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Tampa Bay Times’ Paul Tash, Straz Center’s Judy Lisi to be focus of WEDU special

WEDU’s “Suncoast Business Forum” will revisit profiles of two longtime CEOs who are retiring this year.
Tampa Bay Times chairman and CEO Paul Tash, who led the Times for more than 18 years, stepped down as Times chairman on July 1.
Tampa Bay Times chairman and CEO Paul Tash, who led the Times for more than 18 years, stepped down as Times chairman on July 1. [ WITTMAN, ZACK | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Jul. 26|Updated Jul. 27

With two of the Tampa Bay area’s most prominent leaders stepping down this year — Tampa Bay Times CEO Paul Tash and Judy Lisi of the Straz Center for the Performing Arts — public television station WEDU-Ch. 3 will take a look back at their influence on the community.

“Passing the Torch: Leadership Careers With Impact” will look at the part they played in heading dynamic institutions that have influenced the lives of millions of Tampa Bay residents.

Judy Lisi, photographed at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, is a Juilliard-trained soprano and a prolific financial backer of Broadway musicals who oversaw multiple expansions and fundraising campaigns. She is retiring in September.
Judy Lisi, photographed at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, is a Juilliard-trained soprano and a prolific financial backer of Broadway musicals who oversaw multiple expansions and fundraising campaigns. She is retiring in September. [ Times (2019) ]

Tash, who led the Times for more than 18 years, stepped down as chairman on July 1. Lisi, who will retire in September as CEO and president of the performing arts center, has spent 30 years expanding its programming and founding Opera Tampa and the Patel Conservatory.

Related: Times longtime leader Paul Tash reflects on changed region and industry

WEDU’s “Suncoast Business Forum” will revisit profiles of these two CEOs at 8:30 p.m. July 28 and 1:30 p.m. July 30. Following the broadcasts, the program can be viewed on the show’s website at wedu.org/sbf.

Lisi, a Juilliard-trained soprano and a prolific financial backer of Broadway musicals, oversaw multiple expansions and fundraising campaigns. When she arrived in 1992, the center was in a budgetary deficit. Today, it has an endowment nearing $70 million. She will leave with a $100 million capital campaign, including an $80 million expansion of the Straz’s Riverwalk area.

Related: After 30 years, Straz Center's Judy Lisi to step down from vastly changed arts center

Tash arrived as an intern and retired as the newspaper’s chairman. During his tenure the paper changed its name from the St. Petersburg Times in 2011 to reflect the region it serves and in 2016 purchased its rival, the Tampa Tribune, solidifying its position as Florida’s largest newspaper. During his tenure, the newspaper won nine of its 13 Pulitzer Prizes.

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