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 live with his father and brother, in 1998. Once in the south, Aakash quickly made the Sunshine State his home.
Aakash M. Patel attended Sickles High School where he served as Student Body Vice-President and earned both a degree in English Literature and a degree in Political Science from Florida State University. While at FSU, 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 a diverse work background in journalism, business development and public relations. In 2012 Patel started his firm, Elevate, Inc., a Florida-based strategic business consulting firm providing a public relations, community relations, target networking and social media. Aakash launched 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 255-room Westin Tampa Bay hotel and Aqua, a fine dining seafood restaurant, where he was responsible for directing all community and civic outreach in order to increase awareness of the newly opened waterfront property. Aakash moved from hospitality to business engagement, when he was the founding Director of Business Development for Chamber.com, an application-based networking website for business professionals worldwide that launched in 2010 with 5 members, and has grown over 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 numerous contributions. In 2013, the FSU Alumni Association named Patel as one of their top "Thirty Under 30" alumni. He was also a finalist for the 2013 Emerge Tampa Bay Deanne Dewey Roberts "Emerging Leader" award. 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”.
In order to give back while staying connected, Patel volunteers and serves as Chairman of the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County, Indo-US Chamber of Commerce (Vice President), University of Tampa Board of Counselors (Chair Elect), Gasparilla Film Festival Advisory Board, Centre Club Board of Governors, and Leadership Tampa Bay Board of Directors.
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 University of Tampa College of Business.
Aakash is an active member of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Vistage, Tampa Downtown Partnership, Seminole Torchbearers and Washington Leadership Program.
Aakash 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 Awards, which was held in Tampa Bay. 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.
“Aakash has an incredible business sense, unlimited connections and passion for the Tampa Bay Community. His desire to help small business increase brand awareness and develop social media networking connections attributed to our beginnings at EZclean.com. I would strongly recommend Elevate to any company starting out or looking to rebrand.” - Stephanie Skillman, EZclean Team Member, EZclean.com
“Aakash’s proven expertise in the business world combined with his growing clientele of non-profits is exactly what our foundation needed! We’ve been featured in several of Tampa’s publications and on ABC’s Positively Tampa Bay. His ability to open doors and put us in front of business and government leaders in the Tampa Bay area has helped our foundation tremendously.” - Derek Pupello, CEO, FORE (Foundation for Orthopaedic Research and Education)
“Elevate, Inc. is consistently delivering new strategies for personal and professional growth and has a management team that is more plugged into the community than none I have ever seen. Aakash Patel is the guy to know if you want to speak with that government leader, that radio show, that newspaper—he’s the one!” - 'H’John Mejia, Host, InTheZoneTV
"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