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. 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 followed by earning 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’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 255-room Westin Tampa Bay hotel and Aqua, a fine dining seafood restaurant, where he was responsible for directing community/civic outreach in order to increase awareness of the new 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 grew 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. 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”).
In order to give back while staying connected, Patel volunteers and serves the following: The Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County, 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. He also serves as a Hillsborough County Honorary Deputy Sheriff (2015), and Patel is also an Ex-officio member of University of Tampa Board of Trustees. He is a member of The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, 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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"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
“We contracted Elevate, Inc. to help celebrate our 100th anniversary and they exceed expectations. Their success came from using an innovative process, different from the standard PR firm, that gave the bakery a constant presence in the eyes of the community. I would recommend any type business looking to heighten their profile to think outside the box and engage the Elevate, Inc. team.” - Copeland More • 4th Generation Owner La Segunda Central Bakery
“Elevate, Inc. provided me with top-notch guests for my live radio show on 1250 WHNZ. The network Elevate, Inc. holds helped push my show from 1 day a week (12pm time) to a 5 day a week (8-9am time), and assisted in re-branding my show into That Business Show with Jamie Meloni. The response from the Tampa Bay community and business leaders has been outstanding.” - Jamie Meloni, That Business Show 1250am WHNZ