Members of the Board of Directors and Board committees are approved and appointed by the current Board of Directors.

Ruth Eckerd Hall, Inc. Board Leadership

Chair - Debbie White, Community Leader

Debbie White was raised in the New York college town of Geneseo.   Her mother, a college professor, passed on her love of theater, regularly taking Debbie to the University’s drama department productions.  Their annual trip to New York City to squeeze in 4 or 5 Broadway shows is a treasured memory. 

 

Debbie graduated from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania and moved to Boston to work for Dun & Bradstreet.  She relocated to Florida in 1982 and became a Safety Harbor resident in 1984. After a two-decade sales career, Debbie sold her business and became vice president of Governmental Affairs and Economic Development for the Clearwater Chamber of Commerce before retiring.   A committed volunteer, her service includes Leadership Pinellas, Morton Plant Mease Foundation, Safety Harbor Chamber of Commerce, the YWCA of Tampa Bay, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Dunedin Fine Arts Center and the Safety Harbor Library Foundation.  In 2018, Debbie was named Ms. Clearwater.   She manages to squeeze in a lot of golf and enjoys traveling around the world.

Vice Chair - Beth England, Community Leader

Beth England was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and has a Bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s University.  She worked in the Human Resources field for 30 plus years, for several companies including The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, QVC, Avon Products, and IBM.

 

Beth and her husband John moved from Atlanta, Georgia to Tierra Verde in 2010.  She retired in 2012 to spend the majority of her time volunteering and fundraising.

 

In addition to being on the Board of Ruth Eckerd Hall, she is also on the Board of Academy Prep Center of St. Petersburg, a nationally accredited nonprofit middle school, and SOAR - Sing Out And Read - with a mission to improve struggling young readers through the power of singing. Some of her other favorite charities include Daystar Life Center and Tampa Bay Watch.  

 

When not volunteering, she likes to travel with her husband, play golf, and spend time with their 6 grandsons.

 

Treasurer - Adam Abelson, Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

 

Adam Abelson, CFP® was born and raised in Pinellas County and is an alumnus of the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts at Ruth Eckerd Hall.  A Duke University graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, he and his all-male acapella group, The Duke Pitchforks, performed at Ruth Eckerd Hall in 2015.

Adam is a Financial Advisor with The Abelson Group at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, specializing in investment portfolio management and financial planning. He is named by Forbes as a Best-In-State Next-Gen Advisor, and is ranked in the Morgan Stanley Pacesetter’s Club, a global recognition program for Financial Advisors.  He actively volunteers at his alma mater, Berkeley Preparatory School, serves on the Tampa Connections Board of Junior Achievement, and is a member of the Pinellas County Estate Planning Council.  

Adam is passionate about improving arts and financial education in Tampa Bay.

Secretary - Joyce Cotton, Dir of Marketing & Comm Partnerships, WEDU PBS Television

Joyce Cotton, Director of Marketing and Community Partnerships for WEDU/PBS, has worked in the broadcast television industry for more than 45 years, starting with WEWS, Cleveland and later, WFTS ABC, Tampa.    

Joyce has volunteered time and resources to numerous non-profits including the American Red Cross, Champions for Children, Community Tampa Bay, The Glazer Children’s Museum, Meals on Wheels, and PACE Center for Girls (Pinellas and Hillsborough). 

Currently, Secretary of the Ruth Eckerd Hall Board, she also serves on the Boards of Creative Pinellas, The Florida Orchestra, Empath Health - Hillsborough, University of Tampa/Sykes College of Business Advisory Council, Tampa Museum of Art, Friends of the Tampa Union Station, and is a member of the City of Tampa Mayor’s Autism Friendly Advisory Committee.

Joyce received recognition as ONYX Magazine “Women on the Move” Class of 2022 and   Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Business Women of the Year - MEDIA in 2004 and 2009.

