New CEO takes leadership role at Juvenile Welfare Board

Tampa Bay Newspapers

Oct 15, 2019

Source: Juvenile Welfare Board

After a unanimous vote of approval by the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County, Beth A. Houghton began her tenure as the organization’s new chief executive officer on Oct. 1.

“We are thrilled to have Beth onboard as our new CEO,” said JWB Board Chair Susan Rolston who also led the board’s executive search committee efforts. “After an exhaustive national search, we were fortunate to attract an experienced Pinellas County executive who checks all the boxes.”

Rolston described Houghton as an “individual passionate about JWB’s mission, who possesses legal and fiscal expertise, a proven track record of organizational excellence and a reputation for getting things accomplished.”

Houghton came to JWB from the St. Petersburg Free Clinic, where she held the top position — first executive director then chief executive officer – for eight years. Under her leadership, the organization expanded its reach to eight food, shelter and health care programs that distribute to more than 55,000 people monthly.

Houghton graduated with highest honors from Stetson University College of Law, earned her Master of Business Administration with highest honors from Tulane University Graduate School of Business, and her Bachelor of the Arts with honors in Economics and Political Science from Newcomb College of Tulane University.

She is licensed to practice law in Florida. She served as chairman of the Board of Directors for Signature Bank in St. Petersburg. Her previous employment includes serving as chief financial officer and general counsel of John’s Hopkins All Children’s Health System.

“The Juvenile Welfare Board has always been known for shaping the future of our county’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens,” Houghton said. “I have always been passionate about improving the lives of our children, both because they are the innocent who cannot control their circumstances and because, as a society, improving children’s lives today and into the future is simply a smart investment.” In her role as CEO, Houghton will oversee an annual program and general government budget of $79.3 million and a workforce of 62, while ensuring policies set forth by the JWB Governing Board are implemented.

Established by a Special Act of the Florida Legislature in 1945, approved overwhelmingly by Pinellas County voters in 1946, and reauthorized in 1990, the Juvenile Welfare Board is an independent special taxing district that is governed by an 11-member Board. It is tasked with responsibly investing property tax dollars to give children the best opportunities to succeed.

Ms. Houghton succeeded Marcie Biddleman, who retired in September after a decade-long tenure with the organization.

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