TAMPA BAY, Fla, Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - Following an extensive nation-wide search, where over 60 résumés were considered, Luke Blankenship has been named as the Executive Director of St Pete Pride, Inc.
A Board appointed Hiring Committee started the process in January with an open application period. Candidates meeting the criteria were invited to submit a quality video introducing themselves and answering predefined questions. The Hiring Committee, consisting of past and current board members, selected applicants to advance onto a community panel interview. This panel included pride grand marshals, members of other prides, and organizational leaders from around the Tampa Bay region. The community members along with the Hiring Committee, representing a diverse group of race, gender, and sexual identity, presented the St Pete Pride Board of Directors with three candidates to interview and make the final decision.
“This was one of the most important decisions the Organization has made in a while. We wanted to ensure we exhausted all avenues and resources to guarantee we were selecting the best candidate,” said Scion Crowder, Board President.
Blankenship succeeded Eric Skains as Interim Executive Director, during that period he increased corporate sponsorships by 57% over 2017 and strengthened St Pete Pride’s community relationships. As Executive Director, Luke plans to expand education, outreach, and the community grants programs.
Blankenship brings a youthful voice and perspective to St Pete Pride. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from the University of South Florida. During his undergraduate work, he held numerous positions within LGBT organizations, including President of PRIDE Alliance, Certified Facilitator for GLSEN and board member of the Diversity Chamber of Commerce.
Blankenship had this to say, “We have never been in a better position as an organization. St Pete Pride hosts staple events each year because of the support of its fantastic board members, dedicated volunteers and elite community backing. We celebrate the diversity and inclusion of all LGBTQ people and their allies. I can’t wait to for June to be upon us so we can once again gather together and unify to march for the advancement of the LGBTQ community and have one heck of a time doing it."
St Pete Pride is Florida’s largest pride celebration hosting over 250,000 people during Pride Weekend, the last weekend in June. The purpose of St Pete Pride is to promote unity, visibility, self-esteem and a positive image of and among the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community of Tampa Bay and throughout the State of Florida by way of cultural and educational programs and activities. stpetepride.com