Support and advocacy for Cultural Arts is Joyce’s passion, with an aim to create awareness and ensure accessibility to all in our growing community.

Immed. Past Chair- Ray Bouchard, Community Leader

As a lifetime resident of Pinellas County, Ray Bouchard is a community leader passionate about improving one’s community through volunteer service.    

He has served on the Board for the Florida Association of Independent Agents, Clearwater Chamber of Commerce, Clothes to Kids Inc., Dunedin National Little League, Copperhead Charities, The National Alliance for Insurance Education, and the Morton Plant Mease Healthcare Foundation.   He was appointed Insurance Division President of the Florida Bankers Association and Chairman of the Board for the Associated Builders and Contractors, the Arc Tampa Bay Foundation and Ruth Eckerd Hall.

During his 33 years as an owner and officer of Bouchard Insurance, Inc., Ray was instrumental in growing the retail insurance brokerage company to one of the largest in the country.  A graduate of Florida State University and now retired, Ray and his wife Niki reside in Dunedin where they raised three daughters Allison, Alexa, and Abbey.

Ruth Eckerd Hall, Inc. Board Members

Zebbie Atkinson, Owner, Boundless Consulting and Contracting

Zebbie D. Atkinson, IV is a graduate of the University of Maryland with Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification from Villanova University.   He began his career at Black Entertainment Television (BET) as Manager of Networking and Telecommunications, advancing to the Engineer in Charge for such productions as The Walk of Fame, Bobby Jones Gospel, BET Awards and President Obama’s Town Hall. Zeb relocated to Florida to work for ION Media as the Director of Post Production Operations before forming his own company, Boundless Consulting and Contracting LLC. 

 

Zeb is active in the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Omicron Beta Lambda Chapter as Treasurer, and serves on the Board of Directors for a number of community organizations including Youth Development Initiatives (YDI), Pinellas Technical College as Technical Advisory Chairman and the Clearwater Upper Pinellas Branch of the NAACP, where he recently served as president.   

 

To relax, Zeb enjoys golf, tennis, shooting and spending time with friends and family. 

Mike Barnett, Commander’s Properties, LLC, Owner

Mike Barnett is a retired Navy Commander having served in the Armed Forces for 30 years.  He served aboard numerous ships and specialized in Navy Acquisition and Logistics.  He is a past Director of Business and Finance and Congressional Affairs for the $250B F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program based in Washington DC.  As a private business owner, Mike has experience in real estate, defense contracting and the restaurant industry, previously owning multiple Five Guys locations in the Seattle market. 

 

Having resided in a number of states, he continues to volunteer in his local community, lending his management and financial experience.  He holds an MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School and a Masters in National Resources Strategy from the National War College. 

 

A life-long music lover, Mike has been an active supporter of the arts, including Bremerton Community Concerts, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts and Ruth Eckerd Hall.  

Timothy Coop, President, Hancock Whitney, Tampa Bay Regional

As Regional President of Tampa Bay for Hancock Whitney Bank, Tim Coop is responsible for all business lines across six counties.  A University of Florida graduate, Tim began as a Credit Analyst for NCNB and advanced to a Commercial Relationship Manager.  Hired by First Union/Wachovia, he was responsible for the Tampa Bay region for 14 years.  In 2007, Fifth Third Bank engaged him as a Commercial Banking Executive before joining Hancock Bank in 2011 as Area President for Pinellas and Pasco.  He has been their Tampa Bay Regional President since 2015.

In addition to Ruth Eckerd Hall, Tim is a Trustee and Treasurer for the Museum of Fine Arts of St Petersburg and sits on the Board of Governors of the St Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Golden Triangle Association.

He and his wife Deann reside in St. Petersburg and have three sons who have left the nest. 

