The Pinellas County Urban League chose Nikki Gaskin-Capehart as its new president and CEO after a national search, officials say.
Set to begin work on Friday, Gaskin-Capehart will be the first woman to lead the 46-year-old entity, succeeding the late Rev. Watson L. Haynes, II, who served for 10 years in the role, Urban League officials say. Gaskin-Capehart emerged from a pool of candidates after a search begun in December, and conducted in cooperation with the National Urban League.
Gaskin-Capehart is a senior executive and change agent with over 25 years of experience, the board says. Gaskin-Capehart is experienced in economic and business growth initiatives and youth and family development programs.
The Urban League says she has expertise in fields that include small business, minority business, women-owned business, and business enterprise development and governmental affairs.
Gaskin-Capehart previously worked as outreach director for U.S. Congressman Jim Davis, D-Tampa; deputy district director for U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Castor, D-Tampa; and urban affairs director for St. Petersburg, as an appointee of former Mayor Rick Kriseman, a position she held for eight years.
In her city role, she addressed the needs of disenfranchised residents and families, cultivated over two dozen partnerships, and developed Urban Affairs' four-fold focus on opportunity creation; nurturing neighborhoods and families; connecting through cultural affairs; and being a catalyst for commerce, the Urban League says.
Gaskin-Capehart helped develop Pinellas County's largest Community Redevelopment Area: the South St. Petersburg CRA, which generates $11 million in tax increment financing per year. She spearheaded the city’s "My Brothers and Sisters Keeper" initiative, an affiliate of the Obama Foundation's My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, the Urban League says. She continues to serve as a partner on the National League of Cities and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's Southern Cities Economic Inclusion Initiative.
The Pinellas County Urban League is one of 90 affiliates in the National Urban League network, eight of them in Florida, serving over 300 communities. The Urban League promotes economic empowerment through education and job training, housing and community development, workforce development, entrepreneurship, health, and quality of life.