Board of County Commissioners
Master of Business Administration, with Honors, Thunderbird School of Global Management, Glendale, Arizona, August 1981. Studies at Templeton College at the University of Oxford, England and at La Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, Mexico.
Bachelor of Science in Marketing, Cum Laude, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, December 1979.
High School Diploma, Clearwater High School, 1976.
- TBRPC Herman W. Goldner Award for Regional Leadership, 2011
- Tampa Bay Partnership Chair’s Cup for Excellence in Regionalism, 2009
- ITS Florida, ITS Champion of the Year, 2006
- Tampa Bay Business Journal Business Woman of the Year, Government Category, 2006
- Junior Achievement Leadership Award, 2005 and Leadership Silver Award, 2010
- Florida Redevelopment Association, 2005, Special Achievement Award
- Suncoast League of Cities, 2005, Award of Special Recognition
- Sertoma - Service to Mankind Award - 2000
- Who’s Who of American Women (1999-2000 edition) and Millennium Edition (2000-2001)
- Leadership Pinellas, Distinguished Alumni Award, 2000
- Soroptimist Women Honoring Women, 1999
- Girl Scout Woman of Distinction Award, 1999
- Virginia H. Lazzara Award, YWCA Service Award, 1998
- Volunteer of the Year, Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin, 1994 and 1997
- University of Florida: Outstanding Female Graduate for Leadership, Fall 1979; Hall of Fame; Florida Blue Key
Pinellas County Government
County Commissioner: Appointed in January 1999 by Governor Bush to fill an unexpired term. Subsequently, elected in September 2000 to a four year term, and again in 2004, 2008 and 2012. The Board of County Commissioners is a seven member legislative and governing body of Pinellas County. They are given the authority by the State constitution to adopt local ordinances, approve the County budget and set millages for all departments under the County Administrator and the Constitutional Officers and to make decisions on long range planning and future growth for Pinellas County.
City of Clearwater, Clearwater, Florida
Commissioner: April 1996 to January 1999. An elected 3-year position on a five member Commission which discharges the obligations and responsibilities prescribed by state law, city ordinance and city charter.
Williams Architects Chartered, Clearwater, Florida
Controller: March 1987 - 1995
Responsible for all financial, legal, risk management and insurance functions in a closely held family corporation.
Al Akeel & Brotheres, Saudi Arabia
Marketing Research: 1983-1984
Provided comprehensive marketing analyses and reports for large electrical equipment manufacturer.
DOW Chemical USA, Houston, Texas
Marketing Representative: 1982-1983
Represented the Industrial Foams product line in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Responsible for sales, technical representations and development of new product applications.
Pinellas County Commission Representative
- Chair, Health and Human Services Leadership Board
- Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)
- MPO Intelligent Transportation System Committee
- Business Technology Services Board
- Tampa Bay Partnership
- Juvenile Welfare Board
- Chair, Pinellas County Commission, 2003, 2010 and 2014
- Chair, Tourist Development Council, 2003, 2010 and 2014
- Tampa Bay Partnership, 2008—2013 and 2015
- Chair, Transportation Task Force, 2010
- Chair, U.S. 19 Task Force, 2000-2001
- Chair, MPO U.S. 19 Pedestrian Safety Task Force
- Chair, Pinellas Assembly, 2003-2004
- Chair, Pinellas by Design. 2003-2005
- Pinellas Planning Council, 1996-2000
- City of Clearwater Commissioner
- County Commissioner
- Pinellas Education Foundation
- Take Stock in Children Committee, Co-Chair
- Plus One, a Women’s Giving Fund, Founder
- Women’s Exchange, Founder
- Homeless Emergency Project (HEP) Outreach Committee
- Junior Achievement
- The ARC Tampa Bay Foundation (Formerly UPARC) Omelette Committee
- Leadership Pinellas Board of Directors, Chair 2011
- Leadership Pinellas Board of Directors, 2005 to 2012 and 1993 to 1994
- Largo Library Foundation Board, 2009-2011
- Morton Plant Mease Health Care
- Community Affairs Committee, 2002 to 2000
- Florida Blood Services, 2006 to 2009
- YMCA of the Suncoast Florida on the Move in Clearwater Community Board, 2005 to 2007
- Partners N Progress for the Arts, Inc. for the Largo Cultural Center, 2003 to 2006
- United Way Tampa Bay, 2003 to 2005
- C Tampa Bay (formerly UPARC) - 1998 to 2003
- Community Pride Child Care - 1993 to 2000
- Ruth Eckerd Hall Performing Arts Center Foundation - 1996 to 2000
- Clearwater Homeless Intervention Project (CHIP) - 1999 to 2001
- Gateway Children’s Shelter - 1991 to 1997
- Florida West Ballet - 1993
- Girl’s, Inc.- 1991
- Susan G. Komen Tampa Bay Foundation, 2000
- 211 Tampa Bay Cares, 2000 to 2003, Past President
- Friends of Weedon Island
- Religious Community Services, 2001 to 2003
- Largo Chamber of Commerce, 2002 to 2003
Other Previous Experience:
Board of Trustees: Junior Achievement of West Central Florida, 2002-2006; YWCA of Tampa Bay - 1997 to 2003, Chairman, 1999.
