May was an exciting month for GFA as new Board Members and Officers were elected to lead the organization. The importance of strong leadership in an all-volunteer organization like GFA cannot be overstated, and this year’s elected Voting Board Members truly reflect the commitment to succession planning. With a challenging slate of candidates and one of the largest and most qualified applicant pools in recent history, the Voting Board had the task of selecting the best individuals to fill the available positions.
Six outstanding individuals were chosen to join the Voting Board. GFA warmly welcomes Alexis Mootoo, Bernadette Casey, Clay Hollenkamp, Derek Johnson, Jeff Nader, and Patt Fosnaught to its esteemed Board of Directors. Joy Jansen, Karen Price, and Sandra Sroka were elected to second terms on the Board. Several of the above were also elected to serve as board officers.
Let’s take a closer look at the accomplished individuals who have joined the Board or been elected to officer positions:
Bernadette Casey – New Board Member:
Bernadette brings extensive experience working with nonprofit Boards of Directors and currently serves as the Development Director for the Pace Center for Girls in Hillsborough County. Her expertise in fundraising and development will be invaluable to GFA. During her tenure as the Development Director for the Tampa Museum of Art, Bernadette successfully secured support from major donors, oversaw exhibition openings, and managed a large budget.
Patt Fosnaught – Past and Returning Board Member:
Patt’s dedication to GFA spans over 30 years, making her one of the longest-serving supporters of the organization. As an experienced art educator, she has contributed significantly to the promotion of emerging artists and has played key roles in various GFA initiatives. Her focus on Festival rules and bringing in qualified candidates for Festival judges has been invaluable. Notably, Patt served as the Anniversary Committee Chair for GFA’s 50th Anniversary, overseeing multiple special events and exhibitions.
Clay Hollenkamp – New Board Member and Incoming Board Vice President:
Clay is a passionate advocate for GFA, having served as the Festival Co-Chair for the 53rd annual festival. He has been involved in non-profit arts administration and development for over a decade and recently became a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). Clay’s contributions to the arts extend beyond GFA, as he has been actively involved in the arts community through various roles, including being a board member at the Arts Council of Hillsborough County President of the Board of Directors of Make Plant City and co-founder of Periphery Media, which presents art exhibitions for local emerging artists.
Joy Jansen – Re-elected Board Member and Incoming Treasurer:
Joy’s deep appreciation for art stems from her upbringing and her mother’s influence. With 30 years of finance and management experience, including executive leadership roles, Joy is well-equipped to handle the financial responsibilities of the organization. Her focus on building relationships and creating positive impacts aligns perfectly with GFA’s mission. Currently, she serves as the Vice President of Finance for Amalie Oil Company.
Derek Johnson – New Board Member:
Derek’s passion for art was instilled by his grandmother, who nurtured his creativity and appreciation for artistic expression. In his professional life, he has excelled in business development and finance, generating substantial revenue for the firms he has worked for. Derek’s strong background in business administration and relationship-building will undoubtedly contribute to GFA’s success.
Alexis Mootoo, PhD, MBA – New Board Member:
Alexis is deeply committed to the transformative power of the arts in bridging gaps between diverse communities. Her leadership positions at the University of South Florida and her involvement with the Straz Performing Arts Center demonstrate her dedication to fostering community engagement through the arts. Alexis brings extensive strategic leadership experience and a passion for empowering students and the community.
Jeffrey Nader – New Board Member:
Jeffrey Nader is a passionate designer with a deep-rooted love for the arts. For the past 16 years, his affinity for the arts has been a driving force in his career, stemming from his innate desire to create and craft that began at an early age. He is also a culinary artist. In 2020, he joined GFA as a Festival committee volunteer, and ultimately rose to the position of Festival co-chair for the 53rd Annual Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts. GFA’s mission fits well with Nader’s desire to showcase the transformative power of the arts and foster a sense of community and inspiration.
Karen Price – Re-Elected Board Member and Incoming Board President:
Karen was GFA’s Treasurer in 2022-23 and has been an invaluable member of the Board since 2021. Her dedication to detail and process-oriented approach has enriched her understanding of all facets of GFA during her three-year tenure. With a successful career as a CPA, Karen brings a wealth of experience in business advisory and tax planning solutions to the organization.
Sandra Sroka – Re-Elected Board Member and Incoming Board Secretary:
Sandra’s appreciation and involvement in the arts have been significantly enriched by her experience with GFA. With over 40 years of administrative experience in the health and disability fields, both in the public and private sector, Sandra brings a wealth of expertise to her role on the Board. She has been instrumental in ensuring compliance with disability rights laws and now serves as the Adult Program Coordinator for Arts4ALL Florida, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting arts education for individuals with disabilities.
GFA would also like to express its heartfelt gratitude to the outgoing leadership, who have played pivotal roles in GFA’s achievements.
Diane Buckley-Altwies, outgoing President; Tara Knauss-Wilga, outgoing Vice President; Karen Price, outgoing Treasurer (now President); and Erika George, outgoing Secretary, have provided dynamic and committed leadership to the organization. The Festival Co-Chairs, Clay Hollenkamp (now Festival Vice President), Jeff Nader (now Board Member), and Sabrina Pollard, deserve special recognition for their passion and dedication in making GFA 53 a record-breaking year.
GFA invites everyone to watch the video recap of GFA 53, which can be found here, to relive the excitement and success of the event. With the newly elected Board Members and Officers at the helm, GFA is poised to continue its positive trajectory and further advance its mission of promoting the arts in the community.