Aakash M. Patel is the Founder and President of Elevate, Inc. In addition to his responsibilities in firm management, he helps clients in the areas of community relations, social media, target networking, public relations, and government affairs.
Patel has a diverse work background in journalism, government affairs, business development and public relations. Prior to starting Elevate, Patel served as the founding Director of Business Development for Chamber.com, an application based networking website for business professionals worldwide. After launching in 2010 with 5 members, Patel helped Chamber.com grow exponentially to over 1.5 million members and the site is still growing today.
Prior to Chamber.com, Patel served as the Public Relations Coordinator for the 255-room Westin Tampa Bay hotel and AquaKnox, a fine dining seafood restaurant located in the Westin Tampa Bay. There he was responsible for directing all community and civic outreach in order to increase awareness of the newly opened waterfront property.
Aakash M. Patel earned his bachelor¹s degrees in English Literature and Political Science from Florida State University. While at Florida State, Patel was awarded the Milton S. Carothers Ethical Courage award for his leadership in Student Government. He also spent a spring semester at the FSU London Study Centre.
Patel has been known and recognized throughout the years for helping companies and individuals define the experience they have within their constituents building long lasting relationships. This may involve introductions, target networking, or a strong community relations strategy.
Patel was a recipient of the Tampa Bay Business Journal 2008 Up & Comers award in the Under 30 Category, named one of Tampa Bay’s 100 Most Influential Business leaders by Tampa Bay CEO Magazine, and was featured as a Rising Star by the St. Petersburg Times. In 2009, the St. Petersburg Times named Aakash M. Patel as one of the 5 People to Watch. In 2011, Patel was a finalist for the Business Buddies Community Leader of the Year Award.
In January 2009 Hillsborough County Commissioner Rose Ferlita appointed Patel to represent her district on the Citizen's Advisory Committee. In 2011, he was re-appointed to this same position by Commissioner Victor Crist. In 2012, Patel was elected Vice-Chairman of the Citizen's Advisory Commission by his peers.
Over the past 5 years, Aakash has been an active member of the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee. Founded 10 years ago, the organization has over 4,000 members. Patel has served in numerous roles within the organization including Public Relations Chair, Secretary, and Vice-President.
In 2009, Aakash M. Patel helped co-found the Leaders' Friday Luncheon group, a group that to date has held over 25 lunch meetings, three VIP receptions, and reached more than 250 individuals who reside in Tampa Bay.
He is also a Board Member of Seminole Torchbearers, Eckerd College Presidents Associates and a member of the Florida Holocaust Museum Leadership Council. In addition, Patel is proud to be associated with the Rising Leaders at the Centre Club and is currently in the Tampa Bay Political Leadership Institute class. Aakash M. Patel is a graduate of the Florida Chamber of Commerce's College Leadership Florida Class VII, Tampa Connection (2010), Leadership Tampa Bay (2011) and Leadership Tampa (2012). In 2011, Patel participated in separate delegations to Philadelphia, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Israel with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Benchmarking Committee, Friends of MacDill and Tampa Jewish Federation.
"Aakash has an in depth understanding of the Tampa bay business and civic community. He is a proven leader, and has shown the ability to connect people with solutions. Aakash has proven success at introducing the new generation innovators and entrepreneurs with more established business leaders with outstanding results!" Alex Sink ~ Former statewide elected Chief Financial Officer ~ State of Florida
"Aakash is “connected” in the Tampa community! Investing in the community is something a company must do to be successful. Knowing how and what to invest in is what Aakash brings to the table. He is part of the team and can help focus and be smart about investing your hard earned dollars."
Mark House ~ Managing Director ~ Beck