South Florida Museum Board OF Trustees elects New Officers and New Board Members; Jeanie Kirkpatrick named first female Board President in Museum’s history

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South Florida Museum Board OF Trustees elects New Officers and New Board Members

Jeanie Kirkpatrick named first female Board President in Museum’s history


The Board of Trustees of the South Florida Museum held its annual board member officer elections recently and selected Jeanie Kirkpatrick to lead the all-volunteer board. Kirkpatrick, a Bradenton resident, becomes the first woman to hold the position of President in the Museum’s nearly 70-year history.

Also elected to one-year officer terms were: Christopher Peacock, Vice President; Chris Romine, Vice President; Jackie Barron, Secretary; Chris Pennewill, Treasurer. The Board also welcomed new members Alisa Westberry, Brian Carter and Charles F. Elzer III, who will serve three year terms.

We’re so pleased to have Jeanie as our new Board President and we’re very excited to welcome Alisa, Brian and Chuck as new members of our Board,” said Brynne Anne Besio, South Florida Museum CEO. “I’d also like to thank our Past President Tom Breiter for his hard work during his tenure as President.”

Kirkpatrick first became involved with the Museum as a volunteer in 2009 when she was asked to chair Snooty’s Gala, the nonprofit organization’s annual black-tie celebration and its largest fundraiser of the year. She also helped to develop and chair the Museum’s very popular Couture in the Courtyard event for five years. She has served as a member of the Board of Trustees since 2012.

In her new position, Kirkpatrick will play a crucial role in the Museum’s current Connect Campaign to fund an innovative expansion of the Museum’s facilities and programs. The Campaign will support the first elements of a new Master Campus and Programming Plan designed to enhance the organization’s service to the community. Her passion for the educational and entertainment value of the Museum is clear in Kirkpatrick’s contagious enthusiasm and she believes in creating genuine connections with people — which is at the core of the Museum’s role in the community.

When I first visited the Museum, I learned so much about Florida and the history of the community and the more time I spent here, the more it drew me in,” said the Nebraska native who moved to the region from Boston in 2005. “Now, I’m so impressed by and proud of the staff and the volunteers of the organization and what they’re doing that I want to tell everyone about it.”

Kirkpatrick believes she is presiding over the Board at one of the most exciting times in the Museum’s history. “With the Riverwalk transformation in 2012 and our planned expansion that will connect us more with the neighborhood and our visitors, downtown Bradenton is poised to really come into its own. I think the Museum’s transformation will really help Bradenton thrive. We will no longer be the best-kept secret in town and I’m excited to help spread the word about the Museum to a bigger audience.”

Jeanie Kirkpatrick has an extensive background in volunteering and fundraising for education organizations and schools in Boston and served as Director of Development at Chestnut Hill School. Locally, she has served on the corporate board of the Boys & Girls Club of Manatee County and continues to serve as a member of that organization’s Foundation Board. She was chair of the 2015 fashion show and luncheon to benefit Turning Points. She also served as President of the Foundation Board of Alpha Omicron Pi National Sorority.

Alisa Westberry is Vice President of Premier Banking at BMO Harris Bank N.A. She has more than 15 years of banking, business development and administrative experience. She’s been with BMO Harris since 1999, where she has been focused on serving the financial needs of high net worth individuals and corporate clients. In addition to serving on the South Florida Museum Board, she has been a volunteer and board member with Junior Achievement of Manatee County, served on the Community Investment Committee of United Way of Manatee County and volunteered with Forty Carrots Family Center.

Brian Carter, of Bradenton, is a CPA and partner with Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC., where he has a special focus on the affordable housing and nonprofit industries, providing accounting, auditing and tax services to owners, managers and developers throughout the southeast, and also provides auditing and governance consultations and other services for nonprofit organizations. In addition to serving on the South Florida Museum Board, Carter is Vice Chair of the PACE Center for Girls – Manatee and former treasurer and board member of the Houston Middle Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Charles F. Elzer III was elected to fill a vacant seat on the Board in 2014. Mr. Elzer is a Senior Vice President at Merrill Lynch, where he has been a financial advisor since 1992. He is an accredited Wealth Management Advisor who has an office and makes his home in Bradenton. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Just for Girls Foundation as well as the Board of Directors for the Tampa Bay Chapter of Safari Club International. He is the past president of the Manatee County Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association, Just for Girls Manatee County Girls Club, Inc. and Tampa Bay Chapter of Safari Club International.

Ms. Westberry, Mr. Carter and Mr. Elzer join the current roster of Trustees including: William Blalock, Gary Bogart, Tom Breiter, Hon. Larry Bustle, COL James A. Fraley, Jr., Debbie Gigliotti, Bruce Langsen, Ricki Lindsay, Lynn Lineman, Dr. Michael Mackie, Johncyna McRae, Steve Perry and Carol Rice, in addition to the Board Officers.

The Museum wishes to thank the Board of Trustees for volunteering their time and dedicating themselves to safeguarding our Mission: To engage and inspire learners of all ages; we protect, interpret and communicate scientific and cultural knowledge of Florida, the world, and our universe. Outgoing Trustees in this election cycle included Rose Carlson, James D. Dye, Jeffrey L. King and Eloise Lisch. We thank them all for their years of service.

About the South Florida Museum
The largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the South Florida Museum offers engaging exhibits as well as educational programs which interpret the scientific and cultural knowledge of Florida, the world and our universe. In addition to the permanent exhibits, the Museum features a constantly changing lineup of temporary exhibitions – offering something new to discover with each visit. The facility also includes both the all-digital Bishop Planetarium Theater and the Parker Manatee Aquarium. Outfitted with a state-of-the-art Planetarium and projection system, the Bishop Planetarium is the region’s premier astronomy education facility with stunning new multimedia capabilities. The Parker Manatee Aquarium is home to Snooty™, Manatee County’s official mascot and the oldest known manatee in the world. Snooty shares his Aquarium pool with young manatees from the Manatee Rehabilitation and Release Partnership. These injured or orphaned animals are taken care of by the Parker Aquarium staff until they are ready to be released into the wild. For more information about current exhibitions and special programs, membership, hours, or admission prices please call 941-746-4131 or visit


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