Aakash M. Patel is here to help business owners learn, connect and grow in the community.
Entrepreneur Aakash Patel founded Elevate, Inc., a Florida-based strategic business consulting firm providing public relations, community relations, targeted networking and social media, in 2012, and he has become reputed for making significant connections and achieving client results. Elevate, Inc. has served over 150 companies to date.
A master networker and community leader, prior to Elevate, Inc.’s launch, Patel served as an Editorial Assistant at the Tampa Bay Times Tallahassee Bureau, the Public Relations Coordinator for the Westin Tampa Bay hotel and Aqua restaurant, and 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).
Under Governor Rick Scott’s two-time appointment, Patel serves as Chairman, Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County, leading the expansion effort to double in size and impact. Concurrently, Scott selected Aakash as a gubernatorial appointment to Florida’s Early Learning Advisory Council (ELAC). He will serve in this dual capacity until 2021. Patel led the search for ELCHC CEO, a role that manages over an $80M budget. As the current Chair of the ELAC Strategic Planning Committee, he is charged with shaping the statewide organization’s future. Patel volunteers for TV interviews and writes opinion editorials on behalf of the coalition along with advocating on behalf of the organization with members of the Florida Legislature.
A driven life-long learner, Patel graduated the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Tampa, FBI Citizen’s Academy, Tampa Police Citizen’s Academy, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s Mayor’s Neighborhood University, Tampa Bay Public Leadership Institute, James Madison Institute (JMI) Regional Fellows Program, Society of International Business Fellows (SIBF) Leadership Academy, Leadership Tampa Bay (Executive Committee since 2014), Tampa Connection, and College Leadership Florida. Aakash completed both the Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) Citizen’s Academy and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) Leadership Network, in 2018.
Respected for connecting, Patel was named a Florida State University Alumni Association top “Thirty Under 30” (2013), was cited as one of Tampa Bay’s Up & Comers by the Tampa Bay Business Journal (2008), and was 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”, in the Tampa Bay Business Journal as “Tampa’s Master Networker”, and in Tampa Bay Metro as the “Face of Connectivity” (2015-2018). Most recently, he was recognized as a 2018 Top 10 Under 40 in South Tampa Magazine.
In 2015 Patel was installed as an Honorary Commander to the 6th Air Mobility Wing Director of Staff for a two-year appointment, something Aakash took seriously, as his love for Tampa Bay is only rivaled by his appreciation and respect for those who bravely serve our country. Following that, Patel was able to attend and graduate the National Security Forum, held at the prestigious Air War College (AWC).
Aakash was awarded the 2017 Deanne Dewey Roberts Emerging Leader Award by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. This award is the highest honor given by the Chamber which recognizes one individual, under 35 years old, for his or her leadership to the business community.
Patel had voting rights as a UT Board of Trustee when he served as Chairman of The University of Tampa (UT) Board of Counselors in 2015-2016. Under his leadership, the organization grew from 62 to over 100 members; the largest historical growth in membership and in revenue (2015-2016). The organization also raised over $50,000 which contributed to scholarships for University of Tampa athletes.
A community advocate, Patel serves as: Chair, Centre Club Tampa Board of Governors (where he has been the Bell Ringer, bringing in the largest number of new members 2013–2018), SeacoastBank Tampa Board of Directors member, and Gasparilla Film Festival Advisory Board member. As he proudly promotes the Tampa Bay Business community he is an investor with the Tampa Economic Development Corporation, Charter Member of TiE Tampa Bay, and Tampa Bay Rays 100 member. He served as a past Vice President, the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce, and past Board of Directors Member, The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce (where he received the Top Performer Award for membership growth 2015-2018).
An in-demand speaker, Patel has engaged with numerous clients, universities, companies and entrepreneur organizations. And his efforts are not only in Florida. Aakash traveled to Guantanamo and, LackLand Air Force Base in San Antonio, and Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, through MacDill Air Force Base, traveled to Dubai with The UT Sykes College of Business, visited Israel with the Tampa Jewish Federation and Canada with the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation. Patel attended eight Benchmarking trips with The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce.
In 2009, Aakash co-founded the 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. After a decade, 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.
Aakash has been humbled by the variety of opportunities he has received, prides himself on his determination to succeed, and is unique in his world-wide connections. 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 gain access to those with whom they seek acquaintance.
Through all the memorable experiences he has been fortunate to have had, Aakash will never forget serving on the Honorary Host Committee for the 2014 Indian International Film Academy (IIFA) Awards which were successfully held in Tampa to international acclaim, and serving as the youngest member of the College Football National Championship Host Committee, where he was able to procure six-figure donations!
As a passionate Tampanian, Patel ran a community-focused, positive, well-funded race for the Hillsborough County Commissioner District 7 seat in 2018.
While at Florida State University, Patel was awarded the Milton S. Carothers Ethical Courage Award for his Student Government leadership, and he continues to serve on the Seminole Torchbearer Board of Directors since 2014. A college highlight was spending a spring semester at the FSU London Study Centre. Aakash Patel holds degrees in both English Literature and Political Science from Florida State University.
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