Breezin' Magazine - The Entrepreneurial Edition

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Behind the







40 Under 40





CORPORATE CATERING & PRIVATE EVENTS Book your next happy hour, coprorate event, or special occasion with us! Visit our website and click on private events for more info!

601 S. Harbour Island Blvd. Tampa, Fl 33602 (813)605-3333


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It has been a year since the inaugural issue of Breezin’ Magazine launched, and what a ride it has been. We have watched as the entertainment industry has grown and evolved in ways we couldn’t have imagined, we’ve seen new talent emerge to challenge and redefine how things are done, and we’ve embraced new technologies that continue to enhance our entertainment experience in every way. And, it’s not just the entertainment market that is seeing explosive growth. Countless entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs have been brought to our attention this year as the Tampa Bay business market continues to double in size. Breezin’ Entertainment has implemented a suite of new services in our dedicated efforts to keep up with the ever-changing and ever-evolving landscape of trends to meet our clients’ needs. With over three decades of experience, the Breezin’ team is more equipped than ever to meet the emerging entertainment challenges that each new year brings. With our combined insights on talent, venue selection, and creativity, Breezin’ Entertainment is confident of its place in the hearts of the people of Tampa Bay. As always, our mission at Breezin’ is to contribute, create impact, and generate results. This publication began with that concept as our guiding principle and we continue to follow this path as we progress deeper into the entertainment industry. It’s our hope that each issue of Breezin’ Entertainment magazine brings attention to the artists that we have seen influencing culture throughout the Tampa Bay area. Last year, we focused on charitable events throughout Tampa Bay. We honored the businesses and leaders who gave their time and energy to give back to our community. We want to continue to honor the members that make Tampa Bay the thriving city that it is by taking a look at the top entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs in our community to learn what is ‘behind the hustle’ that contributes to their success. This Entrepreneur Edition will give our readers an inside look at some of the most successful people in the Tampa Bay community. As Breezin’ expands its influence both nationally and internationally, we will continue to bring both established and emerging thought leaders, business professionals, and start-up entrepreneurs into the spotlight with us. It has been an honor working with these community leaders for this issue. Each person’s story and life’s work are highlighted on the pages inside. I hope our readers find value in the examples, advice, and practices that the people featured in this issue have used throughout the years to become the success they are today. We guarantee that Breezin’ Magazine will not only continue to honor those who have contributed to this thriving city but will also help those who are just joining the community and hoping to build their own business and make their mark on Tampa Bay’s metropolis. We are committed to shedding light on how entertainment events, networking, and intent combine to create a successful business, community, and culture. Now, without further delay, I am proud to present to you the Entrepreneur Edition of Breezin’ Magazine. Enjoy! Dana Blickensderfer, Editor-in-Chief

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40 Under 40 Awards


The Sweeter Things in Life

Behind the Hustle


Advocator of Spreading Hope


The Shining Star

and Stopping Cancer in its Tracks

Tampa Bay’s Techstars Startup Week

Vicky Anglo Takes On the Fashion Industry:



Finding the Good in Gaming

One Dress at a Time

Re-building One Step at a Time

Make Wedding Planning a Breeze



A Look Back:

with Breezin’s “Day Of Packages”

Community Food Pantry 2018 Highlights

Give Back: Service Your Community



Intrapreneur Boss


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Speak Your Hustle


Your Own You


PUBLISHER Hugo D. Aviles iBoss Ventures

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Dana Blickensderfer ASSISTANT EDITOR Grace Toups DESIGNER Chad Kirby ASSISTANT DESIGNER Scarlett Oneal Michael Benson Charlotte Pearson

Build a Lifestyle, Not Just a Business Extreme Event Planning What’s Cooking in Tampa Bay?

STAFF WRITER Claudia Tran Olivia Roberts Antonio Davila Ricardo Lucena Michaella Radich


CONSULTANTS | CONTRIBUTORS Bob Morrison Whitney Holtzman Merritt Martin Debbie Lundberg Vicky Anglo Kevin Murray Jeff Dervech Gracie Stemmer Rich Cannici Shannon Waters Romulo and Gabriela Camargo Alex Ramos Monica Wilson Jordan French

EVENTS | ENTERTAINMENT ADVISOR Breezin’ Entertainment & Productions

CHARITY OF CHOICE 2018 Stay in Step | SCI Recovery Center

VIDEO | PHOTOGRAPHY Luis Battistini Photography Scarlett Oneal Photography iBossTV

For all media and advertising inquires, please contact iBoss Advertising at or 813-775-7107

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40 Under 40 Awards:

Tampa Bay’s Most Inspiring and Entrepreneurial

By: Jordan French, Contributing Editor

Tampa’s community leaders today noted the need to develop and nurture a deeper bench of passionate Tampans. The great Tampa Bay -- a region with deep multicultural roots -- has emerged as a Southern force in modern trade, commerce, and finance. But who will lead its next leg of compassion and growth? Young professionals are key to the continued vibrant growth in Tampa Bay and therefore are a vital asset to our region. It is important to recognize and acknowledge those young leaders who have made their mark in the business world and bettered our community’s future.

Breezin’s 40 Under 40 Awards is Breezin’ magazine’s answer to the call for nurturing one of our vital assets. Focused on leadership, impact, and community involvement, this year’s 40 Under 40 will include a charity “donation” on 24 October 2018 at The Godfrey Hotel with sponsored Tito’s open bar with every donation, and a chance to win some time with some of the Bay area’s top professionals. Event funds donated will go toward Stay in Step’s Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center.

INTERESTING. FASCINATING. MOTIVATED & PRODUCTIVE. These are this year’s 40 under 40 to watch in 2018.

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GRACIE STEMMER President at Startup Tampa Bay ———————————————————— Gracie Stemmer (age 28) is Marketing Director at Truhair by Chelsea Scott, President of Startup Tampa Bay, and the Lead Event Organizer for Tampa Bay Startup Week. She was born in Baltimore and moved to Tampa after completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Entrepreneurship at the University of Tampa. She began working at Tampa Bay Wave, a local non-profit tech hub for entrepreneurship in Tampa Bay, while in college. She was asked to remain during her last semester in college. She worked for Tampa Bay Wave for six years, where she oversaw the execution of all marketing and advertising activity for Wave and made key decisions on new programs, campaigns, communications, and branding. She also leads Tampa Bay Startup Week, a free five-day celebration of the Tampa Community that is led by local entrepreneurs and hosts over 70 events in spaces all over town within one week. Gracie also organizes and volunteers for Startup Weekend Tampa Bay, a 54-hour competition to build a business. Gracie now manages all marketing efforts for Truhair by Chelsea Scott, a hair product company in Tampa. RYAN CLARKE Co-founder of SiteReady ———————————————————— Ryan Clarke (age 31) is SiteReady’s cofounder and current Managing Principal. His career started as a Lead Account and Project Manager for a Tampa-based technology infrastructure design and implantation company. While working with this company, he recognized an opportunity to challenge how real estate and information technology groups in enterprise corporations communicate. He founded SiteReady in 2012, and through it developed innovative ways to connect with clients and provide information about solutions and services that organizations may need to create a successful workplace technology strategy. In 2014, he was included in Tampa Bay’s Business Journal’s Up and Comer’s Hall of Fame, and in 2015 he won the Tampa Bay Technology Forum’s Emerging Technology Leader of the Year (under 30). In his current role as Managing Principle, he oversees all aspects of the company and is responsible for managing service delivery and strategic growth activities. He continues to develop new ways to integrate technology in the workplace and contribute to Tampa’s growing market.

RAY ROBSON Chessmaster ———————————————————— Ray Robson (age 23) was born in Guam and raised in Florida. He began his chess career at the age of three and learned the game from his father, Gary. In 2006, Ray defeated his first Grandmaster to earn the U.S. Chess Federation National Master title. He finished in the top ten at the World Youth Championship from 2004 to 2007, and at age 14 he became the youngest American Grandmaster, breaking former long-time record-holder Hikaru Nakamura’s record. In college, he joined the Webster University chess team where he won the 2012 Webster SPICE Cup Open and the 2013 National Collegiate Chess Championship. Since 2012, Ray has competed in several World Cup championships. In 2014, Ray earned second place in the Millionaire Chess tournament in Las Vegas. In 2015, he placed second in the U.S. Chess Championship. Ray’s currently ranks #5 in the United States and #78 internationally at the game. CALEB MADDIX Author ———————————————————— Caleb Maddix (age 16) is an entrepreneur, author, and entrepreneurship mentor for kids. He founded Kids 4 Success, a company centered on mentorship. Through his company, Caleb mentors a child for a full year. He is the author of six books, including Keys to Success for Kids, How to Have Unstoppable Confidence, and How to Make Money for Kids. The first of these books he wrote when he was 12 years old. Caleb, with his father, Matt Maddix, created a publishing company named Maddix Publishing to help other aspiring writers get published. He has created the Maddix Book Club for kids and has been voted as one of “The Top 20 Most Motivational Influencers on the Planet” and “The Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30.” He has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, Inc. Magazine, Success Magazine, Fox News, and Entrepreneur magazine. In addition to all these accomplishments, Caleb is also known globally for his public speaking, leadership, and people skills. RICKY WATTS Artist ———————————————————— Ricky Watts (age 38) was born in San Francisco, where he showed a passion for art at a young age. He often read and drew in his comics, and started his first business venture in middle school, where he would draw his fellow peers’ names for a small fee. He continued to draw while attending high school, where Watts discovered and taught

himself the art of graffiti. In 2000, Ricky Watts enrolled in at the Advertising Arts College of San Diego and studied graphic design. At the age of 24, Watts debuted his solo show “Spontaneous Combustion.” Currently, Ricky is best known for his abstract work of fluid shapes and color patterns. Ricky’s work includes everything from large murals to intricate canvases that have been showcased in cities all around the nation. KATHERINE O’DONNILEY Attorney at Trenam ———————————————————— Katherine O’Donniley (age 35) joined the legal scene at an early age. Before she was out of law school, she was already developing her career. Katherine worked for the Florida Department of Transportation and oversaw finances for Senator John Kerry’s 2004 Presidential Campaign. After law school, she worked for four years with Holland and Knight before deciding to create her own business, Singer & O’Donniley, where she worked four more years before joining real estate firm Trenam. At Trenam, she is Senior Counsel in the Real Estate and Lending Transactions Group where she focuses her practice on real estate, land use, alcohol beverage regulations, and government advocacy. She represents clients in front of various governmental bodies on the issues of zoning, land use, local government comprehensive planning, code enforcement, and alcohol beverage licensing. The U.S. Green Building Council has also accredited Katherine as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED® AP). With this certification, Katherine can advise clients on green building practices and the LEED building certification process. YULNER DIAZ Artist ———————————————————— Yulner Diaz (age 35) was born in Victoria City, Tamaulipas, Mexico. He began painting murals at a very young age and later moved to Sarasota, Florida to pursue a career as an artist. He now attends Ringling College of Art and Design, and his art has been displayed in private collections, as well as in various Florida businesses. Mi Casa in Riverview and the Feathered Serpent gallery of Saint Petersburg have both showcased Yulner’s artwork. Yulner’s work shows a strong passion for Mexican and Pre-Columbian history and European and Asian art styles. His paintings have been described as vibrant and colorful and often contain themes of self-improvement, inner peace, freedom, and happiness. Yulner has been featured in a number of different articles and was listed in CBS’s

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Best Up-and-Coming Visual Artists in Tampa Bay. In October of 2012, Diaz placed first in the Gallery’s Dia de la Raza Group Exhibition for Colon Q’ij Taj, ¡Ma Sacha’ ta, a painting which depicts a Native American-Mexican weaver. KARLA MASTRACCHIO Director of Engagement ———————————————————— Karla Mastracchio (age 36) is the Director of Engagement for the Global Initiative on Civil Society and Conflict at the University of South Florida. Karla received her degree in Communication and Political Science from USF in 2003 and later went on to teach Business Communication at the University of Iowa in the Department of Communication Studies, where she served as chair of the USF Alumni Association’s Chicago Chapter. She joined the United States Central Command in the role of Analytic Outreach and Strategic Relationships. In this role, she led an effort at USF that resulted in the first memorandum of understanding between central command and the entire university. Her work helped support 300 intelligence analysts in a project that enabled communication with experts on the subject outside of the United States. She continues to serve the Tampa community as a board member of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay and as a member of the Women in Leadership and Philanthropy Program Committee. RYAN CONIGLIARO Co-founder of Salt Block hospitality ———————————————————— Ryan Conigliaro (age 26) is the co-founder of Salt Block Hospitality. He studied at the University of Central Florida and earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management and Finance. He and his business partner, Scott Roberts, founded Salt Block Hospitality after catering at a christmas party. Both men had a strong passion for food and decided to cook seafood over an oak burning fire on a large Himalayan salt rock. They realized the great potential of this idea and started a catering company, which quickly grew into a hospitality group. Their company is widely successful and maintains this success by always aiming to innovate the food industry, exceed customer expectations, offer a phenomenal product, and provide genuine hospitality. On top of creating a successful catering business, Ryan also gives back to the community by volunteering with Caspers Company McDonald’s and the Children’s Cancer Center.

ANDREW MACHOTA Co-Founder of New Town Connections ———————————————————— Andrew Machota (age 37) is the co-founder of New Town Connections, an exclusive online social club. Andrew was born and raised in Rolling Prairie, Indiana. He went to Indiana University and earned his degree in Accounting and Finance. Machota worked as a CPA in public accounting and corporate finance for several years before realizing his real passion for entrepreneurship. In 2011, Andrew moved to Tampa Bay and launched his first start-up company that was centered on professional golf and tennis tournaments. Through his efforts, Andrew realized the importance of making connections and created a platform for old and young professionals to do just that. He built New Town Connections in 2015. In addition to founding this company, he also founded MRA Media Group, a publishing company, and wrote Friend Request Accepted- Connecting in a Disconnected World in 2017. RYAN SULLIVAN CEO of Truhair ———————————————————— Ryan Sullivan (age 30) is the co-owner and CEO of TRUHAIR. He earned his Bachelor of Science in 2009 from Syracuse University with a focus on entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises. After he graduated, he moved from New York to Tampa and earned his master’s degree at USF. He is a founding partner of The Beauty Groupe (TBG), a management company that helps brands with on-air sales businesses. Through his work with TBG and TRUHAIR, he has brought several additional brands to the company that brought the potential for television sales. In addition to being an entrepreneur, he also teaches skills in entrepreneurship and trains others how to be entrepreneurs in the Tampa Bay business community and has been a part of launching the local chapter of Startup Weekend. He serves as his chapter’s advisor and global facilitator. Ryan is also the founder of Never Have I Ever (NHIE) Tampa Bay, a popular blog about the cultural and food experiences that can be found in the Tampa area. FERDIAN JAP Event Coordinator for Big City Events ———————————————————— Ferdian Jap (age 33) is a partner at Big City Events, an event company that creates concepts and then reaches out to sponsors for capital and resources. Big City Events is responsible for several events in Tampa, such as the Summer of Rum Festival, Tampa River Lights Festival, Tampa Margarita Festival,

Gasparilla Music Festival, and Gasparilla Film Festival. These events not only bring tourism and entertainment to Tampa Bay, but they also donate a certain percentage of the profit to charity. In the past, Ferdian has worked as a Director at Bucknell-Petrilak and associates, LLC and as a Project Specialist for the Friends of the Tampa Riverwalk. In addition to event planning, Ferdian has an avid interest in real estate investment, leasing commercial real estate, and flipping homes. His interests have led him to obtain several degrees, including an Associate of Arts, a bachelor’s in biomedical science, a master’s in entrepreneurship, an M.B.A., and he is currently working on a law degree. BIANCA BURROWS Artist ———————————————————— Bianca Burrows (age 28) is a mixed-media pop artist from Westchester, New York. Her art comes in many forms, including canvas, murals, street art, and chalkboard art. One of her most famous works is Biggie Smalls. She moved to Tampa to pursue her education at the University of Tampa. She obtained a bachelor’s in fine arts with a concentration in painting in 2012 while minoring in graphic design. She is a full-time artist that merges street art, pop art, and her custom flare depending on the subject matter of a piece. Her signature style is a mix of handpainted acrylic and vintage paper. Some of Bianca’s major influences include Banksy, Andy Warhol, Swoon, and the street-art movement as a whole. She currently owns BB Art and has been a part of several charity efforts. She was a partner with Fresh Kitchen, an art instructor, and the owner of Keep Calm and Eat Paleo. STEVEN FAGE Founder of Five Nines ———————————————————— Steven Fage (age 34) is the founder and President of Five Nines Automation, LLC, a manufacturer’s representative agency that focuses on providing plastics manufacturing technologies and industrial supplies to the plastics manufacturing market. He studied engineering at the New England Institute of Technology and spent a considerable amount of time working in engineering with several notable companies, including Canon Virginia, Inc., Verizon Wireless, and 4FX Design. Steven moved to Florida after deciding he wanted more adventure in his life. After moving, he obtained his master’s degree in entrepreneurship at the University of South Florida and founded Five Nines. His goal is to empower all individuals’ operations in the manufacturing industry to make informed decisions on what will help them take control and grow their

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businesses. Steven also has considerable volunteer experience and has been a fundraiser-cyclist with The ALS Association, a Tampa Bay Ambassador with Tampa Bay Partnership, and a mentor for the Hillsborough Education Foundation. NATHAN SCHWAGLER Co-Director of Dali Museum ———————————————————— Nathan Schwagler (age 35) is the founder of Nathan Schwagler & Associates and the founding Co-Director of the Dali Museum Innovation Labs. In this role, Schwagler serves as the lead program designer and executive facilitator. The Dali Labs offer corporate education courses on creativity and innovation, design and facilitation of applied creative labs, and custom-designed corporate offsite retreats. Nathan is also a certified practitioner of LEGO Serious Play and a certified administrator of the entrepreneurial mindset profile and creative problem-solving preference measure, FourSight. Through these services, Nathan has helped over one hundred organizations and innovators map development and

deployment of their innovation abilities to drive business outcomes. Nathan is also the author of several peer-reviewed and popular press articles, and he’s the co-author of an upcoming textbook on creativity and innovation. Nathan earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from SUNY Buffalo State and a dual Master of Science degree in creative problem solving from the International Center for Studies in Creativity and Applied Entrepreneurship from the University of Florida. FARUKH TAREEN President of Outfront Marketing Consultants ———————————————————— Farukh Tareen (age 29) is President and CEO at Outfront Marketing Consultants. Outfront Marketing Consultants specializes in new client acquisition and creation of strategic business partnerships. Outfront Consultants creates business strategies that are tailored specially to their clients needs, wants, and industry. Farukh specializes in large-scale investments and presenting financial numbers to teams of investors.

He has several years of venture capital experience in technology and pharma companies. He also has experience in deals of over $10 million in total investments and has followed several investment deals from their beginning to end. Farukh has served as an independent consultant for Emerald Health Sciences Inc., and Fat Dog Spirits Distillery. He is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at New Horizon Rx Group and studied at the University of South Florida from 2011-2013. He is fluent in English, Hindu, and Urdu. MARA GLAZER Business Coach ———————————————————— Mara Glazer (age 32) is a business coach. She struggled in school and even had teachers tell her they would give up on her. After school, she began working in the New York City fashion industry. In 2003, she had her spine infused with titanium rods, but in 2009, she tore her spine from the stress of the rods and of her job. She realized that she could not work 9-5 anymore and needed a ...job that would give her the freedom she

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needed to take care of herself. She talked to her father and began working for him at Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle (GKIC). He gave her the job of finding out how to make money with social media. Mara added an additional seven figures to the company’s revenues in 278 days. After her success, her father sold the business. But, Mara knew she did not want to be anyone’s employee, so she started her own company. She became involved in real estate and started training entrepreneurs to be successful and take charge of their businesses. KYLE TAYLOR CEO of ———————————————————— Kyle Taylor (age 31) is the founder and CEO of The Penny Hoarder. Based in downtown St. Petersburg, The Penny Hoarder has won countless awards, including the Fastest Growing Private Media Company by Inc. 500/5000. The Penny Hoarder focuses on journalism and creative storytelling combined with innovative revenue-generation that puts the audience first. Before Taylor founded the Penny Hoarder, he spent six years working on political campaigns, including Senator John Kerry’s presidential campaign and Governor Howard Dean’s presidential campaign. During these campaigns, Kyle crafted messages, directed field strategy, and raised millions of dollars for various causes. Unfortunately, working on campaigns left him without a reliable source of income, and after attending the University of Colorado and the University of South Florida, Kyle was struggling with student debt. Because of this debt, Kyle began blogging about how he was making and saving money, and The Penny Hoarder was born. AKEMI FISHER Amazon Queen ———————————————————— Akemi Fisher (age 38) is the Amazon Queen at Love and Launch. She’s an e-commerce consultant, millionaire author, and business coach. Through her services, she has helped thousands of Amazon sellers scale and grow their businesses to as much as eight figures. Her agency Love and Launch offers services from search-engine optimization to graphic design. Akemi is all about creating new and innovative models and proprietary software to keep up with digital marketing. Akemi is also CEO of Social Swayy, which creates scalable influencer and content marketing campaigns. It is a network made up of over 8,000 influencers, who reach more than 55 million people every month on different verticals. Besides owning these two businesses and being a marketing queen, she’s also the founder of

Mommy Guru, a parenting blog she started in 2012. She has been featured in several notable publications including People. com, Huffington Post, BabyCenter, Babble, Examiner, Yahoo!, and SheKnows. ANTHONY ALAYON Creator of the Fat Extinction Program ———————————————————— Anthony Alayon (age 31) is the creator of the Fat Extinction Program. It all began when Anthony was in high school. He was asked if he would be interested in joining his school’s body-building team. Anthony was not sure if he wanted to join at first, but he eventually decided to join the team in his junior year. He began following the diets and workouts and saw results in a matter of days. His first year he placed second overall and won his weight class. The next year he joined the team again and had a mentor who helped him gain first place. He went on to college at the University of South Florida and after graduating, worked as an accountant for two years. However, Anthony always knew he wanted to be his own boss. After those first two years, his online business took off. Now he is a successful entrepreneur, certified trainer, and has helped many people achieve their fitness goals quickly. TOM BELL Co-founder of ViralStyle ———————————————————— Tom Bell (age 30) is the co-founder of ViralStyle, a print-on-demand platform that allows anyone to create, sell, and distribute custom products worldwide. ViralStyle enables business owners to begin selling their goods at no upfront cost. Tom created this company after he experienced the harsh reality of selling t-shirts online. He struggled to find a channel that would allow him to be creative and still make money. After his failed t-shirt business venture, Tom had nothing except a plastic Walmart dresser full of clothes and the drive to succeed. It was a low point for him, but he knew that he could get out of this because his goals and systems were still intact. He launched ViralStyle in 2014. Their mantra was and is “Built by marketers for marketers.” Through ViralStyle, Tom has personally generated over 5 million in revenue by selling physical products online. In addition to providing an excellent business forum, ViralStyle has donated over 25,000 shirts to local charities and won a corporate philanthropy award in 2016. CARLEY OCHS Founder and CEO Bourbon and Boweties ———————————————————— Carley Ochs (age 32) is the CEO and

founder of Bourbon and Boweties. She started her company after she made a few bracelets by wrapping the wire around a red solo cup. She made these bracelets for family and friends with stones she brought back from China. At the urging of her friends, she showed her jewelry to a store owner in Charleston, South Carolina. The store owner immediately agreed to sell them and requested more. Carley reached out to a few more store owners, and her company began growing. Within the same year, she had orders from over 45 stores. She was handcrafting and processing each bangle on her own. Carley started training her mother and close friends. With time, her business grew so large that she began contracting the jewelry making to local men and women in Tampa Bay. By 2013, she was ready to hire her first employee. Today her bangles are sold in several stores all over the United States, and each piece is still made by local men and women in Tampa Bay. ANNA COATS Founder and Editor of Marry Me Tampa Bay ———————————————————— Anna Coats (age 36) is the founder and editor of Marry Me Tampa Bay, an online publication and Tampa Bay’s biggest local wedding resource for brides and industry professionals. Marry Me Tampa Bay was created when Anna was planning her own Tampa wedding. She conducted hours of research trying to find the perfect place and vendors for her wedding. After seeing how difficult this was, she decided to pull all that information together and make it available to other Tampa Brides. Marry Me Tampa Bay features local wedding inspiration and highlights amazing wedding professionals. It contains information on everything from vendor to promotions and discounts. In addition to creating Marry Me Tampa Bay, Anna is also a founding member of Aisle Society, which showcases curated wedding content from the top bloggers across the world, and she also offers marketing services to wedding professionals through her consulting business, Married to Marketing. CHRISTINA CAMPBELL Creator of The Mommy Spot ———————————————————— Christina Campbell (age 33) is the creator of The Mommy Spot Tampa Bay. She is a married mother of two and native of Tampa Bay. Before Christina finished college, she worked with a well-known Tampa Bay event planner, which gave her experience, a chance to network, and the confidence for her to leap into the corporate world. Christina graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in interpersonal and organizational communications and

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remained in the corporate world until the birth of her first child. When her child was born, Christina became a stay-at-home mother. After having her second child, Christina began writing a blog to chronicle life as a mother of two. She realized she enjoyed helping other moms, and she started to see her influence grow. It did not take long for Christina to realize the next natural step was to turn her blog into a website directed at mothers in Tampa Bay. Christina has experienced great success and has even been featured multiple times on the Fox13 segment “Mommy MustHaves.” TOM RAAD Co-owner Lair Services —————————————————————————————— Thomas Raad (age 34) is the Vice President and co-owner of Lair Services, Inc., a managed service provider. He oversees the day-to-day operations of client services and manages Lair’s sales growth and planning. His goal for Lair Services is to provide cost-effective and efficient tech solutions to every client while remaining committed to high-quality service and support. His skills have developed from various jobs, including a field technician for Verizon and Vice President of Operations at Xelerated Computer. Thomas earned a degree in management information systems from the University of South Florida and has helped Lair Services earn the “USF Fast 56,” an award that is given to the fastest growing University of South Florida alumnus-owned or led organization in the world. Lair Services keeps Thomas busy, but he still takes time to professionally network himself in the Tampa Bay community. LAURA BEVERLIN Founder of Style Adventures —————————————————————————————— Laura Beverlin (age 29) is the founder and writer of Style Adventures. She created the blog after taking daily outfit photos for a year on Instagram. With the help of her photographer husband, she took her fashion expertise to a full-time blog in 2016. Laura has a background in finance but has always loved all things fashion and beauty. She wanted to help give women new ideas on how to style outfits. Her favorite type of tutorial includes taking a day look to a night look. She would describe her own personal style as “casual chic,” but it also varies from day to day, providing fashion inspiration to every woman. Her secret to success is consistency in photos, posting regularly, and engaging with her audience. Laura also has a passion for traveling, biking, and her two children. DR. JACQUELINE DARNA CEO of No MO Nausea —————————————————————————————— Jacqueline Darna (age 32) is the CEO and medical inventor of No Mo Nausea, a revolutionary drug-free elastic wristband that utilizes acupressure with aromatherapy to provide fast-acting relief for nausea vomiting and migraines. Before creating her wristbands, Jacqueline was a high school science teacher. She got a degree in anesthesiology and started working for Greater Florida Anesthesiologists. The knowledge she gained from studying anesthesiology helped her create No Mo Nausea wristbands. The idea came to her when she was giving birth to her second child. She had a Cesarean section and fell ill afterward. The only relief she had was from a pair of peppermint leaves. Using her medical knowledge, she decided to take a small ball of gauze to each wrist at the P6 point and started feeling better, but she still needed the leaves occasionally. When Jacqueline was released from the hospital, she searched for a product that would help her and others, but she couldn’t find one that suited her needs perfectly, so she decided to create her own. No Mo Nausea is currently

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part of eleven clinical trials. Published in two medical white papers, it has also been featured in several magazines and news shows. JOSHUA WYATT Owner of South Tampa Dentistry ———————————————————— Joshua Wyatt (age 36) is the owner of several South Tampa Dentistry locations. Joshua decided he wanted to be a dentist in the 5th grade and grew more interested with every time he got his teeth cleaned. He attended the University of Alabama and received his Doctor of Medicine in dentistry from the University of Pittsburgh in 2009. His favorite parts of dentistry are patient care. He is a member of the American Dental Association, the Florida Dental Association, and the Hillsborough Dental Association. He has kept his skills up to date by continuing his education. He has attended the Academy Occlusion course, DOCSA sedation course, Tulsa Endodontic Success, and many others. He has also volunteered as a dentist for the Judeo Christian Health Clinic and has experience in clinical research. Outside of dentistry, Joshua is an avid sports fan who enjoys exercising and spending time with his family. JEN MCDONALD Vice President at Merchant Insurance Solutions ———————————————————— Jennifer McDonald (age 38) is the Vice President at Merchant Insurance Solutions. She is a private client commercial insurance agent and helps educate entrepreneurs on liability, workers’ compensation, auto, property, or umbrella. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University and had used her talent and education to help others. She has been a guest speaker for several events, including the 2016 Florida SBDC at Hillsborough County’s Speed Consulting Liability Insurance, the Veterans Entrepreneurship Training in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and the Hillsborough Community College Entrepreneurship Certificate Program in 2014, 2015, and 2017. In addition to educating others, she also helps her community in several ways. She has been Co-Chair for the Dog Park at Hyde Park, the Social Committee Chair, Social Media Activity Co-Chair, Home Tour Chair, Co-Chair for the 2016 Patrons Party, and President of the Board of Directors for the Historic Hyde Park Neighborhood Association. She has also been a director for Faces of Courage and a Business Advisory Board Member to Hillsborough Community College.

JEFFREY DERVECH Founder of Dervech Real Estate, Inc. ———————————————————— Jeffrey Dervech (age 29) is the founder and President of Dervech Real Estate. He was raised in the Tampa Bay area and was a graduate of Tampa Jesuit High School and Florida State University. Jeff’s ultimate goal is to be a leader in the commercial real estate industry through ethical behavior and financial responsibility while developing a solid foundation for a longterm career. His first job was in investment sales at Realnet of Tampa Bay Investment Real Estate Brokerage from May of 2010 to December of 2011. Jeff then was then a member of Real Estate Acquisitions for Boos Development Group Inc. from January 2012 to September of 2014. Now, he serves Tampa Bay as a senior executive analyst for Rymer Strategies Real Estate Advisors and is the President of Dervech Real Estate, Inc. BOBBY SOROORY Acquisitions at Convergent Capital Partners LLC ———————————————————— Bobby Soroory (age 33) works in acquisitions at Convergent Capital Partners. He graduated in 2008 from California State University-Northridge with a Bachelor of Science degree in real estate and finance. He also acquired two masters’ degrees from the University of Tampa in business administration and entrepreneurship in 2010 and a Master of Science in finance in 2011. He started his career as a principal at BOA Asset Management, LLC from July 2007 to December 2011. He then became a financial analyst at Convergent Capital Partners, LLC from January 2012 to December 2012. Now, Bobby works in acquisitions at Convergent Capital Partners LLC. Bobby is a member of the Society of International Business Fellows, Urban Land Institute, the Real Estate Investment Council of Tampa Bay, and serves on the Board of Fellows at the University of Tampa. LAUREN DAVENPORT Founder and CEO of The Symphony Agency ———————————————————— Lauren Davenport (age 29) is the founder and CEO of The Symphony Agency. She founded the company in her early 20s and found that her natural digital marketing savviness and entrepreneurial drive grew her organization from a boutique consulting business into a multi-million dollar agency. Lauren has received notable awards, including being named as a finalist for Business Woman of the Year awarded by the Tampa Bay Business Journal and a

winner of The Business Observer’s 40 Under 40 Award. She has also been featured in the media on PBS, iHeartRadio, The Smart Agency Podcast, Tampa Bay Times, Gravitas Magazine, and more. Also, she holds certifications in digital marketing from companies including Google, HubSpot, WooRank, and Yext. JEFF MUSGRAVE Broker at the Musgrave Group ———————————————————— Jeff Musgrave (age 29) is the founder of his own real estate firm The Musgrave Group and works as a licensed real estate broker. He partners with his wife, Nicole, helping many buyers, sellers, and investors navigate the real estate sector in the Tampa Bay area. They recently published a book titled ‘A Greater Tampa Bay,’ which delves into the explosive growth the area is seeing as well as the preceding years of infrastructure and groundwork that was done to put Tampa into a position where it could capitalize on growth opportunity. He is also the event director for Corporate Sportsfest Inc., personally handling the staffing, setup, breakdown, vendors, sponsors, logistics, and day of coordination for the event. Also, from September of 2012 to May of 2015, he was the founder of Click Digital Solutions. He did this as a short break from the real estate industry to adventure over into online representation for businesses. NATALIYA GRYGORYEVA President of Araliya Valuation Consulting ———————————————————— Nataliya Grygoryeva (age 31) is the President of Araliya Valuation Consulting. She has ten years of experience in performing valuation analysis for individuals and corporate entities. She is a NACVA Member and Registered Practitioner, a NACVA Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA), and has an AICPA Certificate – Business Valuation. She gained her Bachelor of Science in international business and management, minor in finance, honors graduate, in December 2008, and a Master of Science in finance, honors graduate, in December 2009, both at the University of Tampa. She also attended Oxford University in Oxford, United Kingdom, gaining an education in training in economics and management from January to April 2008, and extensive continuing professional education (CPE) in business valuation and litigation support fields. She is also affiliated with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA). Her highly valued experiences and skills have also led her to be a presenter

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at “Discounts and Premiums” Discussion Forum Presentation in New York, New York 2011, “Valuing Closely Held Companies” CPE Webinar Presentation BDO LLP, New York, NY 2012, and “Valuing Customer Relationships” CPE Webinar Presentation BDO LLP, New York, NY 2014. JOEL MEDGEBOW Founder of Medgebow Law ———————————————————— Joel Medgebow (age 33) is the founder of Medgebow Law, a law firm specializing in criminal defense, business and real estate litigation, personal injury, and family law. Before founding his firm, he served as a certified legal intern with the Virgil Hawkins Criminal Defense Clinic. He has also worked for the Alachua County public defender’s office, representing hundreds of clients for felony and misdemeanor charges. He also worked for South Florida law firm Tripp Scott as a summer associate in the litigation department. He received magna cum laude for his degree in criminal justice, with a minor in business, from Florida State University. He also has a cum laude law degree from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

TAYLOR PRECOURT Co-Owner/CEO of Loving Life Today Inc. ———————————————————— Taylor Precourt (age 29) is the former Director of Business Development at Key Person of Influence USA. She is currently the Co-Owner/CEO of Loving Life Today Inc. She spent most of her career as a leader in the IT space with Power Design Inc. from April of 2012 to November of 2017. During her time there, she helped Power Design win the Gold Innovations in Technology Award and the Constructech Vision Award. In 2018, she was named Emerging Leader of the Year by the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Top Women in Construction by Constructech Magazine, Business Woman of the Year, and 40 Under 40 nominee in 2018. She has also served as a mentor for the TBBJ’s Mentoring Monday, spoke at Tampa Bay Startup Week, and was published in Construction Dive Magazine and Constructech Magazine. TODD REID Vice President of Finance and Administration at a Tampa-based Private Equity Portfolio company ———————————————————— Todd Reid (age 36) is the Vice President of Finance and Administration of a

fast-growing acquirer and operator of real estate. Todd graduated from the University of Florida’s Fisher School of Accounting in 2005 and Columbia Business School in 2012. He began his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), where he worked with several public companies, as well as many smaller, privately-owned companies. Later, Todd moved to PwC’s consulting team in Zurich, Switzerland. From there, he managed projects in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, where he gained foundational experience for his career. After Columbia, Todd worked in investment banking, where he advised private equity-owned, privately-held, and public company clients on numerous transactions, which were mostly sell-side and buy-side mergers & acquisitions. KELLY FLANNERY CEO of South Tampa Chamber of Commerce ———————————————————— Kelly Flannery (age 31) is the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce’s current president and CEO. Her workdays consist of working with business owners and community leaders to help Tampa’s community remain the best area to live in the country. She works towards her goal by assisting various

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local businesses and people located in the area. She also has first-hand experience in assisting the community directly through various local programs where she has received several honorable mentions as well as prestigious awards for her commitment to the public. Through her involvement she has worked with Florida Association of Chamber Professionals, the West Central Regional Chair, the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida’s Board of Directors, The Centre Club Board of Governors and many, many more organizations. For her efforts, she has been recognized by the FACP as a certified Chamber, an honor that only 24 other chambers in the state of Florida have been able to attain. In 2018, she was recognized as “Best in the Biz” by the readers of the Tampa Bay Business Journal and was recognized by the U.S. Chamber, earning the Three-Star Chamber of valor. Throughout her career, she has received the Tampa Bay BPW Foundation “Woman of the Year,” Tampa Bay Business Journal Power 100 honor, the Business of Pride Honoree award, and more. KARLA DETTLAFF Vice President of the Dettlaff Family Foundation —————————————————————————————— Karla Dettlaff (age 33) is the COO of Dettlaff Inc., the industry leader in Telehealth and global pharmaceuticals. Karla serves as the Vice President of the Dettlaff Family Foundation, where she has placed a tremendous amount of her energy in supporting the Tampa Bay community since the foundation’s inception in 2017. Dettlaff utilized her background in architecture in her most recent projects to help renovate the interior of Children’s Cancer Center (CCC) in Tampa, Florida. Karla is a major contributing sponsor for the annual CCC Gelatin Plunge and the CCC Halloween Party. She serves on the board for the CCC Wine Women & Shoes charity events. Wine Women & Shoes’ expert team has managed over 175 well-attended events and helped net more than $30 million dollars for their charity partners in its time. Karla works with the St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital’s annual Halloween festivities. Karla graduated from Florida International University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in architecture. Currently, Karla works as Nu Image Medical’s Chief Financial Officer where she is responsible for budget management and all other strategic financial strategies. With the aid of her foundation, she has produced significant renovations for the Children’s Cancer Center. The toy room storage, library, and the staircase of the cancer center facility have all been successfully renovated by the Dettlaff Family Foundation. Currently, Karla’s non-profit aims to help build funds towards 24 programs focused on aiding daily assistance for local families with children who are fighting lifethreatening illnesses. DAN HENRY Internet Marketer/Entrepreneur —————————————————————————————— Dan Henry (age 32) started his entrepreneurship career by writing a blog on electronic cigarettes. To his surprise, this quickly turned a profit and would lay the foundation for expanding his ventures in the future. Just fourteen months after he initially launched his blog, he was able to earn a whopping $30,000 a month. Dan’s next venture occurred after an unfortunate algorithm change that caused his income to plummet. The learning experience drove him towards his next path where he discovered Facebook advertising. Through his vast experiences with success in the online advertising industry, his online advertising agency was born. He used the knowledge of the Facebook advertising model to aid his clients in making the most out of their advertising investments. Currently, Dan runs online courses where he has around 3,000 students enrolled in his courses, where some of his students have successfully been able to earn over $50,000 per month.



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HONORABLE MENTIONS —————————————————— David Anderson and Lanfranco Pescante, Business Partners of Nocturnal Group ———————————————————— David Anderson (age 35) and Lanfranco Pescante (age 32) are the partners behind the Nocturnal Group, an entertainment company that primarily focuses on bars and restaurants, but they also have a history of hosting more significant events. A concert and event company, Nocturnal Group is responsible for introducing various notable bands and groups that have performed in the Tampa Bay area. Artists including Avicii, Nelly, and Vanilla Ice have all performed on stages put together by the Nocturnal Group. The duo’s most recent project is to establish Osteria, a residential project located across the street from their headquarters, where celebrity chef Fabio Viviani will be featured. The company was founded by David Anderson and Lanfranco Pescante in 2016.

Their headquarters is currently located in the Franklin Manor, in the heart of downtown Tampa. The company’s ultimate objective is to create a space for Tampa’s urban core. Julieanna Goddard aka YesJulz, Founder of 1 AM Vibes ———————————————————— Julieanna Goddard (age 30) is the founder of 1 AM Vibes, an entertainment company that aims to provide a unique atmosphere for every city across the nation. Julieanna, better known by her alias “YesJulz,” has had a history of working with some of the hiphop industry’s top artists. YesJulz’s unique take on the entertainment industry is quickly transforming to set a new standard on what modern-day record label models should look like. Her motto “never not working” is not a metaphor, as she often finds herself working an egregious number of hours due

to her “dusk until dawn” mentality. Not only does she work as the founder and CEO of 1 AM Vibes, but she also manages talent for her record label and uses her influence on social media to strengthen her presence as one of the top music industry entrepreneurs. Julz has worked with 070 Shake, a notable up-and-coming artist who has been featured on Kanye West’s, Pusha T’s, and Nas’s most recent albums. The New York Times has dubbed Julz as “Snapchat Royalty,” a title that is earned due to an enormous presence across various social media platforms. With over half a million followers on Instagram, it’s no wonder that YesJulz presence has helped maintain her incredible performance through both her marketing company 1 AM Vibes and her continuously growing record label.

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Behind the

HUSTLE By: Olivia Roberts

iBOSS ADVERTISING has been the unstoppable force behind countless startups since 2015, under the expert leadership of cofounders, Hugo D. Aviles and Dana Blickensderfer. The Digital Media Agency, located in the heart of Ybor City, has quietly provided support, guidance, and wisdom for prominent businesses around the globe.

The secret behind the iBoss winning streak is their Success Accelerator, a method that embraces the rapid technological innovation and boundary-breaking creative energy that have come to define, and redefine, the digital landscape. iBoss recognizes that fresh ideas build better industries, platforms, services, channels, and products. The entrepreneurs behind these startups inspire creativity in their business that creates new challenges that push the status quo. Challenges, in fact, that make excellent use of iBoss’ cutting-edge suite of digital services. However, iBoss is not the only one who gains from this partnership. When a startup is measured, the weak points are evident. Most n e w b u s i n e s s e s a re h e a v y o n creative horsepower but light on executive know-how. Unfortunately, creative potential doesn’t translate into advertising expertise, expert guidance, or the lucrative

partnerships required to really take a growing business to the next level. iBoss Advertising provides the exposure to the executive leadership that new entrepreneurs need to position their company for success. The iBoss team of expert specialists is fully-equipped in a wide range of digital industry skill sets designed to market and advertise the products, services, and the company’s branding to their desired market. In short, iBoss turns traffic into customers. By focusing on attractive offers, iBoss encourages the intended audience to look and pay attention what a startup has to offer. For iBoss, it is about designing marketing messages that call out and hook attention. It is this kind of campaign execution that gives consumers a reason to develop a relationship with the brand and come back for more. By building up the brand’s message through various strategic tactics of our in-house methods,

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iBoss’ clients win the trust of their audience. By offering services such as website development, search engine optimization, social media marketing, email marketing, content development, scaling system integration, and digital marketing (to name only a few), this advertising agency gives both startup and veteran businesses their best chance of being seen and heard by potential consumers. All of these services are custom-tailored to meet the business’ needs. No two campaigns are ever alike.

iBoss empowers their clients the same way they empower their team of expert specialists. At iBoss, specialists are encouraged to take initiative at every opportunity. Each specialist is an absolute authority in their field, a boss. And each boss is fully backed by iBoss’ leadership to create an award-winning digital advertising experience that will b e c o m e t h e c l i e n t ’s c u s t o m e r journey. Each specialist approaches a client task with the same level of passionate, engaged, and motivated energy that anyone working at this

level would expect. This is what it means to be an iBoss. If you are an entrepreneur who is just starting or a seasoned veteran who has been struggling to get your business to the next level, the missing ingredient may be the right strategic partnership. With iBoss Digital Advertising Agency powering your business, the force behind your hustle, you can be confident and rest assured that your business will be in good hands. The team at iBoss is standing by.


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hen you hear the word automation as a business owner, what comes to mind? Hands-off system-integration? Drastic efficiency improvements? Steep cost-reductions? Savings in time, money, and attention? At iBoss Advertising, we do just that and more! We are a full-service metricsdriven digital agency that helps business owners get more clients and customers for their products and services by delivering unmatched experiences through various digital platforms. Since iBoss Advertising launched in 2015, our team has remained devoted to building brand success for our clients around what we believe are the four

pillars to any successful business – measure, scale, optimize, and automate. In every industry business owners are pursuing the same goal: prospect traffic that is funneled in a systematic and scalable way that produces results, with less overhead costs, all while delivering consistent, memorable experiences for their target customers.


As busy as business owners can get, we see them time and time again run into specific challenges when trying to automate and scale their business. The first challenge: they don’t know where to start. Like most it is easy to hear someone else’s story about their business model and see their big picture, but often times when it comes to our own business it can be hard to apply the day-to-day managerial tasks in order to paint your own big picture and see what can be optimized for a greater return on investment. Another challenge we see is technology implementation. A lot of clients come to us frustrated because implementing the proper digital technology for automating

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and scaling their business can be incredibly difficult. The landscape is always changing and there are a lot of moving parts required to create and leverage automation properly. It can feel overwhelming so they end up tired and frustrated. The single biggest challenge we see is the lack of tracking tools and software’s integrated into the business so you can visibly see reporting and gain insight into what is happening from traffic lead to buyer. As a result of all of these challenges, business owners do not have time and stop trying to implement these tools. But, it isn’t a software problem. It’s educating and empowering the business owner on how to correctly learn the process and use these tools to empower your business through leveraging automation correctly. Once you understand, it can be a simple process. At iBoss we help you do just that! We believe in these systems and tools so strongly and have seen our clients 10x their business with our solutions as a result. We choose to work with select business owners that also believe in technology and in the tremendous power technology aids in the production and evolution of the business world. We knew that in order to achieve and implement this power into the business world, we had to create and deliver solutions and a process flow that makes automation simple. So, at iBoss we have invested deeply in our own proprietary technology, business development, and operational system’s experience. We live and breathe automation. We have researched and tested its impact on businesses in a variety of industries.

The end result is a powerful workflow solution that is designed to get you to your desired results – to help business owners get more clients by delivering unmatched experiences through digital technology and automation integration. As Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock. com states, “With the right machinelearning tools, you can achieve maximum efficiency and turbocharge your business.” And as Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart wisely said, “The best management style is not to micromanage or be completely hands-off; it’s to look over the shoulder.” The most exciting part is how these tools, once the systems are in place, unlocks massive potential for a business owner to measure, scale, optimize and automate to next level lead efficiency and business production.

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Shining St r of Tampa Bay’s Techstars Startup Week By: Gracie Stemmer


n entrepreneur has to wear many hats, and no one knows this more than Gracie Stemmer. As the marketing director for TRUHAIR by Chelsea Scott, President of Startup Tampa Bay, and last years co-lead of Techstars Startup Week Tampa Bay, it’s not an understatement to say that Stemmer is a woman among the stars. However, managing these roles wasn’t the easiest at first but has become second nature, as Stemmer explains herself.

Be a good leader and genuinely care

about the success of others.

That’s called empathy, and what truly makes women superior leaders most of the time.”

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“I embrace the overlap. It’s a huge asset now actually. I’ve got such large and diverse networks among each of my roles that it only makes sense to cross-pollinate all of these awesome people.” Unfortunately, in the world of business, many can agree that the male-dominant field can present obstacles and hindrances to some women. However,

Stemmer tends to turn her nose at such challenges. “I don’t deal with it. Honestly. I don’t blink an eye at it. I don’t give it the time of day. I just keep moving along. That’s my style. I’m not about handicaps,” Stemmer stated. “Be a good leader and genuinely care about the success of others. That’s called empathy, and what truly makes women superior

leaders most of the time.” As co-lead organizer of the Fourth Annual Techstars Startup Week, Stemmer knew her team had to be at the top of their game to host such a monumental event. Thankfully, her network of help was one that would skyrocket her expectations.

outside of Techstars too. Now, Startup Tampa Bay is fully up and running AND GROWING! largely in part due to Ryan and Allison,” Stemmer said.

Her team, Startup Tampa Bay board members Ryan Sullivan

Startup Week is an annual, five-day celebration of Tampa Bay’s hard work and unique entrepreneurial identity. It is a conference that builds momentum and opportunity around entrepreneurship, led by entre-

and Allison Barkley, helped her get into the startup community years ago. Since launching in 2014, the team continues to shine and rock the stage at each annual Techstars Startup Week.

preneurs. For Gracie, running the event was a time-consuming process, where relationship building was a constant every single day, especially in the three-to-six-month period leading up to the event.

“A couple of years ago I decided we needed to start a non-profit so we could more easily raise funds locally for Startup Week and run events

“There is a whole team of people with intricate jobs to ensure the success of this event,” Gracie said. “There are always tears and frustrations in the hours

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leading up to the event, but we are natural solution finders. It’s what keeps us coming back as volunteers and doing more even when we are stressed and consumed with our own lives.” The event is led by the entrepreneurs of Tampa Bay, where they organize a series of events around topics they are passionate about. They are the ones in charge of vetting the speakers, utilizing their connections to bring in big names, and no name could be more significant than Gary Vaynerchuk.

local liquor store into one of the first wine e-commerce platforms, growing his family business dramatically in sales. During this time, he leveraged his own content on social media and began to build his own brand. It became the pillar of his advertising agency, VaynerMedia, servicing brands with an ever-expanding variety of offerings. Gracie, a personal fan of Gary for many years, met him at the 2018 Fourth Annual Techstars Startup Week, where he was scheduled as the keynote speaker for the event.

Gary’s success as an entrepreneur began in the late 90s when he saw the internet as an op“I have never seen an event in portunity to expand his father’s Tampa Bay with such high ener-

gy where people are so incredibly pumped about starting up, meeting other entrepreneurs, and learning new skills. It’s an event for anyone whether you have an idea, a startup, or are an intrapreneur,” Gracie said. His on-stage persona inspired entrepreneurs of all ages to stay motivated and hungry, where he explained that working hard and doing the best by others, encouraging those around you, and building a support team, are the factors to creating success. “Talk to each other. There’s nothing I can tell you from this stage that is as useful as connecting to five people you

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Gary’s inspiration and wise words have stuck with Gracie during her time as an entrepreneur. She finds the people around her and builds her tribe, taking those she works with who have mutual goals and aspirations and giving them support. Gracie’s drive to build her brand as a confident female leader in the Tampa area has grown through her work with Startup Week. Creating something and watching it grow, knowing that it makes a significant impact on the community yearly, is what pushes Gracie to keep working hard. As an inspiration for others wanting to build their personal brand within Tampa Bay, Gracie had these words to give.


people celebrate yourself.” with and

meet here tonight,” Vaynerchuk stated. His points of spreading kindness and empathy registered with the crowd who saw him that night, and had people leaving with an attitude of enthusiasm and hope, knowing that they were a part of something growing, something big.

“I am so inspired by all of the stories I hear afterward about how people met at Startup Week, or started-up at Startup Week, or how the week was a turning point for them in some way. The event has grown into something so much larger, as we imagined it would, and the organizing team continues to grow and evolve,” Gracie said.

“Connect with people and celebrate yourself. I wish I could say I’ve always been the confident female leader that I am today, but to be honest, it took time. Unfortunately, as females, we’re taught not to boast or brag and to be humble, not stand out. It took time and hard work to build confidence. Then one day I realized I’d done a lot. I know things other people don’t know because I have experience doing so. Work hard, but don’t forget to celebrate yourself in the minutia of it all. If you’ve accomplished something, you deserve to talk about it and be proud. Plus, it will open up doors you don’t realize are there when you are confident and talk about your accomplishments.”

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Finding the Good in



ho says games are just for kids? For years, we have heard that playing too many video games is bad for your health and can create behavioral issues at a young age. But have you ever stopped to consider how playing video games could benefit a person?! Kevin Murray, head of GuardianCon, sure did!

Fast forward to today. GuardianCon has proven to be a huge success, but even with all of the help and support you can have from a team, there will always be unexpected trials and mishaps.

week of charity fundraising, and during the convention, to create a space for different types of gamers to come in and celebrate the evolution of the gaming industry worldwide. It’s not hard to understand why gaming has become such a popular field to invest in, so much so that it is now recognized as an official eSport.

“With the negative press around gaming these days, it is easy for us to put up a banner for people who want to do some good in the world. The community behind this mindset gets bigger “I was afraid we wouldn’t hit our and bigger each year, and we $2.7 million goal during the chartruly believe there is no limit to ity marathon and would have to what we can do with Guardiantry to reach it during the event Con,” Kevin said. itself,” Kevin said. “Also, after Day 1 of the physical event, we This huge gaming convention weren’t pleased with the strucoffers educational panels, liveture of the VIP lounge.” stream game exhibitions, and

What is GuardianCon? It’s a means of raising money for charity. That’s right, you can play games for charity. It is a two-day gaming convention that occurs during a week-long online charity gaming marathon where all proceeds go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The convention includes activities and special guests, and allows gamers, broadcasters, artists, and others within the industry to come together and celebrate all However, thanks to the supthe good gaming can truly do. port of fans watching the event Kevin’s idea got its start in 2015 through streaming websites, when he and his two other such as Twitch, an anonymous co-founders met at a bar in Tam- donor donated $100K with two pa. As content creators for the hours left to go, helping Kevin game Destiny, all of them real- and his team reach their goal. ized there was much more potential with gaming and began GuardianCon’s slogan is “Gamexpanding on the idea of run- ing Does Good.” They implement this all throughout the ning a convention.

With the negative press around gaming these days, it is easy for us to put up a banner for people who want to do some good in the world." industry vendors, all of which can be viewed either at the actual event or online. With all the activities and live-stream events, GuardianCon reached over 9 million in unique views alone across all their broadcasting platforms! That’s an increase of almost 3 million views from previous years, according to Kevin. “When you break those num-

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bers down, they are pretty impressive and not something I was expecting. Our average concurrent viewership also went up by 4,000 as well.” Support was in high demand before the convention even took place. Content creators, such as DrLupo and Ninja, had already managed to raise over $2.7 million for St. Jude before the convention occurred. The amount shows a notable increase from the previous $1.8 million raised over the past two years.

...find the right team.

GuardianCon is the largest event in Tampa Bay devoted to video games and shows the vast growth of what is happening in the entertainment industry. The gaming industry is rapidly growing with small pools of people at the top of the industry. Kevin attributes his success to time, investment, and years of networkpeople who complement your ing. strengths and pick you up where “My biggest piece of ‘behind the you are weak. While our team is hustle’ advice I can give, is to find small, I have no issue in saying the right team. You can’t do it all they are the best.” by yourself. Surround yourself with

You can't do it all by yourself.

Surround yourself with people who compliment your strengths and pick you up where you are weak." The major changes that influenced the increase in revenue for St. Jude was also due to the expansion into new games and inviting new creators to the community to join them in their efforts. “We continue to expand into new games and test new ideas for live production. We are not afraid to fail, and our growing community is very supportive and informative as to what they want,” Kevin said. How does he plan to do this? Well, it’s a secret for now, but be sure to check out their social media channels for updates and all the latest and greatest gaming news!

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RE-BUILDING One Step at a Time


magine having to live your day-to-day life without having the ability to look down or move your neck. That is what life is like for those with various neurological disorders. However, this does not mean your neck and spinal cord injuries have to keep you from living your life to the best of your ability. The founders of Stay in Step, husband and wife team Romulo and Gabriela Camargo, remind themselves daily that spinal cord injuries do not have to stop you from living. The organization they founded together in June of 2015 practices a form of long-term physical therapy that is not regularly offered by other healthcare providers. Together, the two have provided critical services for those suffering from spinal cord injuries in the Tampa Bay Area.

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Stay in Step is unique from other organizations because the founders are able to share and understand the experiences of their clients. In 2008, Romulo served in the Afghanistan tour and was injured in combat. He was paralyzed from the neck down. Following Romulo’s injury and recovery process, he and Gabriela knew they had a critical role to support and advocate for those who suffer from neurological injuries. Through trial, error, and a noquit attitude, they have developed a program with a focus on providing a unique blend of therapeutic care and out-ofthe-box thinking, which creates a motivating environment for their clients. They make each client they see a part of the ‘Stay in Step family,’ which creates a comfortable space for those recovering to be supported by others who have been impaired by spinal injuries.


FEEL UNIQUE “We want to make every client feel unique,” Gabriela says. “They identify with us just from the simple fact that my husband and I live the same reality. We understand every single aspect of their journey.” Having gone through it themselves, Romulo and Gabriela both understand the challenges of the lengthy recovery process. Because of their dedication, clients can expect to feel like individuals and do not have to worry about being left behind or forgotten while they are completing their recovery exercises. The Stay in Step organization uses a recovery treatment for their clients that is called activity-based exercise therapy. The program provides two to three therapists at a time and utilizes

the body’s natural movement to recover. Since the organization’s inception in 2015, the couple has been able to provide this new form of therapy service in the Tampa Bay area. In the last three years alone, around 100 people have been provided with longterm rehabilitation treatments that hospitals do not provide. Through the program, Romulo and Gabriela have been able to make a difference in the Tampa Bay Area by offering treatment for spinal cord injuries and other variants of injuries concerning neurological disorders, which cause paralysis. Building the foundation from the ground up was not without its fair share of challenges.

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One of the biggest challenges about getting Stay in Step up and running was navigating through the realm of Healthcare insurance. Gabriela states, “It is very difficult and frustrating due to the fact that Medicare and Medicaid rates are so low, and they demand too much information.” This issue has contributed to the amount the organization has spent searching for the time and resources needed to help conduct fundraising events to raise money to sustain the center. Even with difficulty caused by the descending rates, Stay in Step was still able to receive investments from healthcare based on the understanding that Stay in Step can provide services that other health care providers simply cannot, like patience.

get as far as they can in the recovery process; other healthcare professionals are not as capable of providing this trait.

Long-term rehabilitation requires patience for clients to be able to

Gabriela learned a lot about Romulo’s injuries while he was

The organization also considers family members that are affected by a relative’s disorder. Both Romulo and Gabriela adjusted for their own recovery process and have empathy for their clients and the clients’ families who struggle. By having the first-hand experience from dealing with Romulo’s disorder, they can create a family friendly environment in their facility. “We understand the effect it has on the family. This is not an individual injury; it is a family injury. We are able to provide true testimony and understanding of what the family is going through.”

going through the recovery process. Now, she uses that knowledge to help her clients’ recoveries. Gabriela has stated that one powerful motivating aspect comes from listening to numerous testimonies from clients who share their experiences at Stay in Step. “The most rewarding part of my job comes from the people who say how their lives have been changed since the day they started coming to Stay in Step,” Gabriela stated. Stay in Step’s main priority is to help families and others who have retained injuries that have left them partially disabled to recover. The company hopes those families can move forward with their help to have a more healthy and comfortable life, one step at a time.

Take a Step Forward Towards Recovery







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A Look Back: Community Food Pantry 2018 Highlights In early November, I received a phone call from Cindy Dervech checking in and asking if Breezin’ could help us as we approached the holiday season. Within just a few minutes of chatting, she had a plan to help us with our annual “Everything But The Turkey” event. This event provides nearly 400 families with all the side dishes for a Thanksgiving meal the weekend before Thanksgiving. Cindy was going to provide turkeys! By: Monica Wilson Lots of turkeys! For many years, this event has been amazing Our friendship with Breezin’ Enjust by providing all the fixings tertainment formed the summer for a meal. We have had some of 2017 when a mutual friend inturkeys provided, but this year troduced me to Cindy Dervech. almost every family received a Just a few short months later, turkey with their sides, largely in Cindy was launching the inaugural issue of Breezin’ magazine and graciously featured the Community Food Pantry as a worthy nonprofit. Not knowing what to expect, we attended a well-planned launch party for the magazine where Breezin’ Entertainment raised $3000 in just a few hours time for the Community Food Pantry. The kindness and generosity of Breezin’ and the friends of Breezin’ was overwhelming to us. For a small nonprofit like ours, $3000 is a large donation. We were able to provide thousands of meals to children, seniors, and families in need.

part to Breezin’ Entertainment. Not only did Breezin’ Entertainment raise money and purchase turkeys for the event, they also picked up our bill for the turkeys we had planned to purchase. And, in true Breezin’ Entertainment style, they showed up with a live steel drum player providing entertainment for the event, which was enjoyed by the hundreds of volunteers and recipients and a full office staff that worked tirelessly with lots of smiles and positive energy for the wonderful day! ​ s the new year started, we A began planning for our o ​ wn ​big event, D ​ enim and Diamonds, an annual fundraising dinner.

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In early February, we received a phone call from Breezin’ asking if we could use their help with our event. This turned into a face-toface meeting with lots of exciting ideas that were not even on our radar. Breezin’ arranged for a florist, talented musical entertainment for the cocktail hour, engaging musical entertainment for our dinner, an emcee, a darling photo booth, a videographer, favors, uplighting for ambiance, and more. They helped make our event more than we could have ever imagined and held our hand from venue to contract. Breezin’ rocks! Not only was it a wonderful night, we more than doubled what we raised from the year prior, largely in part to the love

Feeding ​People​. Changing Lives.

Some Community Food Pantry stats for 2018: (​Through June 2018)

provided by the Breezin’ Entertainment family. I​n just about one year’s time, ​ this friendship that started in the​quaint conference room at Breezin’ Entertainment, where we talked about sharing why we are so passionate about making sure no one go​es h ​ ungry, evolved into thousands and thousands of meals provided for ​the community in w ​ hich we live. ​​It is a

• 4,985 families served • 18,943 people served • 510 New families in 2018 • 339,687 pounds distributed​ • 7,562 volunteer hours donated • 345 Volunteer Nurse visits privilege ​to share this relationship with Breezin’, and we look forward to years of paying it forward. Without a doubt​, ​t​he compassion for the e ​ ntire T ​ ampa Bay community is evident​in the works of Breezin’ Entertainment. ​​ Their dedication to philanthropy is one to b ​ e commended. Thank you​for sharing that with the Community Food Pantry. We are forever grateful! ​

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magine a job where you can create new products, services, and systems. A job where you have the financial support of a company, but do not have to follow the corporation’s usual routines or protocols. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? But, there are people within companies that create innovative changes and products within those companies. These people are called intrapreneurs, and you could be one of them. The first step to becoming an intrapreneur is thinking of yourself as an entrepreneur. This mindset requires having a driving, innovative dedication to the company to which you work. It requires having the will to take on extra roles, more projects and presentations, and the ability to put yourself in a risky situation to better the company. The hands-on experience associated with being an intrapreneur allows for your ideas to become a profitable finished product. You serve as a beneficiary to your company, creating innovation from within. Corporations are always looking for new ways to update and make their product better. The creativity offered by someone who claims themselves to be an intrapreneur follows the goals of the company, while also looking for new ways to enhance their work. Another characteristic of a successful intrapreneur is their out-of-the-box thinking abilities. They form new ideas to change the strategic

direction of the company, helping the corporation grow. Looking at the work behind the hustle of intrapreneur, it’s clear that their job is anything but easy. They spend countless hours looking for unheard of ideas to bring innovation to the company. They are the people who go above and beyond without being told to do so, and by doing so, they gain influence and leadership positions. The ability to serve as a leader within your own organization can help you grow and build relationships throughout the company. Several intrapreneurs have even expanded outside of their companies once they have reached their full potential. Pro-activating yourself as an intrapreneur in your own business requires the skills to motivate not only yourself, but the others you work with. Having the ability to persuade others about changes you want to bring within the company is needed to execute your plans. Even in times of uncertainty, you need to be able to stand steadfast in making decisions. Understand, though, that it may be difficult at first to generate ideas that benefit the company. The difference between managers and intrapreneurs is intrapreneurs have to be ready to start out small and not receive all of the credit for everything they do before they build up a name for themselves.

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The search for new opportunities is constant as an intrapreneur. Seeking high-potential innovations to turn into profitable resources for the company to use is critical. You must be willing to work as a team player while utilizing the company’s resources. Communication with others inside of the company will only benefit you. Difficulties within corporations that have different organizational structures can make it harder to stretch yourself into an intrapreneurial leadership position. Often, tasks assigned to a role define that role. The definition created can be so rigid that it severely limits your ability to share the groundbreaking ideas

you have that could benefit the company. Also, the lack of appreciation and time for personal, creative innovation can deter one from being motivated to search for new ideas. The fear of rejection is another trial we must face if we are looking to be successful. You will not get anywhere without facing several trials.

within your own company and to strive for greatness is crucial for becoming an intrapreneur. Looking for new ideas with different solutions seems intimidating at first, but the results can be impactful. Launching new ventures creates a social and environmentally good component to the work getting done.

For these reasons, you must not give up on any of the projects you want to bring within your own corporation. You must be willing to put in the extra effort and time to ensure that your ideas are heard.

Several companies, such as Google and Microsoft, are always implementing ways to explore new ideas. The outcome of these results has created massive technological advances in our society.

The willingness to assess risk

The range of intrapreneur’s tasks

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CREATIVE, INNOVATIVE, LOYAL, DEDICATED, AMIABLE, HUMBLE, FLEXIBLE, & DRIVEN. can allow them to work with several different teams and work across departments, hitting different people with new ideas of innovation and collaboration. Pursuing new strategies can be beneficial to a corporation in finding fresh ways to create efficiency across the board, or to merely narrow down several ideas for each department. The same strategies that work in one area might not work in another, so the helpfulness of the

intrapreneur for creating these new designs serves a beneficial purpose. The risk and failure associated with being an intrapreneur are a part of what makes the job so great. You get the opportunity to watch the company grow by seeing what concepts do and do not work. Also, you help to empower others to reach beyond

their limits through suggestion and idea implementation practiced within the organization. An affinity to be a driving force within your own company should empower you to always want more. Although it might be tough at times because of the backlog and piles of work, selfdrive is essential to success. Operating within a corporation means you have to stay within company boundaries. It’s some-

times difficult to remind yourself that this is not your business and you need to respect company practices. You walk on a fine line of innovation for the company, but stay within boundaries. The overlaps between entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs have a common goal of finding new value for a company. But the intrapreneur must be ready to

face the difficulties and backlash of co-workers who are not always immune to change. Being an intrapreneur requires many of the same qualities needed to be an entrepreneur. An intrapreneur must be creative, innovative, loyal, dedicated, amiable, humble, flexible, and driven. If you possess these qualities, you might just be the force of change your company needs to create a new product or a better workplace environment.

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Speak Your

Hustle hustler can best be described as ambitious and driven to succeed. Debbie Lundberg, founder of Presenting Powerfully, is one example of how hustling can build your business, brand, and influence. She also exhibits other lesser known hustler qualities which have furthered her success.


Learning the art of hustling was never an issue for Debbie Lundberg. It seems she was born with those tenacious qualities that make for powerful entrepreneurs. In fact, her first entrepreneurial efforts began in elementary school. Debbie created a circus in her parents’ backyard, where she charged 10 cents for entry, performed all the tricks, and ran the games. In the third grade, she ran a marker checkout at her school where fellow students could rent markers by the day, or save with a weekly rental. A business woman was very clearly in the making.

started her own shopping service with a friend called “Bargain Hunter’s Shopping,” and after graduate school, Debbie and a General Motors colleague had a side hustle called “Gift of Rhyme,” where she wrote limericks for people based on their responses to six questions. Her partner then printed and framed them for gifts, announcements, and more. At the age of 33, the hustles from her youth drove her to leadership roles at General Motors. At the time she was the head of Legal and Product Allegations for the US, Puerto Rico,

and the Virgin Islands. She spent most of her time traveling back and forth with her teams in Florida and Michigan. When General Motors announced their consolidation efforts back to Michigan, Debbie and her fiancé found themselves carefully considering their next steps. They knew they didn’t want to live in Michigan, but Debbie wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the corporate world. Instead of panicking or simply quitting, Debbie ambitiously proposed a solution. She offered seven months of work to find a replacement or fill in for others

By high school, she was pushing herself to play on the varsity golf and tennis teams while also working at McDonald’s. During her undergraduate years at the University of Michigan, she ——————————————————————————————————— 40 ———————————————————————————————————

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before she would retire at the age of 34 with her pension. She would use this pension immediately to seed her new business idea, instead of waiting several years to access it. With the support of others, the unheard-of idea flew, and she went on her way to launching her business in Tampa.

gia and all over Florida for little to no pay. Now, she has delivered a TED Talk, given commencement addresses, and hosted entertaining and educational keynotes at national and international conferences and events.

sisting others in overcoming their fear of public speaking. Debbie stated her most important tip is, “When you present, first remember these four things: 1) Be an expert, 2) Put the audience first, 3) Get out of your own way, and 4) Have an attitude of gratitude. In other words, be “It’s not about how large the confident and know what you group is or how big their reach are talking about, set a goal and Debbie was also working as is. It is about relating to each direction for the audience and an adjunct for Dale Carnegie member of the audience and deliver it to them, don’t let your Training throughout the coun- meeting them with something own insecurities or day’s woes try during her time at General of value,” Debbie said. get in the way of your presentMotors. She continued working ing, and no matter what, be glad for them as she moved and be humbled that to Tampa and earned people want to learn the recognition as the Inwith and from you.” structor of the Year for the Tampa Bay sponsorship. Presenting powerfulAt the same time, she was ly is a mantra Debbie working for a consulting empowers others to do firm to learn more about and is also the name of pricing and getting conDebbie’s firm, Presentnected in Tampa Bay. By ing Powerfully by Debvolunteering to speak, bie Lundberg. present, and lead panels about communication, “Unfortunately, most behaviors, and relationpeople are not great ships, Debbie made her at giving presentations name known. because we haven’t learned how to harness Being new to the Tampa Bay “The right people are where our strengths and share. We are area may seem daunting and they are supposed to be,” is ‘taught’ to deliver a message in challenging, but Debbie found one of her many Lundberg-isms. a lecture format. In reality, peothe people and organizations She likes to be known as being ple don’t want to be taught, welcoming. “If you show up, are grateful for what she has and but they love to learn. We don’t sincere, and do what you say avoids being hateful for what want someone to just tell us, we you are going to do, Tampa Bay she doesn’t have. want them to compel us.” is not only welcoming, people are downright supportive and “Being scrappy and willing to do She believes most people can encouraging, and I am a prod- what it takes is part of life, and present effectively and be memuct of that,” Lundberg said. is part of the challenge as well orable even if it doesn’t come as opportunities we each have,” naturally to them. Presenting Debbie remembers during her Debbie said. powerfully depends on using a first few years giving talks to as process, embracing your perfew as three people in church Debbie’s daily life revolves sonality, and having a desire to basements and driving to Geor- around speaking publicly or as- do well for others. In addition to ——————————————————————————————————— 42 ———————————————————————————————————

these few things, Debbie knows from personal experience that it doesn’t hurt to have the support from someone you love, adaptability, coach-ability, gratitude and what she calls “coopertition,” which involves competing only with yourself while encouraging others in your field and embracing how to be happy for other’s talents and accomplishments.

Being scrappy and willing to do what it takes is part of life..."

This appreciation for others and her community has driven Debbie’s success and made her a notable member of the Tampa Bay community. “While only a fraction of my clients live in Tampa Bay, it is the foundation, home, and base of my community. If I were not an engaged member of our community, I would not have the same hustle or be the woman who gets to coach CEOs, lawyers, construction leaders, world-renowned authors, football coaches, and others to see and hear themselves in ways they’ve only imagined.” Many entrepreneurs know that how you are perceived by others and how you treat others are essential to the practice of effective hustling. This is why Debbie Lundberg encourages all entrepreneurs, business owners, and company team members to remember, “How you present is how you are remembered, so present yourself with respect, gratitude, and perspective, which will keep you happily hustling to success and enjoyment in life and business!”

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Your Own


By: Whitney Holtzman

ust be yourself, because everyone else is already taken.” That quote by Oscar Wilde serves as an inspiration to me. In order to be a CEO, or an entrepreneur of any sort, you must have an unwavering belief in yourself. Growing up, sports was my release when I didn’t want to do homework. I always felt life was short, and I wanted to have a job that I loved. While I come from a family of all lawyers, I knew that I was meant for my own, unique career path. If I’m the first me, how could I do it wrong?! I always say a job is like a spouse; they’re hard to predict, but you know it when you see it. That’s how I treat all of my career opportunities. I reach for the moon, and I land among the stars.

My original goal was to be a sideline reporter on Monday Night Football, so I went after that dream with every ounce of my being. In college, I had internships with the Tampa Bay Rays, Turner Sports, and ESPN. My career dream became my priority. Everything else took a back seat. I think success in any aspect of life comes from depth over width – going all in on what you care about most and sacrificing other opportunities.

Dabbling a little here and there doesn’t elicit fulfilling results. Thinking about what you’re missing out on is the biggest distraction and waste of time. It’s important to be at peace with who you are and the decisions you make. One of the most important life lessons I learned was from my mentor, Gary Vaynerchuk: The best gift you can give yourself is being self-aware. Know exactly how you’re perceived, how your actions impact those

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around you, and who you are as a unique individual. I was lucky enough to be employee 167 working for Gary at VaynerMedia. I learned about his company while I was waiting for a flight at LaGuardia. I emailed him from the plane, said “I just read about you at Gate D4, and I need to come work for you,” and I later got the job. Gary is the most loving, extraordinary person and I credit him with validating my life. Up until I worked for him, I always thought you had to check certain ‘social’ boxes and fulfill certain categories in terms of what you become in every aspect of life.

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He figured if employees don’t like each other and don’t get along, it doesn’t matter what qualifications they had, the work won’t get done. On the other hand, when you have people who all love each other like a family, magic and cohesion happen. Two of the main job-searching lessons I learned from my VaynerMedia experience are to find your tribe, love them hard, and find a boss who sees the world the same way you do.

I learned from Gary that you can carve out your own path tailored just for you – and you’ll probably be even happier once you do so. He taught me all about EQ, or emotional intelligence. Gary was the first boss I ever had who gave my skillset and interpersonal capabilities a name and value. He mainly hired people that had high emotional intelligence, as he thought they were often better in business because of how they interacted with fellow employees and clients. I was so grateful when I started working at VaynerMedia because I found an island of people similar to myself. Gary was much more focused on having the right people in the office, rather than making sure you had the criteria on your resume to check boxes for the job description.

Gary single-handedly carved out a path for me at VaynerMedia managing sports clients, and helped me land two dream jobs after my time at VaynerMedia, solely because he cared. If you take a job for superficial reasons or to check the boxes, you probably won’t have longterm success in that role. However, when you find a person who truly believes in you, no matter the particular role, he or she will ensure that you succeed. Treat finding a boss like finding a spouse, don’t settle. The foundation that I built my company off of is thanks to a multitude of lessons I learned from Gary: 1. Efficiency. Don’t waste time. I watch major sporting events and occasionally other shows, but you won’t find me sitting on the couch night after night flipping through channels. Gary used to hold meetings in 3-6 minute increments.

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or extra tickets to hand out, I always think of the people who’ve been the kindest to me. Play the long game. 5. Go all in on your strengths. Know who you are and what you’re good at. Trying to pursue a career that doesn’t cater to your natural gifts isn’t going to be very successful, nor is it going to make you happy.

If you book a 30-minute meeting, people will waste the full amount of time, because they know they have it booked. Chances are, your goal could be accomplished in just a few minutes. 2. Everything you do is building your brand. Who you are on social media and in the world every day defines you. People can always tell your intent, so don’t try and be someone you’re not. Authenticity is what people admire and are drawn to the most. How you treat people is how you come to be known. 3. There’s a quote by Maya Angelou that reads, “People won’t remember what you said or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” In order to have your own

company, you need to have people recommend you, via word of mouth. People promote and want to work with people they like. Be kind and always do the right thing. Relationships are everything in business, but they have to be genuine. People sell other people they believe in – not someone who hands them a business card. 4. Gary is very big on giving more than he receives. I’ve found this true in my own business. I’m more inspired to work with high-quality people who’ve thought about what they could offer me first. The reality is, when you’re a taker and continue to ask people for things without giving in return, they ultimately see you as someone who’s using them. When I get perks

6. 99 percent of things don’t matter in life. We’ll all be much happier if we don’t get bogged down on the little things. And, to the best of your ability, take the high road. You never know when you’re going to run into someone again, and chances are whatever they did to you falls into that 99 percent category of things that don’t matter. Because of my fateful time with Gary and following this advice, I’m now CEO of my own company, Social Victories. It helps build the brand of athletes and people in the sports world, although I work with plenty of clients not in sports. Our focus is building brands and relationships between companies and consumers through the latest marketing and social media tactics, versus marketing to people and annoying them with unwanted correspondence. It also gives me the chance to live and work out of my hometown, Tampa, Florida. I have never been happier than I am in this chapter of my life. Just remember – you might be the one you’ve been waiting for.

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Sweeter The

Things in Life


ntrepreneurship doesn’t have to be unenjoyable. In fact, some would even say being an entrepreneur can be sweet. No one knows this better than Rich Cannici, owner of the neighborhood sweet shop, Sweet Caroline’s Bakery and Café. Rich Cannici uses hustle, dedication, pride, and service to operate his business.

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From serving as a Marine and protecting our freedom to serving the Tampa Bay community as the owner of a recognized pastry business, Rich Cannici is an expert in his field. “If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be operating a bakery, I would not have believed you. I was always comfortable around the kitchen and food, so when the opportunity arose to start this business, it seemed to fit,” said Rich. Starting as a scratch bakery in November 2009, the small retail carryout shop grew into a 30-seat café and bakery and now acts as a full commissary, providing all sorts of baked goods, sandwiches, and soups to its customers. The bakery also maintains three medical locations where they deliver to daily, including Mease Countryside Hospital, the Bay Care Medical Arts Building, and most recently, St. Luke’s Cataract and Laser Institute in Tarpon Springs. Although Sweet Caroline’s Bakery has seen immense growth over its nine years of operations, Rich strives to maintain bakery quality by continuing to make everything in small batches. “Our quality speaks for itself,” said Rich. “Much of our success has been a result of our generous customers and their praise.” Through Sweet Caroline’s expertise in making each batch unique, the residents of the Tampa Bay area continue to visit the bakery as their community pastry shop. Many of the customers visit several times during the week because they can’t get enough of the high-quality, freshly-baked goods. “We could not be more grateful for the support we receive from the community and the many local establishments that have embraced our shop,” said Rich. Sweet Caroline’s Bakery, even after nine years, still gratefully welcomes original customers, who have been able to contribute to the success and growth of the bakery. But perhaps one of the largest successes for Sweet Caroline’s Bakery has been because of Rich’s family, especially his mother, Mary. “She has been in the food business for many, many years. Her experience made it logical to open the café, and she helps out by making the quiches and sandwiches and the homemade soups.”

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Both of Rich’s parents feel blessed to have him back home safely from being overseas in Iraq. Their support of Sweet Caroline’s Bakery is shown through their dedication to helping with daily operations in the bakery. Rich’s father, Rich Sr., is his biggest booster, who keeps him going day by day bringing fresh, unique ideas to the bakery and café. “Everything is made from scratch, everything including the fillings for the pies and pastries,” said Rich Sr. “When you walk in, you can see everything. Everything is open. You can see the bakers doing their work, you can see the ovens, and you can watch as they take things out of the ovens. You get to watch

everything being made.” Although it is Mary who has the greater experience when it comes to the food industry, Rich Sr. is still glad to help out wherever he cancleaning up, sweeping the floor, wiping the tables, or helping Rich Jr. with whatever is needed.

responded to, and I don’t want to jeopardize that.” The pleasure Rich gets from serving the people of his community is a lot different than the joy he got from serving his country in the Marines.

His experience in the Marines Over the past nine years, Rich and helps him run the business, but Sweet Caroline’s Bakery and Café he admits it is a lot harder behave seen major growth. The fuing in control in Iraq than in the ture holds promise for the bakery bakery because there is so much to keep expanding, which is a more on the line. goal Rich has had since beginning his business. “I always had a passion for running my own show and running a “I try not to look too far out. How- business. The Marines reinforced ever, I want to continue to build that a lot,” said Rich. “I was in Sweet Caroline’s and grow the charge of young guys. I like being business, but I want it to mainin control.” tain that hometown feel,” said Although he enjoyed his control Rich. “That is what people have and the times he had with the

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young men serving under him, there were times where things became tough. “I learned lessons that I will keep with me for the rest of my life. We lost some men, some got injured, but we had to keep coming back day after day. It taught me that even when times get tough, you still have to push through and still come to work.” On a wall in the bakery, there is a citation dedicated to Rich for his time serving bravely in combat. It highlights his courageousness while he was in service during a time when he had to protect his platoon that was being ambushed. It emphasizes his honorable leadership in managing to recover his weapons and taking prisoners in battle. Although Rich is grateful for the experiences that shaped him into who he is today, he is even more grateful to be home. “I consider myself extremely lucky,” Rich said. “When I got home the last time with just some nicks and scratches and making it back from three tours in good mental shape, I felt extremely lucky.” Because of his service abroad, Rich is able to appreciate his community more than most. This appreciation drives him to serve the community he loves, and his pastry shop is just one way he gives back. While he enjoyed his time in the Marines, he has to admit that service has never been sweeter than at Sweet Caroline’s.

