After two and a half years as the Executive Director of the Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (TIGLFF), Scott Skyberg is stepping down to grow his CPA business. During his tenure with TIGLFF, the organization has held three successful film festivals and brought together thousands of community members to support the arts.
Skyberg sat down with OUTCOAST to discuss his background, time with TIGLFF, and future endeavors. We also found out what he would do differently if he had to do it all over again and which celebrity was the most fun to meet.
How long have you lived in the Tampa region?
I moved to Tampa in July of 2005.
Where did you grow up?
Most of my youth years were spent in Fargo, ND. During the summer months, I would spend the season at the lakes of Minnesota.
Any favorite childhood memories?
Most of my favorite childhood memories revolve around my family or scouting. Both my mother and father come from larger than normal families (from my findings) and this made for every holiday to be very different and packed with adventure. From hunting arrowheads and other Native American artifacts on my grandfather’s farm to sitting in his garage keeping warm next to the potbelly stove enjoying the NPR or local country radio station.
What brought you here?
The lack of snow and cold. While this was a huge benefit, the real reason is that while working in the Project Management Office (PMO) for Verizon in Dallas, I was asked to come to Tampa for a Fire to the Premises (FTTP) project.
Tell us about your education background. School? Major? Etc.
Post-Secondary Schooling was in Moorhead, MN at Concordia College. I started in the prelaw and found myself drawn into the EMT/Medical field. Once I obtained my EMT, I changed majors to Pre-Pharmacy, then finished that and went for Pre-Med. My mother worked with executives at a large medical insurance company. She pulled me aside and painted the changes the medical profession was expected to undergo over next 20-30 years. I then decided to make the change back into the business world and finished out in accounting. Because Concordia College only allows you to have one declared Major and Minor, I chose to identify with an Accounting Major and Chemistry Minor. I finished out my CPA in North Dakota first and then in 2014 added the designation as a Florida CPA.
How long have you worked with TIGLFF and how did you get involved?
I started going to the Film Festival in October of 2005. Working at the Verizon (now PNC) building downtown, it was convenient to just walk down to the Tampa Theatre for a 5pm weekday showing. It was nice to see the LGBTQ+ community come together in a safe, pro-activism, educational, and fun environment. It was much different than the bar scene and something no other city of my previous moves had (Fargo, Minneapolis, St. Louis, and Dallas). We really have a wonderful community organization and a crown jewel that is the envy of many larger communities.
Did you pursue any other career opportunities while working with TIGLFF?
It is impossible to have successful dueling careers while trying to grow a non-profit the size of TIGLFF. The Executive Director role requires, and the organization deserves, the full attention of anyone taking on this position. While I was able to maintain a few, already established, tax advisory clients; there is not enough time in the day to grow two businesses/organizations properly.
What are some of the highlights from your time with TIGLFF?
It was great to host Lea Delaria at the Palladium, welcome the community opening every year, but especially in 2015 & 2016, and A Very Sordid Wedding for St. Pete PRIDE last year with Del Shores, Ann Walker, and Emerson Collins.
If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently, if at all?
Nothing, it was an amazing three festivals throughout the 2.5 years.
I’m sure you met celebrities while running this organization. Was there anyone in particular who surprised you?
It was well known already, but Lea DeLaria is a lot of fun and down to earth and musically talented. Leslie Jordan’s sense of humor hanging out is the same as on stage.
Do you have any favorite movie(s) that stood out to you as memorable and must-see?
Some of my favorites are: A Million Happy Now’s, Short Bus, Make the Yuletide Gay, and Hello Again.
I understand that you’re stepping down from TIGLFF? Tell us about your next endeavor.
I am going to focus back on my tax advisory services firm for small business and individuals. With all the recent tax changes, it has lead to some great opportunities and challenging conversations.
Do you still plan to be involved with TIGLFF? If so in what capacity?
I will always stay involved with the TIGLFF Family, even if it is as a patron again. I look forward to sitting in the seats again and discussing the films presented at the Festival.
What are the benefits of having an organization like TIGLFF in our community?
You will often hear me say this, and many have over the past few years. The arts, including film and television, are fundamental to the individual and societal shift on any platform. For equality and human rights, the arts allow individuals to face their fears or the unknown in small doses and at a comfortable pace. Throughout history this has started with still art, progressing to the performing arts, and expediting awareness and change with mass production and appeal of Film. It is imperative that we, as a community, keep focused on providing this platform growth on human rights and equality. Even with the advancement in technology the LGBTQ+ film festival is key to equality advancement in the Tampa Bay Region.
What is your advice to the next Executive Director?
Each Executive Director is steward of the organization for a short time. Enjoy it, protect the organization, get as many people involved in committees and volunteer roles as you can, and finally, know when it is time to step aside.
How can people reach out to you to stay in contact or enlist you for Tax Advisory Services?
Scott@skyberg.co is the best way to reach me.