The Burg’s Most Influential Women, Part I

March 8 is International Women's Day. It's a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world. The Sunshine City is extraordinarily lucky because of the artistic, ambitious and inspired women who call St. Pete home. They have left an indelible mark on the residents of the Burg by creating jobs, breaking barriers and providing opportunities for men and women in industries they harbor a true passion for. 

Today, we look at the women who continue to redefine what it means to be influential and who continue to shape our city. 


Kanika Tomalin

Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin was born and raised in the city of St. Pete. Tomalin is a fifth generation local who has worked her whole life to change the narrative of the city. As Deputy Mayor, Tomalin has pledged to battle the issue of poverty in the Burg.

Her indescribable ubiquity sees the Deputy Mayor attending nearly every ribbon-cutting, groundbreaking, and arts event in the Burg. Her commitment to representing and celebrating this city proves to be a constant catalyst and inspiration for growth in all of Tampa Bay.

Tomalin also spearheaded the Healthy St. Pete movement which looks to provide nutrition education and fresh food options to the entire city. Tomalin graduated from Florida A&M where she studied Journalism; received her M.B.A. from the University of Miami and her Doctorate from Northeastern University.  

Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.



Mindy Grossman

Mindy Grossman is the CEO of HSN. The Financial Times listed Grossman in the top 50 women in world business in 2010 and 2011, and she has been ranked among Forbes' 100 most powerful women in the world for the years 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Her career has seen her take top positions with Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, WilliWear by Will Smith, Oxford Industries and Ralph Lauren. She took over as CEO of HSN in 2006 and helped the company go public in 2007. Her insight helped rebrand HSN as a lifestyle network. Over the course of 6 years (2008-14), Grossman helped raise the value of HSN's stock from $10 per share to $55.

Remaining on the cutting edge, Grossman helped bring HSN into the digital age with pay-by-remote technology, online arcade games, VOD, shopping on YouTube and more.

Follow Grossman on Twitter



Margaret Murray

If you're a cinephile in St. Pete, odds are you know the name Margaret Murray. In the late 90s, she began the local film series Movies That Move. Murray showcased some of the best independent films (past and present) to eager St. Pete crowds.

Murray's resume includes working with the Morean Arts Center and WMNF Community Radio along with working as Executive Director for the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (01-03, 09-10, 14-15). Currently, Murray serves as donor development manager for the Museum of Fine Arts in the Burg. She's also been instrumental in preserving culturally significant landmarks in St. Pete, most notably the Jack Kerouac house. 



*Photo via Gravitas 

Rita Lowman 

Rita Lowman is the executive vice president and COO of C1 Bank, and only the third woman to chair the Florida Banker's Association. Lowman has worked in the industry for over 3 decades. She's held top positions at Bank of America, Regions Bank and American Momentum Bank.

Her confidence, work ethic and magnetic personality have made her a true force in the banking world and bring out the best in those working around her. The respect she's garnered over her tenure in the banking world is a testament to the value of hard work. 




Mary Jane Park

Mary Jane Park has been a writer and editor for the Tampa Bay Times since 1983 and is editor of Bay, the Time's luxury lifestyle magazine. As a reporter for the Time's Park has covered social and charitable events in south Pinellas County. In early 2015, she was appointed the executive director of the Warehouse Arts District. The area is home to MGA Sculpture Studio, Duncan McClellan Gallery, Soft Water Studio, the Morean Center for Clay and the Dazzio Experience.

Her longtime relationship with the arts, culture and residents of the Burg have made her a permanent fixture in the community. Her prominence is underscored by her ability to help the already burgeoning arts district blossom into a true bastion for the arts.

Follow Mary Jane Park on Twitter.



Who inspires you? Let us know in a comment! They may appear in Part II. 

Written by Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan is in his third year as Writer/Editor of New York Times bestselling author Andre Dubus III has said of him, “Andrew Harlan has a sharp and discerning eye for detail that deftly captures character and landscape." He has published fiction and poetry in Sabal and Prime Number Literary Magazine. He graduated with honors from Eckerd College in 2013 with a B.A. in Creative Writing and a minor in Literature. He can be reached by phone: (727) 896-3435 or email: