Where do like-minded movers and shakers go to talk about the next great
happenings, discuss policies and work together toward positive change?
Leaders Friday Luncheon.
Created by four young professionals between the
ages of 25-34, the luncheon program is designed to connect
generations of Tampa Bay leadership and provide a forum for individuals
with an interest in the region's long-term future. The Future Leaders
allows individuals to get to know one another, share
the causes they support and discuss ways to grow and improve the
The co-founders are: Caleb Lewis, commercial real
estate professional with Bishop & Associates, Inc
Aakash Patel, director of strategic relations at VTi-Media
; Shilen Patel, vice
president of business development for Visionary Healthware
Scott Price, director of A-lign CPAs
Aakash Patel had
idea for the group about a year ago and enlisted the others to help.
"After putting Scott, Shilen, Caleb and myself in the
room together for the first time, I knew it was going to be a great
team," he says.
Monthly lunches including the co-founders and
four guests soon followed at Timpano
On June 16, guests from the monthly meetings
came together for the inaugural Future Leaders Friday Luncheon
reception held at Timpano's.
"It's just a lot of cutting-edge
technologies, industries and young people that are kind of getting
together and talking about a new way of marketing products and marketing
themselves, and I'm an eager participant," says Mark
, Hillsborough County commissioner for District 7. "I was
very impressed by the people they brought together,'' says Sharpe. "It's
a very diverse mix of
individuals and they've done a good job."
The FLFL team has
more intimate networking opportunity, recognizing that attendees may
not be able to participate
in traditional networking organizations. "It became much more about
getting to know individuals so
we've been able to invite some pretty dynamic people that you wouldn't
necessarily catch at a larger networking meeting or you wouldn't attempt
to connect with on Facebook or something like that," says Shilen Patel.
share their interests and what they are doing in the community.
Patel says everyone has an opportunity to talk about the groups they're
and occasionally become advocates for one another's causes and/or
interests, and the Future Leaders Friday Luncheons serves as the hub
organization to help the individuals build relationships.
looking at all of these guests and all of these encounters from a
20- to 30-year lens,'' says Shilen Patel. "We all expect to be in this
community long-term so
somebody I meet today I may not have an opportunity to collaborate with
them until 15 years from now but I've met them today and I wouldn't have
had that opportunity without these luncheons."
Aakash Patel, Shilen Patel, FLFL; Mark Sharpe, Hillsborough County