Ron Christaldi puts his heart and soul into the Tampa Bay area

Philanthropy

As a young lawyer, learning the skills of his occupation, Ron Christaldi credits his early mentors with also providing the scope of his vocation.

Christaldi started his law career under the guidance of de la Parte and Gilbert, in Tampa, and from the very beginning was encouraged to follow his “heart and soul” as a public servant, alongside his work as a lawyer.

As Christaldi remembers, “I had some great mentors who instilled in me this sense that being a lawyer included a responsibility to give back to the community and to participate on two levels: to support good government and good candidates in a non-partisan, issue-oriented way, and to give back as a volunteer by finding areas I was passionate about, to put my heart and soul into making my community a better place.”

With his firm’s early connection to the Moffitt Cancer Center, Christaldi soon became fascinated by a larger focus on health and the importance of quality care.

“I began to see the hardship, and suffering, that disease inflicts upon people and their families. And it just became a passion of mine to help alleviate that suffering in any way I can,” Christaldi says. “I have no medical training but what I can do is help raise money, and awareness, to fund research and support financial care.”

Christaldi also became a legal expert in health care law. He was awarded a Florida Board certification in health law in 2002, one of just over 100 lawyers in the state to hold this rigorous certification. He’s served on the board of the Florida Liver Association and is past chair of the 2018 Leukemia Lymphoma Society Light the Night Walk, but his volunteer interests also include helping disadvantaged youths or supporting charities that tackle domestic violence.

He has also worked to support the cultural side of the Tampa Bay area by working with Ybor City development and serving on the board of trustees for the Tampa Museum of Art.

After being named president and chief executive officer of Shumaker Advisors Florida in 2017, Christaldi admits that his platform for community service became even bigger.

“Shumaker provided me with more resources, and support, with the personnel around me and also more financial resources. All that provided more connectivity, and that really accelerated my ability to get plugged into serving in the Tampa area,” he says.

Recognized as the Tampa Bay Chamber’s 2020 Park Wright III Leadership Award recipient, Christaldi turns his focus to the American Heart Association this year, by chairing its annual Tampa Bay Heart Ball on April 10, a digital experience that Christaldi expects will reimagine what is possible for virtual fundraising.

“What appeals to me about the American Heart Association is [its] emphasis on overall health and well-being. Of course, heart disease by itself is still critically important as the leading cause of death in America. But AHA supports what we’ve come to realize from science with nutrition, exercise and overall health. Organs don’t function independently of each other. Your health and well-being are all connected. And AHA is at the forefront of education, and messaging, around living a healthy lifestyle and being healthy. It was a little bit of a no-brainer to get involved,” Christaldi says.

It’s the second year in a row Christaldi has been involved in the Heart Ball. Last year he was on the executive cabinet for the event and supported the rapid transformation from a live event to a virtual fundraiser. He’s excited about the challenges and opportunities that this year’s event will bring.

“Last year, we transitioned quickly to a virtual event and it was a great success, but it was basically our live event, scripted and televised, since we had to switch gears overnight,” he says. “This year, I’ve asked the staff to reimagine, and rethink, the possibilities for a virtual event. We can attract high-profile musical performances, for example, or special guests. There’s so much opportunity for innovation and fun. It’s an opportunity to be creative and take advantage of what this platform has to offer.”

Christaldi’s team is also exploring the idea of coordinating small, COVID-safe, watch parties for the event.

“Now is really the time to lean in. This year has shown all of us the importance of overall health and well-being. It’s allowed us to stop and reflect, holding a mirror up to ourselves as individuals and as a community,” he says. “With our virtual ball, there’s not the usual excuses of conflicts of time or place. Everyone has a phone or computer. Everyone can participate. It’s accessible, it’s fun, with a great program for a great cause.”

The Heart Ball provides the community with a chance to come together and celebrate optimism for the future.

“I’ve got this kind of renewed vigor for what’s next,” Christaldi says, “and all the things that we could do next. The pandemic put a new sense of urgency on helping others because we’ve all realized that the world can change overnight. If you want to get things done, if you want to make an impact, you have to act now before the world changes again. There’s so much great stuff that we can do together in the Tampa community, and with AHA we also connect on the national level.”

Register to the 2021 Heart Ball here.

Or scan the QR code to register via your smartphone.

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