HKNA Board of Directors : Candidate Bios

President:  Alexis Baum: On Friday the 13th, March 2020, after a long night of canceling 12 upcoming flights, I booked and boarded the only flight that on short notice could get me somewhere to lay low until I could safely get back on the road (and in the air) again. By nightfall, I had landed at TPA, grabbed an Uber to Indian Rocks Beach, and fallen fast asleep on Mom’s couch. Little did I know that a global nomad like myself would wake up with a totally new life as a first-time homeowner and a board member in the National Neighborhood of the Year! I’m a New Jersey native who’s become a US/Australian dual citizen and a global innovator and educator who’s become a local welcome basket fairy. The warm welcome I’ve received from this beautiful community has been my most unanticipated blessing of this year. I look forward to another year of supporting residents of this community and spreading the spirit of rolling up our sleeves (literally) and making great things happen (despite humidity).

Vice President:  Zach Curry: I had the pleasure to be introduced to Historic Kenwood back in 2012. In July, 2020 many things aligned and I had the opportunity to relocate to St. Petersburg and Historic Kenwood was the only option in my mind. Since then I have been working on my house and getting to know others in the neighborhood. I have been part of historic neighborhoods in the past,  many in New Orleans, and understand how important preservation is. I want the opportunity to give back to a neigbhorhood that has already done so much for me.

Secretary:  Catherine Vogel: I have been happy to serve as Secretary this year! I moved to St. Pete from Key West Florida so I could retire from all the Key West stress of being a lawyer. I brought my husband, Terry Wood, and my dog Chrissy with me. I’m completely retired. Since the pandemic I play bridge online and had a pool put in at my house. This is our forever home and Historic Kenwood is my forever neighborhood so I want to meet friends and do whatever I can to make this the greatest place to live. I hope to meet you and form new and deeper friendships.

Treasurer:  Damien Palladino: A graduate of Paul Smith’s College with a degree in Hotel Restaurant Management, Damien spent the majority of his career managing restaurants in major US cities including Washington D.C., Boston and Chicago. Then forming his own Hospitality Consulting firm where he traveled extensively focusing on operating Boutique Hotel restaurants with a heavy emphasis on hospitality, team building and leadership. Damien and his husband DJ Soucy decided to move from big city living and start their next chapter in Historic Kenwood four years ago. They chose St. Pete for its diversity and inclusion; strong sense of community and of course its beautiful beaches and abundance of sunshine. When not traveling, Damien is a licensed Realtor with his husband’s real estate team The DJ Soucy Group at Compass. Damien is also passionate about rescuing large breed dogs and supports no kill animal shelters. In his free time, he enjoys volunteering, swimming, cooking, entertaining, gardening and sunsets at the beach.

Directors: Membership will vote for four Directors from these five candidates

Frank Clemente: Frank moved into Historic Kenwood back in 2011 when he and his wonderful Husband, Toby Anderson, were fortunate enough to find the home of their dreams on the Upper East Side of 6th Avenue N. Since their arrival he has been heavily involved in the many aspects of neighborhood life, including a couple of stints on the HKNA Board. Frank is best known for designing several over the top neighborhood-wide holiday parties and festivities such as running the annual Halloween and Christmas Holiday decorating contests. Frank truly believes in making Historic Kenwood the very best place in America to live, work, and play. Your vote is immensely appreciated. 

Katie Klopfenstein: Katie is a book lover, avid walker, and pickleball player. She also loves to volunteer with Feeding Tampa Bay and visit area thrift shops to find additional books for her Little Free Library and the LFLs in Seminole Park. She is retired from a career in market research and sales. She and her husband Bryan have two grown sons who live in the Midwest. Katie’s favorite things about living in Kenwood are the classic character of the homes and being within walking distance of all the great restaurants on Central Avenue. She has lived in Kenwood for 3 years – the first two years as a part-time resident, and full time as of January 2021.

Caryn Nesmith: Caryn is director of community relations at the University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg campus. In this role, she serves as a central access point for campus and the community to enhance USF’s ability to serve the St. Petersburg community and promote productive relationships amonth the campus, City, businesses and community members. In the community, she has served on the board of the Warehouse Arts District Association and the St. Petersburg Shakespeare Festival. She was also a member of the 2021 cohort of Leadership St. Pete. See more here: https://www.stpetersburg.usf.edu/about/community-relations/director-bio.aspx

Lewis Ribner: My wife, Michelle and I moved to beautiful St. Pete in March 2019 from San Diego, CA to be with our daughter, son-in-law and their now 2 ½ year old and 6 month old little girls. I am a “mostly retired” Clinical Psychologist, licensed in Florida, and doing occasional consults. I am a giver and caretaker by nature, qualities that led to my desire to volunteer on the HKNA Board. I also have the honor of being on the Board of Directors of Charlie’s Champs, FL, a non-profit started by my daughter and son-in-law. I am interested in technology, photography, music, dance and theater. I enjoy hiking, biking, tennis, pickleball and most of all, being “Pop Pop” to my granddaughters. I am completing my first year on the HKNA Board and feel like I just got warmed up to do more to move our neighborhood forward. One of my primary responsibilities on the Board is to manage the HKNA website. I am also involved with BungalowFest and Dining for Arts, and use my photography skills to photograph many HKNA events. I love living in Historic Kenwood and look forward to continuing my involvement with HKNA.

Sara Toftegaard: I am a designer, a gardener, an entrepreneur, and a collaborator. I am constantly observing and imagining how something can be designed, keeping function and form in mind. Every day I take time to be with nature and add love to our garden, and this year I am sharing that love with the Palmetto Community Garden, and I continue to share it while collaborating on projects to educate and improve our already wonderful neighborhood. I have drive, passion, and integrity when I commit. I had the pleasure of being on the board for a few months (to replace another member) and have already stepped in to deliver welcome baskets for new neighbors, and suggested the use of native Florida plants for new and neighboring apartment complexes (which was approved!).

Past President: Past President is automatically appointed to a Director position for one year.

Darrel Gordon: I have served on the HKNA Board for three years and have been honored to serve as President through 2021. My wife Brenda and I moved to Historic Kenwood in 2013 and have been actively involved in the HKNA in many capacities throughout this time. I am retired from the Federal Government where I held the position of Chief United States Probation Officer in Kentucky.  I look forward to working with the 2022 HKNA Board as Past President.

The election will be held at the annual HKNA meeting on Wednesday December 1st  at Metro Wellness. Absentee ballots will be made available prior to the meeting for those members in good standing (dues paid) who are unable to attend the meeting.

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