Past Community Projects: Sunshine Playground at the Long Center, David Mason Children’s Art Museum at the Dunedin Fine Art Center, Gateway Children’s Center at Community Pride Child Care Center, Education Grants for the Public Schools, Tampa Bay Harvest and a Foster Care Recruitment and Parental program.
Fundraisers: 2005 Co-Chair; Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, 1999-2001; American Heart Association Walk, 1999 and 2002; American Cancer Society - Co-Chairman 1995 Luncheon with the largest profit in 31 years; David Mason Children’s Art Museum Steering Committee/Dunedin Fine Arts Center - 1993-1997; Teddy Bear Picnic for Family Service Center - 1994-1995
School Volunteer: Leila Davis Elementary PTA - 1st Vice President - 1994 - 1995; Leila Davis Elementary - Classroom Assistance - 1993 to 1997; Safety Harbor Middle School Doorways Mentor - 1998-1999, North Ward Elementary mentor – 2000-2002; Junior Achievement mentor, 2002.
Civic: Association of Junior Leagues International - Nominating Board - 1995 to 1997; Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin: President - 1992 - 1993; Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation Volunteer; Leadership Pinellas Class of 1991; Leadership St. Petersburg Class of 1999; City of Clearwater Charter Review Committee – 1994; Suncoast Tiger Bay, 1998-2009; Leadership America class of 2007.
Karen Williams Seel was appointed to the Pinellas County Commission by Governor Bush in January 1999. She has since been reelected in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012. Prior to this, she served as a Clearwater City Commissioner from 1996 to 1999. Her father, the late Don Williams, served as a Clearwater City Commissioner from 1967 to 1975. Karen is proud to follow in a family tradition of public service.
Karen was born and raised in Clearwater. She left for eight years to live, study and work in Gainesville, Florida; Oxford, England; Phoenix, Arizona; Guadalajara, Mexico; Houston, Texas; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia. Returning to Clearwater in 1984, she moved to the Countryside area of Clearwater in 1992 and moved to Belleair in 2013.
In an official capacity, Karen serves on the Juvenile Welfare Board, Health and Human Services Coordinating Council, Business Technology Services Board, Tampa Bay Partnership and the Metropolitan Planning Organization. Within our community, Karen previously served on the UPARC Foundation Board of Directors, the YWCA Board of Trustees, Religious Community Services, the United Way Board of Directors, Friends of Weedon Island and Brooker Creek Preserves, the Greater Largo Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and 211 Tampa Bay Cares. She continues to serve on the Junior Achievement Board of Directors, Clothes to Kids Advisory Board, Pinellas Education Foundation and Co-Chair of Take Stock in Children. Karen is also a member of the Omelette Party Committee, a major fundraiser for ARC Tampa Bay. Karen has been instrumental in looking to our future and bringing our cities and county together. She has Chaired the U.S. 19 Task Force, the Pinellas Assembly, Pinellas by Design and the U.S. 19 Pedestrian Safety Task Force. As a founder of Plus One, a Women’s Giving Fund, this fund has designated grants in 2011 for $30,000 to three not-for-profits and in 2012, $52,000 to five not-for-profits and $46,000 in 2013 for seven not-for-profits.
Karen 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 Art 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.
Karen has been married to Ron Seel for over 30 years and has two adult sons, Brian and Scott. Her hobbies include jogging, reading and traveling. She holds a MBA in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and a BSBA in Marketing from the University of Florida.
A Clearwater, Florida native, Karen graduated from Clearwater High School in 1976 and has a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Florida, where she was selected Outstanding Female Graduate for Leadership in 1979. She holds an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Before appointment to the Board of County Commissioners in 1999, she served as a Clearwater City Commissioner. With a strong belief in volunteerism, Karen has served on many local Boards and has participated in numerous community projects and fundraisers. Karen has served on the UPARC Omelet Committee for many years and is also involved in Junior Achievement. She is a founder of Plus One, a women’s philanthropic group that grants funds to not-for-profits. As a County Commissioner, she serves on the Metropolitan Planning Organization and has been a leading force in obtaining funds for traffic and safety improvements on US 19. She also serves on the Juvenile Welfare Board, Tampa Bay Partnership and the Health and Human Services Leadership Board.
Karen is married to Ron Seel (for over 30 years) and has two grown sons.