Earle Cooper, Community Leader

Earle Cooper is a practitioner of Alternative Dispute Resolution for construction claims. He has an extensive knowledge of design and construction, retiring after 45 years from Hawkins Construction, Inc. as a partner. He is currently active in the Florida Department of Transportation’s Dispute Resolution Board for major construction projects throughout the state, a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Mediator, and a panelist for the American Arbitration Association.  

 

Earle has served as President of Belleair Country Club, Chairman of the Morton Plant Mease Hospital Foundation, Board member of Morton Plant Hospital, Board Treasurer for the Dispute Resolution Board Foundation, and Board Member of Carlouel Yacht Club.  He was appointed Chairman of the City of Clearwater Building/Flood Board of Adjustments and Appeals.  

 

Earle graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering and holds a Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution from the University of Central Florida. He has been an active member of Ruth Eckerd Hall for over 30 years and serves on the Board of Directors’ Facilities Committee.

Ken Hamilton, Owner, Palm Pavilion

Ken has been active in the community throughout his life, having taken leadership roles with the chamber of commerce, healthcare, social services and art organizations, including serving as Chairman of the Board of Ruth Eckerd Hall and serving as Chair of the Facilities Committee during two major renovations.   Ken is also an ardent supporter of the 70-plus year relationship between the City of Clearwater and the Phillies.   

 

Ken is president of the Palm Pavilion, a restaurant and Clearwater Beach landmark built in 1926 and owned by the Hamilton family since 1964.    In 2016, he was named Mr. Clearwater for his commitment and service to the City.   Ken has two children, including a former member of Eckerd Theater Company, and two grandchildren.  He and his wife Lisa reside in Clearwater.   

Charles E. Hart, Jr., Owner, Charles Edgar Hart Jr PLLC

Charlie Hart is a fifth generation Floridian and as the grandson of Jack and Ruth Eckerd, is a third generation supporter and Board Member of Ruth Eckerd Hall.   He has a BA degree from the University of Missouri and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.  He is currently the Director of Development for the Clearwater Free Clinic. 

Charlie feels passionately about invigorating his generation to be philanthropic; believes it’s never too early to get involved.  His volunteer service includes sitting on the Board of Morton Plant Mease Foundation and the Finance Committee for St. Paul’s Independent School. 

In his free time Charlie enjoys watching his two young sons grow up in the same place he did. Born at Morton Plant Hospital and raised attending summer camp at Ruth Eckerd Hall, he's proud of the growth in this community and hopes to positively impact it for the generations that follow.

Jealixson Jean-Simon, Volunteer Manager, Salvation Army

Jealixson Jean-Simon is the Volunteer Manager for The Salvation Army of Clearwater & Upper Pinellas County.  Born and raised in Miami by a single mother along with his three siblings, Jealixson’s passion for the arts and volunteerism began when he was introduced to the free Youth & Music Program offered by The Salvation Army to children in his community.   He learned to play the trombone and performing with the Salvation Army’s Brass Bands granted the opportunity to travel and explore what the world has to offer.

 

Jealixson is the first college graduate in his family, earning a Bachelor’s in Business from Florida State University.  He currently attends Stetson School of Law, while continuing to volunteer his time teaching music theory to children and helping wherever he can.


“Performing Arts has the ability to inspire and change lives. Learning and playing music in front of crowds of people, gave me the confidence and tools I needed to push forward in my life. I am excited to be involved in the leadership at Ruth Eckerd Hall and do my part to enrich the lives of others in my community.” 

Michelle Lynch Zebra, Senior VP, Tampa Bay Complex Manager at Raymond James

As senior vice president, Tampa Bay Complex Manager, Michelle Lynch Zebra leads 17 Raymond James branches.  Her career has included marketing, public relations, impact coaching and strategic business development.  She served as vice president of the Network of Women Advisors.  Previously, she held positions with AAA Auto Club South, Busch Gardens Entertainment and United Landmark advertising agency.

