Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Tomalin serves the city of St. Petersburg, working in partnership with Mayor Rick Kriseman to strategically advance the city toward its vision of standing as a city of opportunity that honors its past while pursuing the future.
As the fifth generation of her family to call St. Petersburg home, advancing the city is a mission close to her heart. Her extended family includes more than 200 relatives in St. Petersburg. “I love living in the Sunshine City with [husband] Terry and my children Kai and Nia.”
Professionally, Tomalin has served in a variety of leadership roles with healthcare organizations, most recently for Health Management Associates as the regional vice president of public affairs for the Bayfront Health Network. She also has held various marketing and communications positions with the Tampa Bay Times and Bayfront Health System. She also has worked as a journalist for the Tampa Bay Times, the Palm Beach Post, WTXL-TV in Tallahassee, WAVE-TV in Louisville, Kentucky, and WRXB radio in St. Petersburg.
What do you think is the secret to your family’s success?
It’s no secret. Mutual respect and celebration of each other and the purpose we bring to the world and each others’ lives keeps my family, connected, focused and moving forward in ways that serve not only our individual interests, but also amplify our shared goals.
What is your biggest fear?
Honestly, I don’t subscribe to too many fears. This is mainly because I believe that faith and fear cannot coexist. I also believe that there is purpose in everything that transpires, and, armed with this certainty, I meet the world with expectation of opportunity and possibility as opposed to fear and trepidation about those things I cannot control. That said, I do have concerns, but I am comforted by our ability to do something about most of them. My chief concern is that I leave a world for future generations that is better than the one we inherited.
We’re blessed to live in a country and community of abundance and opportunity, but those blessings come at a cost of service and commitment from each of us. The work we do today determines reality for souls yet born. I am honored to play such a significant role in this chapter of St. Petersburg’s history.
The example I am working to set for my children is one of servant leadership. I am proud of the things we, as a community, can accomplish together while always recognizing that there is more to be done.
What advice would you give to other women?
Find your voice and follow your bliss. This advice is not gender specific but a necessary endeavor we all must master to live our best lives. We will only truly experience our best lives if we are living fully with honor and recognition in the purpose for which we first drew breath.
What is your proudest moment?
One of my proudest moments was at the mayor’s swearing-in last January. The mayor and I, standing on the steps of City Hall, drafting the first lines of the city’s next chapter, was a very special moment. I knew it was a first step in a long journey to support the mayor’s honorable effort to move this city I love forward, building a city of opportunity where the sun shines on all who come to live, work and play.
What is your biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement, without a doubt, is raising two healthy, happy, compassionate children who are values-driven and clear on their obligation to make the world a better place.
What makes you happy?
I am most often happy because this is a wonderful life filled with amazing possibilities.
As happiness relates to work, I love collaborating with committed community partners to achieve successful outcomes, even when processes take a little longer than is ideal. We work hard every day to identify the right answer that will serve the most people for the longest time. That is not always the expedient or easy answer, but it is always what we believe to be right. We work at identifying great partners to help us get there – government rarely succeeds alone.
And when we nail it, people’s lives are made better. There’s no greater reward.
How do you relax and take time for yourself?
This is always a challenge. With so many demands for my time and attention, it’s sometimes hard to make space and time to care for myself. Fortunately, I have a strong support system at home and work. My relaxation never involves anything extravagant. It usually involves a great book, lovely music and an indulgent glass of boss wine.
What kind of message would you like to give women in the area or in this community?
St. Petersburg is truly a city of opportunity for all. The diverse faces – many of them women – that you see in City Hall are a mere reflection of St. Petersburg itself.
From pioneers who paved the way for our world-class arts community to local entrepreneurs, sports and entertainment leaders and public servants, women are leading the way for advancement in our city. It is important to note that the women who are making a difference every day in our community are not just the select few leaders we read about in magazines like this. They are our mothers, sisters, wives and daughters who transform the world, one impactful act at a time. These women are the integral thread that holds together the fabric of our society.
What else would you like to share with our readers? About being a mom, about your work?
My life is fortunate and blessed. I have a wonderful husband, amazing children and I am surrounded by family and friends who delight in helping each other create our best lives. This chapter of service to the city is a privileged opportunity for me to demonstrate my appreciation and gratitude to all things and people that make this such an awesome community.
How do you enjoy or draw information from the magazine?
I enjoy both the print and online editions of the magazine. It’s always great to read and get insights on local parents doing great things and extraordinary children who are already making a difference.
What is your favorite thing to do with your kids in the Tampa Bay area?
To spend time in the Sunshine City, one of the best cities in America! We say it a lot, but it is more than just rhetoric. St. Petersburg is a city on the rise. There are too many things to do to list them all. Visit www.StPete.org to find upcoming events.
My husband Terry is the outdoors and fitness editor at the Tampa Bay Times. With more than a quarter century of adventure under his belt, he keeps our family’s spirits in high gear and our bodies in motion. You may find The Tomalins enjoying the natural splendor of our 150 parks, at one of the 17 city recreation facilities or simply out and about in the city.