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Education

St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor To Join Eckerd College As Chief Operating Officer

A cropped headshot of a woman wearing an orange blazer and pearl earrings.
Eckerd College

Kanika Tomalin will serve as vice president for strategy and chief operating officer following the end of Mayor Rick Kriseman’s administration in January.

St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor and City Administrator Kanika Tomalin will join St. Petersburg’s Eckerd College as the new vice president for strategy and chief operating officer.

According to a news release, Tomalin will take over after her term as deputy mayor to Rick Kriseman for seven years ends in January.

“Dr. Tomalin has a proven track record as a strategic thinker, an efficient implementer, a consensus-builder, a fiscal innovator and an enthusiastic advocate for St. Petersburg,” said Eckerd College President Damián J. Fernández in the release.

At Eckerd, Tomalin will oversee operations and strategic advancement, including infrastructure planning, large capital projects, environmental sustainability and resilience projects.

She’ll also be involved with the development of the St. Petersburg Center for Engaged Citizenship and Social Impact.

“Working to build an inclusive City of Opportunity is a call to service that will long transcend my time as a government official. This transition into higher education leadership at Eckerd, a college that is committed to the equitable provision of a world-class liberal arts education for all scholars who seek it, is a wonderful pathway by which to answer,” Tomalin said

“Education is a transformational tool that serves to open doors, change lives and shift trajectories. It is opportunity defined.”

Tomalin earned a Bachelor of Science degree in broadcast journalism from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, an MBA from the University of Miami, and a Doctorate in law and policy from Northeastern University.

She began her career in St. Petersburg at the St. Petersburg Times before joining Bayfront Medical Center in 2000 as a fundraiser. She later joined the Public Affairs Office at Bayfront and became manager in 2004.

She served as director of corporate communications for four years and then was promoted to executive director, then vice president, of strategic planning and public affairs in 2010 and 2011.

Before her appointment as deputy mayor in 2014, she served as the regional vice president of external affairs for the Bayfront Health Network and director of strategy for Health Management Associates’ 23-hospital Florida Group.

In 2018, her scope expanded to include city administrator, a role in which she oversees all administrative and operations functions for the City of St. Petersburg.

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