Personnel note: Tampa Bay Partnership taps Bemetra Simmons as new CEO

Simmons will succeed Rick Homans.

The Tampa Bay Partnership has hired Bemetra Simmons as the organization’s new CEO. 

Simmons will join the Tampa Bay Partnership after working as chief strategy and operations officer for United Way Suncoast. She will start her new position with the Partnership next month, replacing Rick Homans, who announced in March he would step down after leading the organization for six years.

“I’m excited to see Bemetra take her career to greater heights, particularly with a longtime partner of United Way Suncoast,” Jessica Muroff, CEO of UWS and a member of the partnership’s leadership council, said in a statement. “Bemetra proved to be a dynamic leader for us, solving a range of issues and adding greater efficiency to our operation. I know I speak for everyone here when I say she will be missed. We wish her nothing but the best.”

In her role at the regional nonprofit, Simmons oversaw finance, community investment, information technology and data reporting. She also was responsible for core operation functions such as facilities management, insurance, contract management and administrative duties.

Notably, Simmons facilitated the organization’s COVID-19 emergency response, which resulted in the disbursement of $1.6 million in emergency relief to nonprofits. She also implemented a paperless accounts payable process, created a collaborative and online time phases budgeting process and participated in the planning of the organization’s new strategic vision. Under her leadership, UWS reached its annual goal for fiscal year 2021 and recently issued $6 million in grant funding to more than 70 nonprofits for fiscal year 2022.

“It is with mixed emotions that I announce my resignation,” Simmons said in a statement. “As you know, The Tampa Bay Partnership and United Way Suncoast have a long history of working together most notably with the Regional Competitiveness Report. The opportunity to serve with an incredibly committed group of passionate team members during such a dynamic time has been a highlight of my career.”

Simmons joined United Way in February of 2020 after distinguishing herself as a Tampa Bay banking executive and civic leader.

She previously worked as the Florida Managing Director at Mutual of Omaha Bank. She continues to serve on the board of commissioners for the Tampa Housing Authority, the executive committee on the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce and the Community Tampa Bay board.

She’s also a 2013 Leadership Tampa graduate, and a member of Leadership Florida Cornerstone Class XXXVIII. The Tampa Bay Business Journal named her an “Up and Comer” in 2013 and a finalist for its businesswoman of the year award in 2017. 

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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