Gayle Phillips, executive director of the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center in St. Augustine, was appointed Tuesday, July 19, to a position on the Tourist Development Council of St. Johns County. The appointment and a four-year term were finalized during the regularly scheduled meeting of the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners.
The vote was unanimous.
Phillips was recommended by the current TDC board during its regularly scheduled meeting on June 20, and the recommendation was supported by a letter from Tera Meeks, the St. Johns County director of tourism and cultural development.
Outgoing TDC member Danny Berenberg spoke on Phillips’ behalf, and Henry Dean, the chair of the St. Johns County Commission, was also supportive.
“I have had the opportunity to know and work with Gayle for six years, and I strongly recommend her to take this position with the TDC,” Dean said.
Phillips becomes a rare Black female member of the TDC Board, which was created in 1986.
She has been heavily involved in the community, displaying her knowledge of St. Augustine and St. Johns County. She serves as the executive director of the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center. Since she took over that role in 2018, the museum has developed into a staple of the tourism industry for the region and highlights an underappreciated piece of county history.
In more than a decade of residency in St. Johns County, Phillips has interacted with business leaders within the city and county and has become a voice for them. She has a journalism degree from University of Florida and has worked as a writer and editor at various publications.
Phillips’ work includes roles on the boards of the Friends of Lincolnville Inc., St. Augustine Historical Society and St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum. Additionally, she is a stockholder in the St. Augustine Distillery and has extensive experience as a business owner of her own catering business and as a purchasing and accounting employee of Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Jacksonville.
Her appointment coincides with the county’s plans to include a celebration of St. Augustine’s and St. Johns County’s long-standing and understated prominence in the nation’s Black history and the civil rights movement, dating back to the 1500s and including iconic locations such as Ft. Mose, the Lincolnville Museum and the city’s cornerstone locations in the civil rights movement.
The St. Johns County TDC recommends funding of facilities, programs and contracts to the Board of Commissioners for the purpose of bringing people from outside of the county to cultural events. The nine-member TDC, serving four-year terms, includes a county commissioner, two other elected officials, three or four members who are owners or operators of lodging facilities and up to three members who are involved in the tourism industry.
The Board of County Commissioners solicits applications for appointment whenever vacancies occur.
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