Aakash M. Patel is here to help business owners learn, connect and grow in the community.
Originally from Voorhees, New Jersey, Aakash M. Patel made his way to Florida with his father and brother, in 1998, and quickly made the Sunshine State his home.
Aakash attended Sickles High School where he served as Student Body Vice-President before earning degrees in English Literature and Political Science from Florida State University. While at FSU, Patel was awarded the Milton S. Carothers Ethical Courage award for his Student Government leadership. A college highlight was spending a spring semester at the FSU London Study Centre.
Patel’s diverse work background in journalism, business development and public relations aided in the 2012 launch of his firm, Elevate, Inc., a Florida-based strategic business consulting firm providing a public relations, community relations, target networking and social media. Aakash began his career with a position that was the result of making a lasting connection during a short flight. He first worked as an Editorial Assistant at the Tampa Bay Times Tallahassee Bureau. From there, Aakash served as Public Relations Coordinator for the Westin Tampa Bay hotel and Aqua restaurant, where he directed community/civic outreach to increase awareness of the waterfront property. Shifting from hospitality to business engagement, Aakash was the founding Business Development Director for Chamber.com, an application-based world-wide business networking website launched in 2010 with 5 members, and grew to 1.5 million+ members.
In addition to his formal schooling, Aakash is a graduate of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Tampa (2012), FBI Citizen's Academy (2013), Tampa Police Citizen's Academy (2012), Tampa Bay Public Leadership Institute (2012), Leadership Tampa Bay (2011), Tampa Connection (2010), and College Leadership Florida (2005).
As Aakash got involved throughout Florida, he was recognized for his engagement. In 2013, the FSU Alumni Association named Patel as one of their top "Thirty Under 30" alumni. Aakash was cited as one of Tampa Bay’s Up & Comers by the Tampa Bay Business Journal in 2008, and featured as a “Rising Star” by the Tampa Bay Times. Additionally, he was denoted in The Tampa Tribune as one of "Tampa's Networking Heavyweights”, and in the Tampa Bay Business Journal as "Tampa's Master Networker.” Subsequently, in 2015 he was featured in TBOSEEN (“Consulting firm chief shares networking tips”). Aakash even has a badge to reflect the Hillsborough Sherriff’s Office making him an Honorary Deputy Sherriff! In 2015, he was installed as an Honorary Commander for the 6th Air Mobility Wing for a two-year appointment as an Honorary Commander, something Aakash takes seriously, as his love for Tampa Bay is only rivaled by his appreciation and respect for those who bravely serve our county.
To give back while staying connected, Patel volunteers/serves the following: The Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County (a Gubernatorial appointment, for which he has spoken, traveled and written Op Eds to raise awareness and action), Chairman, The University of Tampa Board of Counselors, Chair, the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce, Vice President, the Gasparilla Film Festival Advisory Board, the Centre Club Board of Governors, and the Leadership Tampa Bay Board of Directors. Patel is also a voting member of University of Tampa Board of Trustees. He serves as a member of The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (where he leads in the number of new Chamber members for 2015), Emerge Tampa Bay, and he was thrilled to be a finalist in both the 2013 & 2014 Deanne Dewey Roberts Emerging Leader Award.
In 2009, Aakash co-founded Leaders' Friday Luncheon group, an effort that, each month, connects young professionals with seasoned experts in industry, the community, and civil service in a way that forges not just introductions, but true contacts. The annual VIP reception has become a mainstay in Tampa Bay for those who have attended the lunches and those who look to be included.
Over the years, as a result of Patel's relentless networking, he has participated in separate delegations to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Israel, & Dubai through his affiliation with the Friends of MacDill Program, Tampa Jewish Federation, and The University of Tampa College of Business.
Aakash has been humbled by the variety of opportunities he has received, and prides himself in his drive and determination to succeed, and is unique in how many people he knows. Aakash is acknowledged for his perseverance and resiliency. It’s Patel’s view that what others may perceive as obstacles, he perceives as challenges, and even opportunities. He is committed to networking and connecting people to others, to causes, to businesses, and to Tampa Bay, because he enjoys helping people and making a difference. Aakash is consistently surprised by how many people truly enjoy meeting new people, and yet often feel as though they cannot “get to” those with whom they seek acquaintance.
With all of the memorable experiences he has been fortunate to have had, and continues to have, on a regular basis, Aakash will never forget serving on the Honorary Host Committee for the 2014 Indian International Film Academy (IIFA) Awards which were held in Tampa. He was fortunate to be part of ABC Action News #PassportBollywood reporting team, which has been nominated for an Emmy for their incredible Green Carpet coverage.
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"Elevate Inc, Aakash Patel, Lauren Albert and team have been phenomenal to work with. They do a great job of connecting individuals both professionally and personally to increase brand awareness, visibility and accessibility in the greater Tampa marketplace. We strongly recommend partnering with them for any companies or individuals looking to expand their circle of influence in the Greater Tampa Area. "
Jason Ashton • CallPass Tech/CallPass M2M Solutions Inc
"Aakash Patel and the Elevate team have a great formula to provide success and establish long standing relationships. My time spent within the local business community has never been more rewarding. Elevate’s comprehensive program enabled me to refine existing efforts and develop new areas of representation. The customized approach Elevate was able to successfully implement allowed me to develop a more focused and meaningful social network. Simply put; the strategic direction and relationships developed are invaluable and now fundamental parts of my practice. "
Lauren Silva • Silva & Associates
"Bravo to the team at Elevate, Inc. who are consistently proactive in providing connections for the betterment of our business. Well known and respected in the industry, Elevate has been instrumental in creating new connections with the media and with industry leaders. The contacts through Elevate are numerous and professionally beneficial. The staff is always available to us. We enjoyed working with the Elevate team and will definitely keep them in mind for our future business needs." - John C Garcia • World Wide Medical Services Inc
"After meeting Aakash Patel, Lauren Albert and the rest of the team, it wasn’t long before I too became another one of their many happy clients. Whether we are out at events or casually sitting at Oxford Exchange, the Elevate team is always promoting our brand, and it pays off! If you're looking to dive into the who's who of Tampa Bay, Elevate, Inc. is the only way to go. They have helped mold and develop a strategy at Trinity Graphic to encourage thinking out of the box. Key introductions have been made to introduce us to business that are in the market for our creative services. Simply put, our desire for additional exposure has been met due to the efforts of Elevate."
Greg Barba • Trinity Graphic
"Continental Wholesale Diamonds is pleased to announce that we have signed a renewal contract with Team Elevate. We have been very pleased with the exposure that Team Elevate has been able to help us achieve, it has put our company in the spotlight in many important areas of Tampa. Aakash and Lauren are easy to contact and always available. There are very few people that Aakash does not know in Tampa and just as important, they know him. We are thrilled to continue on this journey with Team Elevate helping us to expand our network." - Andrew Meyer • Continental Wholesale Diamonds
"Aakash and his staff made it easy for me to expand my business circle and acquire new business as a pro photographer, I am indebted to them for opening new doors. Because of Elevate, Inc., I have a discovered a deep appreciation for this great city of Tampa and its vibrant business community!" - Rick Tauceda • Photographer