Karen Williams Seel was appointed to the Pinellas County Commission by Governor Jeb Bush in January 1999. She has since been reelected in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016. Prior to this, she served as a Clearwater City Commissioner (1996 to 1999). Her father, the late Don Williams, also served as a Clearwater City Commissioner (1967 to 1975), and Commissioner Seel is proud to follow in a family tradition of public service.
In her official capacity as Pinellas County Commissioner, she serves on the Juvenile Welfare Board, Health and Human Services Leadership Board, Business Technology Services Board, Homeless Leadership Board, Early Learning Coalition, and American Manufacturing Skills Initiative (AMSKILLS). She is an ex-officio member of Creative Pinellas, Pinellas County’s local designated art agency. She has chaired the Tourist Development Council, Forward Pinellas, U.S. 19 Task Force, Pinellas Assembly, Pinellas by Design, and U.S. 19 Pedestrian Safety Task Force, all of which have been successful endeavors. Commissioner Seel served on the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for 17 years where she was instrumental in the merger of the MPO and the Pinellas Planning Council (PPC) to the current board of Forward Pinellas. She has also been instrumental in engaging conversations among Pinellas County’s 24 cities and county government, encouraging them to plan their futures together.
Within the community, Commissioner Seel previously served on the UPARC Foundation Board of Directors (ARC of Tampa Bay), YWCA Board of Trustees, Religious Community Services, United Way Board of Directors, Friends of Weedon Island and Brooker Creek Preserves, Greater Largo Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc. She continues to serve on the Junior Achievement Board of Directors and Pinellas Education Foundation where she serves as Co-Chair of Take Stock in Children. Commissioner Seel is also a former member of the Omelette Party Committee, a major fundraiser for the ARC of Tampa Bay. As a founder of Plus One, a women’s giving fund, over $150,000 in grants were designated for nonprofits between 2011 and 2015. She is also a founding member of The Women’s Exchange, a group of well-established women mentoring women to be leaders in business.
Commissioner Seel is a past president of the Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin and was instrumental in community projects such as the Sunshine Playground at the Long Center in Clearwater, David Mason’s Children’s Art Museum at the Dunedin Fine Arts Center, Gateway Children’s Shelter at Community Pride Day Care, education grants for the public schools, Tampa Bay Harvest, and a foster care recruitment and parental program.