Nikki Gaskin-Capehart named one of Florida’s most influential Black Women

Nikki Gaskin-Capehart, director of Urban Affairs for the City of St. Petersburg, was honored as one of ONYX Magazine’s 2021 Women on the Move

Deirdre O’Leary, Staff writer

ST. PETERSBURG — ONYX Magazine kicked off Women’s History Month by recognizing 18 of the most powerful Black women in Florida. The honorees have made significant strides as professionals, impacted positive change as community leaders and served as mentors to others who aspired to follow in their path. This annual event shows merely a snapshot of the true power Black women have.

St. Pete’s own Nikki Gaskin-Capehart, director of Urban Affairs for the City of St. Petersburg, was honored as one of ONYX Magazine’s 2021 Women on the Move.  The March 5 event was a virtual celebration of Florida’s most influential and impactful Black women.

Gaskin-Capehart is a daughter of the Sunshine City, where she lives with her family. Mayor Rick Kriseman appointed her to serve as the director of Urban Affairs for the City of St. Petersburg. She is a change agent leading the city’s plans on behalf of the mayor in the urban core.

Her focus on the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area helps leverage existing community resources and direct new investments in people, programs and purpose in a way that will be impactful and sustainable.

The Urban Affair’s strategic plan focuses on four areas of investment: opportunity creation, nurturing neighborhoods and families, connecting through cultural affairs and being a catalyst for commerce. This strategy is deeply rooted in the city’s vision to be a “city of opportunity,” where the sun shines on all who come to live, work and play.

One of the areas that she is most passionate about is the City of St. Petersburg’s My Brother’s and Sister’s Keeper Initiative to better support African-American young men and women through the Cohort of Champions program, as part of which Gaskin-Capehart pioneered an annual girl’s enrichment and women’s conference.

Gaskin-Capehart holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication from the University of South Florida and is currently pursuing a Master of Liberal Arts degree from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

She is a graduate of Leadership St. Petersburg, National Urban Fellows America’s Leaders of Change, Tampa Bay Public Leadership Institute, Whitney M. Young Jr. Emerging Leaders and the Tampa Bay Chapter of the New Leaders Coalition.

Her community service with several business associations and community groups includes serving on the St. Petersburg College Women on the Way and Junior League Community Advisory Board, the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions Board and as president of the Tampa Bay Chapter of the National Forum of Black Public Administrators.

She enjoys working on a professional and personal level to positively impact the lives of families in areas of our community with the highest level of need and the most promise for transformation.

Gaskin-Capehart accepted the award, saying, “Thank you ONYX Magazine and your outstanding leadership team for selecting me to receive this honor. I humbly accept this award for the sheroes and my many sister circles who I am blessed to know and reap the benefits of their hard work, determination and love.”

2021 Women on the Move honorees:

Verdenia C. Baker, Palm Beach County Administrator

Fentrice Driskell, Fla. State Representative, District 63

Dr. Martha Ducatel DMD, Dentist

Nikki Gaskin-Capehart, Director of Urban Affairs, City of St. Petersburg

Deputy Leila Freeze Gilliam, Orange County Sheriff’s Department

Lena Graham-Morris, Vice President Morris Construction

Dr. Diana Greene, Superintendent Duvall County Public Schools

Malika Harrison, Director of Social Responsibility, Orlando Magic

Bertha Watson Henry, Broward County Administrator

Lashawnda K. Jackson, Attorney

Deidre A. Keller, Dean of Florida A&M University College of Law

Kena Lewis, Corporate Director of Public Affairs & Media Relations, Orlando Health

Machelle Maner, Vice President Community Development, Wells Fargo Bank

Shaylia McRae, Chief of Transformation Network, Hillsborough Public Schools

Erika Pulley-Hayes, President and CEO, WMFE Orlando

Michele L Stocker, Co-Chair Financial Services Litigation, Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Nicole Thomas, First Woman & First African American President, Baptist Health

Carolyn Fennell, Senior Director, media & public affairs, Orlando Int’l Airport & Orlando Executive Airport (2021 ONYX Magazine Woman of the Year)

About ONYX Magazine

Headquartered in Orlando, ONYX Magazine boasts a bi-monthly audience of 80,000.  It is the premier publication that acknowledges the accomplishments and contributions of African Americans and those of the African diaspora.

Founded in 1997 by Lester and Lillian Sears as a publication for the black community, their vision gave life to the ONYX Awards, which recognizes African-Americans throughout Florida for the outstanding contributions they make in and around the state.

ONYX Magazine‘s current publisher Rich Black understands the importance of celebrating women and their accomplishments. He designed this ceremony to be the signature event in Florida that acknowledges just how far Black women have come.

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