can still create change as the city develops.
Thank you to all who attended, the incredible organizations who participated in the expo session, and the sponsors who played a key role in making the event happen. We, as an organization, are so inspired to see our beautiful city come together in such a way and we are excited to keep pushing forward in the coming years.