Pam Iorio on her book "Straightforward, Ways to Live and Lead"

11/11/11 Josh Holton
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Former two-term Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio held her first public book signing at local independent book store Inkwood Books last night. It’s called: Straightforward, Ways to Live and Lead.

Pam Iorio left office with an 87% approval rating. Seven months after leaving public life, she now lectures on leadership at the University of Tampa’s College of Business. When asked if she would compete for the governor’s seat, she admittedly delivered a typical non-answer.

Looking back at her time in office, Iorio recalled her experiences with the Tampa Police Department. As early as the day she was sworn in, she was faced with a palpable crisis.

She said this was a defining moment in her career. The crisis spurred her to grow, and develop her own unique leadership style as a mayor.

While she was mayor, she recalled that Tampa residents would often impatiently ask her to take action, and order people to follow her demands. She said that the way somebody wields power says a lot about who that person really is at the core.

Iorio encouraged the crowd of about 30 people that she is most inspired when people find resilience and courage to embrace their own sense of leadership that exists inside each of us. An audience member asked her if she thought that the protesters at Occupy Tampa are demonstrating such leadership. She agreed they are.

Speaking of her successor, Iorio deemed Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s performance thus far as praiseworthy. But she would not comment on her thoughts about the more than two dozen arrests of Occupy Tampa protesters over the last three weeks.

Since September members of Occupy Tampa have been protesting in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. Protesters from Occupy Tampa feel they, too, have the right to assemble in a public space. Echoing Mayor Buckhorn’s position, Iorio said it’s essential to balance the needs of all Tampa residents.

Buckhorn has the monumental task of presiding over the City of Tampa during the Republican National Convention. He has promised that there will be so-called free speech zones to keep the interests of protests and conventioneers from interfering. Iorio said when she was mayor, she did away with such zones altogether.

The former mayor said that writing the book was difficult for her, since she considers herself more of an extrovert, and she would not be too excited to take on such an introverted task again any time soon. But Iorio said she loves to read, especially biographies, and historical fiction.

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