• Marilyn Tubb

    Marilyn Tubb

    2018 Lifetime Achievement Winner


    Equipped with an infectious smile, be sure that a hearty laugh will soon follow. A dose of Marilyn Tubb is essential for one’s well being – at least that’s the general consensus among Tubb’s colleagues.  Adventurous, headstrong and passionate, she has climbed the tallest mountains, marched for Civil Rights and pushed for change in the community. Who better to help build a healthy Gainesville than Tubb?

    “If you had to describe what I was like, I’m probably a person that likes to try new things, explore new things and ideas and probably create some chaos,” Tubb said.

    Truly a force to be reckoned with, once Tubb has started, she won’t stop. Now a retired public relations executive, in the past Tubb has helped to promote Gainesville’s overall health and wellness. She has been a trailblazer within her own industry as well as an active community member by participating with local organizations and nonprofits.

    “Being active in community endeavors provided me an avenue for achievement because the needs are so big, and there are never enough people willing to work hard to make good things happen,” Tubb said.

    That same tenacity and sheer determination launched the crucial beginnings of her career and earned her many firsts.  Upon entering the workforce, the positions for women were sparse. For the jobs that were available, they primarily required fast typists.

    “I was really insulted by that, so I tried to get jobs that didn’t do that at all,” Tubb said.

    True to her word, Tubb started at the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where she became the first woman to have a manager’s job as director of communications. After receiving her master’s degree in communications from UF, she became the first female news reporter for WRUF Radio News.

    “Don’t underestimate your capability. Try. All they can say is no,” Tubb said.

    Born to a university professor, both her father and her mother encouraged her to be open-minded and pursue her aspirations regardless of any obstacle. They, more than anyone, equipped Tubb with the support and confidence to do anything she set out to do.

    Truly, her actions speak louder than her words.

    For nearly 30 years, Tubb has also worked in healthcare public relations and marketing. Her healthcare career began at North Florida Regional Medical Center. Following this, she worked at Santa Fe Health/AvMed Health Plan and Shands HealthCare where she spearheaded broad marketing campaigns for clinical care as the Vice President of Community Affairs.

    Public relations, still brand new to the industry at the time, provided a platform on which Tubb could inject creativity and experiment in the workplace. Janet Christie, a longtime friend and fellow colleague of Tubb since the 1980s, has witnessed her innovation at work. She lived and breathed hospital work.

    “She works very hard, but it just doesn’t seem at all hard because she puts so much fun and creativity in it,” Christie said. “She brings a good energy to everything she does.”

    As the founder and coordinator for the Healthy Community Initiative in Alachua County, and the co-chair of the Well City USA Campaign, Tubb helped Gainesville earn the “Well City USA Award” in 2003.  She performed a logistic feat in gathering numerous communities and institutions to employ fitness and healthy options in the workplace.

    “She’s probably served on every community board in the town,” Christie said. “She has worked tirelessly for other nonprofits and just adds energy and gives herself to all of those types of activities, so she’s very committed to this community.”

    Among an array of successes, Tubb has only failed at slowing down

    After working in healthcare, Tubb came out of retirement and worked a new position as the associate vice president for special projects at Santa Fe College. There she helped to incorporate social media into their programs and promote civic engagement among students.  Dr. Jackson Sasser, president of Santa Fe College, lauded her ability to work with various groups of people while still effectively executing her goals.

    “Determined is an understatement. She is relentless,” Sasser said. “She has played such a large role in civic engagement in North Florida … she is the model civic engager.”

    Her love for civic engagement began after entering college at Agnes Scott College in Georgia where she learned about racial and economic disparities. After taking part in the March at Selma which she credits as a transformative period of her life, she’s translated this experience to aiding the Gainesville community.

    “Thoughtful group action makes a difference and if we know what changes we want to make, we, citizens working together, can make positive change happen but it requires a long view and a sustained effort. It’s not going to happen overnight,” Tubb said.

    As a Gainesville native, Tubb grew up near Lake Santa Fe and later moved closer to the city. Her Gainesville was idyllic and peaceful, but even Tubb was aware of the racial disparity between the east and west side of Gainesville. She tackled everything from health and wellness to customer service to economic development.  Today, her focus has been on building a legacy, particularly the preservation of Gainesville’s culture, history and the environment.

    Tubb is a founding member of the Cade Museum; she serves the board of the Alachua County Library District Foundation and currently, she is a chair member of the Matheson History Museum advisory council.

    However, when she’s not working a new community project, at the end of the day, she is still a mother, a grandmother and a beloved friend to those fortunate enough to meet her. Never one to look back on her successes but to move forward with failures, Tubb has only worked to make Gainesville a better, healthier community.