 

Michelle is a USF cum laude graduate with a BA in mass communications and an MBA with honors from Emory University. She serves on the USF Foundation Board and the Lawrence Martucci Benefit Corp Board, and previously, the Raymond James Charitable Endowment Fund board, the Raymond James Diversity Council and as a member of USF’s Personal Financial Planning Program’s Advisory Council and FSI’s Marketing, Growth and Development Council.

 

Michelle was honored as Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Businesswoman of the Year 2023 and was recognized in Investment News 40 Under 40.  A Tampa native and mother of two sons, Connor and Ryan, Michelle resides with her husband Scott in Westchase.

Laura Maiocco, Community Leader

Laura, originally from Michigan, moved to the Sunshine State right out of high school. While at UF, Laura earned a degree in Marketing with a concentration in Advertising and Branding.

 

After working in advertising in Miami and New York City, Laura moved to New Orleans where she earned a Master’s Degree at Tulane University.  She had a HOT time traveling the world for McIlhenny Co. positioning their Tabasco brand.   Upon returning to Florida, Laura helped Transitions Optical re-brand itself globally.

 

These days Laura is constantly on the go.   She advises many organizations on branding and marketing efforts, while operating Simple Access, which provides private lending for real estate investments.  She has served on numerous community boards over the past 20 years and is currently the Philanthropy Chair of the YMCA of the Suncoast.

 

Laura is blissfully married to Brian and they have two kids in their 20s.

Mark McClintock, Senior Investment Advisor, PNC Bank

Mark has over 35 years of experience managing investment portfolios for high net worth individuals, their families, corporations and foundations.  Prior to joining PNC Private Bank, he was a managing director and portfolio manager for Evercore Wealth Management, LLC in Tampa.  Before joining Evercore, Mark was a managing director for SunTrust Bank.  During his 27-year career at SunTrust, he worked as an investment strategist and held several management positions including regional managing director of the West Florida region of the Personal Asset Management division.

 

Mark graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Florida State University and holds the Chartered Financial Anlyst® (CFA) designation.  He is a member of the CFA Institute, CFA Society Tampa Bay, Pinellas County Estate Planning Council, and the Team Selection Committee for the Reliaquest Bowl.  Previously he was a member of the Suncoast Estate Planning Council and served as chairman of the Investment Committee for the City of Dunedin’s Board of Finance.  As a Ruth Eckerd Board member, Mark serves on the Finance Committee and chairs the Investment Committee. 

Paul Phillips, MD, Cardiologist Specialist, Clearwater Cardiovascular Consultants

A Williams College English major, Paul graduated from University of Virginia Medical School in 1977. He completed training in Internal Medicine and Cardiology at the New York Hospital- Cornell Medical Center in 1982 and moved to Clearwater to join Clearwater Cardiovascular Consultants. He joined as the third physician in what has become a 23 doctor practice covering the Morton Plant and Mease Hospitals.  Completing 8 years as the groups managing partner, he continues to practice Cardiology.

Having served on the Morton Plant Mease Foundation Board for 20 years, Paul completed a term as the Foundation Chairman and remains an Emeritus member. He is a former recipient of the Teaching Award for the Morton Plant Family Practice program, the Excellence in Medical Award at Morton Plant and along with wife Liz was honored with the Golden Flame Award Philanthropy Award by the Morton Plant Mease Foundation Board in 2018.  

Chuck Riggs, Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

Chuck Riggs is a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley with a focus in assisting individuals and businesses to expand their entities and transfer wealth to heirs or successors.  He is a CPA and Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist℠. As a former partner of the regional CPA firm, Carr Riggs and Ingram (formerly Harper Van Scoik, & Co.), Chuck advised on various areas including business and financial growth plans, investment portfolios, insurance and buy sell agreements.  He assisted in the development of joint ventures with a financial company to manage up to $100,000,000 in assets under management.  

