By Kerry O’Reilly, Tampa Bay Times Marketing Director, LT ‘15
The Tampa Chamber welcomes MaryBeth Williams to the team as Senior Director, Leadership Programs. This position, most recently held by Lorrie Hero, carries the responsibility for shaping and coordinating much of the programming for Emerge, Leadership Tampa and Leadership Tampa Alumni.
Tell us about your background and what drew you to the opportunity at the Chamber?
I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida and went on to earn my Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of South Florida. I was an assistant principal with Pinellas County Schools for six years and a middle and high school mathematics teacher for nine years prior to that. My experience with recruiting and developing leaders will certainly enhance the work of the Chamber. As an assistant principal of curriculum, multi-tasking and prioritizing were crucial skills in a fast-paced setting with constantly changing district and state requirements. I believe that my experiences with the school system and as a social worker prior to that can benefit the Chamber as well as the Leadership Programs. My passion for making a difference in the community has guided my career and led me to the Tampa Chamber.
Any pleasant surprises in your role thus far?
My first few weeks with the Chamber have been amazing. On my third day, I had the opportunity to visit Tropicana Field, Amalie Arena and One Buc Place with the Leadership Tampa 2016 class. Last week, I visited the Strawberry Festival and the Tampa Port Authority. I’ve really enjoyed meeting new people and learning so much about Tampa.
Coming to the Chamber with fresh eyes, are there opportunities that you noticed in the short term or long term?
Certainly, in my first few weeks I’ve been very busy learning procedures and programs. Building relationships and learning the culture of the Chamber are very important to me. There are many wonderful programs here at the Chamber. Being in education for so many years, I can’t help but look at programs through the lens of an educator. I think the Chamber does a great job of gathering data and analyzing their programs to determine their effectiveness and impact. I look forward to working collaboratively with various committees to continue to improve the quality of our programs and events.
What three qualities do you think the most effective leaders possess?
Honesty, the ability to inspire and confidence.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I have been married for 22 years. My husband, Mark, is an electrical engineer. We have two sons, Drew (20) and Zach (16). We enjoy anything outdoors including the beach, boating, camping, biking and sports. I’m a big Florida Gators fan! I also love animals. We have three dogs, a gecko and a squirrel.