P.O. Box 13489
St. Petersburg FL 33733
DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE COLLEGE, ST. PETERSBURG COLLEGE
ALMA MATER: Florida A&M University
AT THE OFFICE: Berry oversees St. Petersburg College’s contract training programs with companies and municipalities, as well as programs like Kids’ College, recreation and leisure, and Silver Scholars, meant for older adults looking to get back to learning. “My recent endeavor was a $3 million contract with the city of St. Petersburg. We were able to provide workforce development training to those who are underserved and unemployed, from ex-felons to single parents to those who are ages 16 to 24,” Berry says. “I’m helping people get where they need to go in life, whether it’s the employer or the individual — giving them the keys to success.”
GIVING BACK: Berry is the president of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women’s Tampa Bay chapter and was appointed by Hillsborough County commissioner Kimberly Overman to the county charter review board. Most recently, Berry joined the board of directors of the Tampa Bay Healthcare Collaborative, which helps people who are uninsured or underinsured navigate the healthcare system. “It’s really near and dear to my heart because of my own health issues. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, and I could not walk,” she says. “I walked through my healing. I’ve been battling this for the last three years. I have a team of doctors who help me, and every time I get down, I come back even stronger.
“When I was approached to join the Healthcare Collaborative board, I said, I need to be that voice and that advocate for other people [dealing with their own health issues].”
“I heard Issa Rae say this the other day: ‘You can’t be what you can’t see…’ Mentorship, for that reason, is really big for me. Even women who are older than me, they’re like, ‘You’ve done more at your young age than I have at my old age.’ I’m thinking, you’re never too old to learn! Whatever I can do to help you get to where you need to go, I’m cool with it. I’m not the type of woman who needs to knock down your crown. I’m going to fix your crown and help you get where you need to go, no strings attached. My grandmother was a giver, my mom was a giver, and I’m a giver. My mom is my rock. When I was sick and incapcitated, she was there for me, and she’s still there for me. She is my hero. She and my dad have made me into the woman I am today.”
WHEN I’M NOT IN THE OFFICE, YOU CAN FIND ME… At somebody’s meeting. I’m never not in a meeting or at a community event.
WHEN I WAS A CHILD I WANTED TO BE… I wanted to be [former news anchor] Denise White from Fox 13. I wanted to be on TV! That was my ultimate goal, which is why I went to Florida A&M for their journalism program. But when I found out about public relations, I was in love. Like I said, you can only be what you can see. I saw her on TV. Every morning I would watch Fox 13 just for her.
DO YOU HAVE A MOTTO OR PHILOSOPHY YOU LIVE BY? Without a challenge, there is no growth. And I’ve had a lot of growth spurts over the last couple of years.
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED? My mom always tells me this. You have to take time for you because you’re irreplaceable. You’ve got to have time for yourself and your family first. She always reminds me of that.
MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT TAMPA IS… The food. There are so many wonderful restaurants here in Tampa. It’s the best-kept secret. I love La Teresita. Marvin’s Oriental Fish Co. on 15th and Lake has the best fried fish you’d ever want to have. For soul food, I love the Open Café and Mama’s Soul Food. Then Bella’s Italian Café has the best Italian food.
MY SECRET TALENT IS… Graphic design. I make fliers for all my organizations. It gives me creative freedom, lets me blow off steam and just put things together.
THE BEST THING I WATCHED THIS YEAR WAS… Trial 4 on Netflix, a documentary series on the young man in Boston who they thought shot a cop. I sat there and watched the whole thing. I really thought it was interesting because it brought everything up to the present day. With everything that has gone on in the world this year, it’s another story that has not been told. I watched that from start to finish.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM VACATION? I have an Eat, Pray, Love list, like the book and movie. I want to eat, find love and pray [laughs]. Going to Rome, going to India and going to Paris.
P.O. Box 13489 , St. Petersburg, FL 33733