Remarkable People 2022: Nicole Berman, St Pete Pride Executive Director

Nicole Berman is a remarkable pain in the ass, especially when she has her mind set on something. Nicole on a mission means the demands flow in abundantly and at all hours of the day by text, email and calls. In fact, as I was writing this, my phone just pinged with another “request.”

All of this is what makes Nicole exactly what St Pete Pride needs as we celebrate our 20-year history and move our organization into its next era.

When St Pete Pride started its search for a new executive director, we knew we needed an out-of-the-box thinker with grit and a tireless work ethic. More so, we needed someone committed to making St Pete Pride more diverse, inclusive and equitable than ever before. Over 300 applicants from around the world threw their hats in the ring. We interviewed almost 80 candidates – many of them multiple times. It became increasingly clear with each round of interviews that

Nicole was just who the hiring committee had been looking for.

Since arriving in St. Pete, Nicole has integrated herself into the community with intention and purpose. She is singularly driven by an unwavering commitment to equality and justice, and she is not afraid to ruffle feathers. Always professional but never apologetic in her fight for LGBTQ+ rights, Nicole is the kind of advocate any community would be fortunate to have.

As board president, I spend a lot of time working alongside Nicole. We talk almost daily and have become close friends through our time in the Pride trenches together. Nicole challenges me in the most infuriating ways. But admittedly, she’s often right, and her opinions are never rooted in ego but always in her belief about what’s right for the organization. I’m continually impressed by Nicole’s willingness to throw herself on her sword and stand up for what she believes is right.

At St Pete Pride, we have a clear mandate: we will not compromise on the integrity of our mission for anything or anyone. So, if a prospective sponsor doesn’t share our organization’s values, we will not take their money. I have watched Nicole fulfill that promise repeatedly – and even so, for the first time in our history, our organization brought in over a million dollars this past June.

None of these words come close to capturing the spirit of our tattoo-sleeved, Birkenstock-wearing, puppy-loving, tequila-drinking ED. She’s exceptional for so many reasons – a significant one being that she convinced Cait Dooley, one of the kindest, coolest humans ever, to marry her earlier this year.

If you haven’t had the chance to meet Nicole yet, treat yourself. There’s no one quite like her, and I’m so honored to call her a friend. Even if she is a remarkable pain in the ass.

To view the full list of Watermark’s Remarkable People of 2022, click here.

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