 

With a long history of community involvement, Chuck currently serves on Ruth Eckerd Hall’s Finance and Development Committees and chairs the Audit Committee.  He previously served on the Board of Morton Plant Mease Hospital Foundation and was Board Chair of the Clearwater Chamber of Commerce, the USF School of Accounting, the Outback Bowl, the ARC Foundation of Tampa Bay, and the FICPA Education Foundation.

Charlie Rutz, Community Leader

Charlie Rutz relocated to Florida from West Redding, Connecticut.  He was Vice-President of Union Carbide and a principal of Lincare, Inc, a nationwide home medical equipment company located in Clearwater before retiring.   

 

A lifelong supporter of arts and education, Charlie began retirement by establishing a television production facility and program at Palm Harbor’s Carwise Middle School in 1994.  He served on the Board of Directors of The Florida Orchestra for six years.  This is Charlie’s third appointment to the Ruth Eckerd Hall Board of Directors having served as Board Secretary and Membership Committee Chair previously.   In 2007,  he established the Jan Chase Rutz Family Foundation providing cash grants to classroom teachers in Florida and throughout the U.S.  

 

Charlie received The Society of Arts & Letters award in 2009 for contributions to the field of arts education.  The same year he was selected as Mr. Countryside.   In 2010, he received the Marcia P. Hoffman Education Award for his advocacy. 

Karen Seel, Community Leader

Born and Raised in Clearwater, Karen Seel has a MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Phoenix, Arizona and is a proud University of Florida BSBA graduate - Go Gators! With a distinguished career in public service, Karen held elected office as a Pinellas County Commissioner for 23 years and a Clearwater City Council member for 3 years. She has served on over 40 community Boards and committees, from fundraising to civic projects, and numerous volunteer opportunities, for which she has been recognized with many awards.

Karen and her husband, Ron, have been married for over 40 years, have two adult sons and three beautiful granddaughters in Tampa. They are bi-coastal residents, splitting the year between Belleair and Sonoma Valley, California.

Karen has a special connection to Ruth Eckerd Hall. Her father, architect Don Williams was one of the founders and funders of the facility. A long-time supporter, Karen writes, “I’m proud to continue his legacy.”

William Selvidge, Community Leader

Bill Selvidge graduated from the University of Louisville, School of Medicine in 1975, specializing in Pediatrics, and then Neonatal Medicine, and remains a licensed physician.   After practicing for 9 years, he shifted his focus to entrepreneurial opportunities.  Bill founded, or co-founded, multiple health care companies both regional and national in scope.  These included Lifeline Home Heath, ALS Respiratory Services, ALS Pharmacy, and DiversiCare Rehab Company, among others.   

 

Bill has served on several Boards including the University of Louisville Board of Trustees, the University of Louisville Foundation and the child abuse agency, Family Place.  He and his wife Linda, relocated to Florida in 2011 and became a familiar sight at our venues.  Both are ardent supporters of the arts and avid concert-goers, as well as adventurous in seeing up-and-coming artists.   Bill is a former Treasurer of the Ruth Eckerd Hall Board of Directors and currently serves as Chair of its Education Ambassadors.  

Douglas Wycoff, Senior Manager Passenger Processing & Innovation, Tampa Intl Airport

Doug Wycoff has specialized in the information technology field for over forty years.  He began his career with Telecredit / Equifax, working in the credit card and check processing business.  After almost two decades, Doug became a technology innovative contractor before moving to Tampa International Airport for the past sixteen years.  He currently serves as the Senior Manager of Passenger Processing, AV and Innovation.  His team has been instrumental in excelling technology innovation, not only for the Tampa facility, but within the airline industry.  TIA is the first airport in the nation to use LiDAR, for building efficiencies throughout the facility to enhance the customer experience.  

 

Doug and his wife, Dia, are long-time supporters of the performing arts, enjoying a wide range of genres.  Doug served on the Development committee prior to joining the Board of Directors, where he continues to bring his experience as frequent concert-goer, donor, and management professional to promote the mission.