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of Spreading Hope and Stopping Cancer in its Tracks


he spread of cancer has been on the rise for many years now, but something new is spreading too: hope. Thanks to organizations like Moffitt Cancer Center, and people like Merritt Martin, the desire for an end to cancer is spreading throughout Florida.

potential outcomes of every situation. Because Merritt works for such a large and influential organization, where most of her work is reactionary, she reminds herself daily of the importance of being self-aware and nimble enough to know not all plans work, and most will need adjusting before all else fails.

Merritt Martin, director of State Legislative Affairs at Moffitt Cancer Center, is an entrepreneur whose work is driven by the determination and desire to see the

But Merritt’s hustle into her position at Moffitt was not the beginning of her work in politics for noble and powerful causes. Her passion for politics began at the

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age of 10 when her father took her to Governor Lawton Chile’s inauguration in Tallahassee. As she matured into a young woman, Merritt gained more experience by working on political campaigns that she claims were vital to her success. “I was able to learn the process in real time, not just from reading about it in a textbook. You can find amazing experiences when you are willing to work for free,” Martin said. The mentors Merritt had along the way helped her gain relationship building and leadership skills that significantly impacted her future career. These lessons gave her the opportunity and connections to grow and serve her community, which greatly benefited her work with Leadership Tampa and Leadership Florida Connect. “I was incredibly fortunate to have numerous mentors who were willing to give up extraordinary amounts of their time to teach me,” Martin said. “The relationships I made over 15 years ago are still some of my best and most important.” Her career in advocacy began by working for the American Cancer Society, then later sitting on the State House of Representatives, but when she was presented with the opening at Moffitt Cancer Center, she knew this was an offer she could not pass up. “Joining this organization 10 years ago turned out to be one

of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I get to work with the smartest people on the planet, but also somehow the kindest and most humble. All 6,000 employees on our team have one goal: Moffitt’s mission, to prevent and cure cancer,” Martin stated. Over the 10-year period Merritt

has been with Moffitt, the center has grown exponentially by “doubling the number of employees, opening two new campuses, hitting record research funding, and increasing our patient visits to over 350,000 a year.” Her roles within the company have also changed significantly due to the levels of expansion. She began by solely

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interacting with the Legislature for funding and policy, but now oversees the State Legislative Affairs Manager and External Board Manager. The support Moffitt receives from its employees and members of the community provide a high demand for expansion. Now they are looking to utilize their resources to maximize the outcomes for public and legislative affairs. “New capital funding is needed to meet the needs of Florida’s cancer patients,” Martin said. “I hope to be an integral part of Moffitt’s future in every way.” Merritt plays a critical role in Tampa Bay as a lead advocator for cancer patients before the Legislature and Cabinet,

while increasing Moffitt’s awareness in the community and state. As an intrapreneur, she is held at an ethical standard to spread hope that betters her community and organization. Her goal is to make a happier, healthier Florida by spreading Moffitt’s influence and stopping cancer in its tracks. The collaboration she has with the Government Relation’s Department ensures that Moffitt has the funding necessary for research, education, and expansion. These contributions impact patients and operations, directly working toward access to care and insurance. “Legislators and staff are counting on us to educate them on the facts and sometimes both sides of a policy-making decision. Stretching

the truth or leaving out information will always catch up with you and ultimately end up hurting your cause.” With a large crowd to tend to, Moffitt serves patients in every Florida county, every state in the nation, and over 180 foreign countries. Although they serve such a large population, the team and staff are well-trained and educate more than 2,000 students in the field of oncology who will continue life-saving research for cancer treatment. Merritt prides herself on her ability to represent such a highly respected organization. Her work with the individuals at Moffitt and founder H. Lee Moffitt remind her that until cancer is cured, the work is never done.

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Vicky Anglo

Takes on The Fashion Industry: One Dress at a Time


he fashion industry is a fast-paced mogul where trends are constantly coming in and going out. It is a place where it can be challenging to plan for the future as an entrepreneur who is trying to grow their business. But, for Vicky Anglo, running a successful fashion business has always been her goal, and she has been able to use her talents and passion to stitch together a highly successful business. Turning Anglo Couture from a posh boutique to a large industrial showroom was how she showed the Tampa Bay area she was here to stay. “The goal was always that,” Vicky said. “The boutique was a stepping point in getting there. Sometimes I do miss it, but luckily I still get to work with brides. At this point, I feel like we are starting and the future is getting even more bright! I am so looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for us.” Anglo Couture opened its doors in 2011 to offer brides in the Tampa Bay area a unique and one-ofa-kind wedding line, fitting all of their wedding day and attire needs. Vicky uses her skills of artistry and innovation to give brides their signature wedding look. She knows all of the brides who come into Anglo Couture are one in a million, but she is able to make each one feel special in her own way.

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“It’s all about being unique to your own style!” Working personally with each bride to create her dream dress is something Vicky prides her business on doing. Although they have grown from a small boutique to a large showroom, Vicky wants to make sure each bride gets the opportunity to feel special. “It’s all about being unique to your own style! None of us are created the same. We have different color hair, eyes, and body types. Why fit into the same mold with everyone else?! I want to know every bride’s dream dress, and I want to make it the perfect reality for their body and style,” said Vicky. Vicky’s career in the fashion industry started as a young girl at the age of 13, when she went to her first bridal show. It sparked her desire to be a part of the fashion industry, especially in the bridal line. “The first runway show was magical,” said Vicky. “As the gown floated on the runway, I thought to myself, ‘these look like my sketches, but in real life.’ I honestly thought that it was a magical power, making dresses come to life.” Growing up in Athens, Greece, she was always surrounded by classical Greek art. Her style is influenced by Greek mythology and architecture. During her childhood in Greece, one of her largest influencers was her father, who was a sculptor. His artistry and passion are what ——————————————————————————————————— 58 ———————————————————————————————————

inspires Vicky every day. Growing up, watching him take something in his workshop and molding it into art, is something Vicky considers to be an immense blessing. “I love that I have my own design style. Every garment and design has a Greek goddess name on purpose. My brand style is a little more risqué because I want the women that wear my clothing to feel confident, sexy and powerful,” Vicky said. Vicky is also stimulated by the strong and powerful will of Chanel, considering the era she was creating her brand name. Vicky also looks to those who have out of the box fashion approaches such as Cavalli and Gianni Versace. It is because of her passion for design, and the glamour of weddings, that Vicky decided to attend Newbury College in Boston, MA to get a degree in Fashion Design. After Vicky graduated, she was granted the opportunity to work hands-on as a designer for a bridal accessory company. Her experience there helped her fall more in love with the fashion bridal industry and inspired her to open her own shop. “Working for a bridal company was just the cherry on top,” Vicky said. “I fell in love even more with the industry. I got to experience the backstage, not-so-glamorous part of the industry and truly found my calling.” All of the experiences Vicky had leading up to this point has allowed her to be greatly involved in and outside of the Tampa Bay Area. Three years after opening, Anglo Couture added a bridal accessory and bridal separates line, which is showcased in New York City’s Bridal Fashion Week. “It’s absolute craziness. Literally blood, sweat, and tears. The preparation starts months before. The collections being showcased need to be the best of the best we have ever created. We work countless hours on creating the perfect samples. Sometimes we make and remake them until they are perfect.”

Her hustle has allowed her to create trends in both the bridal and fashion world with some of her latest collections being featured in boutiques nationally. Bridal Fashion Week is just another way Vicky is able to bring her brand to brides all over the country. But, her amazing talent isn’t solely loved by New York or Bridal Fashion Week. It is also with the brides she works with daily, personally creating their own unique look. “Vicky and her team are so passionate about what they do and the service they provide. They take their time with individual clients and create a personalized experience like no other. They were able to sketch a beautiful design that was exactly what I was looking for. I was so thankful to have a beautiful, one-of-a-kind dress,” said client, Cori D. The love residents of the Tampa Bay Area have for Vicky are the reason she has had so much success and is able to expand her collection continuously. But above all, Vicky is grateful for all she has learned and experienced. She is determined to stay true to who she is and continues to create everything in the USA with passion and love. Vicky’s combination of dedication, passion, and creativity is the foundation that developed the mogul that is her business, and she intends to keep it on the track to success in Tampa Bay.

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Wedding Planning a Breeze with


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By: Olivia Roberts


was a bride on a budget, and I was and am perfectly fine with that. I fully believe you can get a beautiful day with all the things you want without a wedding planner and without putting yourself or your parents in debt. That being said, creating the perfect day has not been as easy as I expected. You would think it would be easy. I mean this is only the day you have thought about and dreamed about since you were five years old. After all, who knows my vision better than me? I consider myself a bargain hunter and inventive, so creating a beautiful wedding through upcycled and on-sale items should not be that hard. But as the days to my wedding grew closer and closer. I must admit I was a little overwhelmed. Actually, I was completely overwhelmed. I started out strong. I downloaded The Knot planner app and booked a venue almost as soon as I got engaged. I found my dress within months, picked out bridesmaid dresses, contacted the florist, hired a photographer, and hired a baker to make the cake.

All the really big details were planned and accounted for. Unfortunately, a wedding isn’t made up of just big details. There are a lot of small almost insignificant details that go into creating the perfect day. For instance, you must figure out whether you want an aisle runner, whether the mothers of the bride and groom need corsages, you have to find a cake topper, and write your vows. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. You also need to buy gifts for everyone in the wedding and everyone who helped with the wedding, rent linens, and buy a guest book. The list of small details is absolutely endless, and towards the end you begin to wonder why you didn’t elope in the Smoky Mountains or have a destination wedding in Ireland. When you’re facing all these decisions, it can make you feel like you are staring down the barrel of the gun, and no one seems satisfied when you truthfully answer that you do not know whether you want white shoes or silver or whether your uncle who lives out of town would mind being your emcee. With all that stress, you begin to realize that you are looking forward to the honeymoon not just so you can be with your future husband, but because you need to get away from all the stress. Thankfully, resourceful and economical brides can save their wedding day and budget with Breezin’ Entertainment & Productions wedding planning services. Through their different packages, Breezin’ is able to offer you custom help from the month before to the day of.

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The largest and best package for brides is the month of package which gives you access to planners and Breezin’ recommended vendors throughout the entire planning process. Four weeks prior to the wedding Breezin’ becomes deeply involved in coordinating your wedding. The month-of package includes items like seating plan, ceremony music, payment schedule, and so much more. On the day of your wedding, Breezin’s team of experts will be there from start to finish to ensure every detail is taken care of. They even make sure your personal items are packed up at the end of the night. This package is the best option for brides who know they need to focus on getting themselves ready, which starts by distressing and getting your beauty sleep. The month-of package can be divided into tier 1 and tier 2 options. The first tier will give you access to an expert on the Breezin’ team for just $999. That may sound like a lot, but it’s worth it when you consider that not you, your mom, his mom, or anyone else in your family will have to be stressing over whether the rentals have come on time and are in place or whether you have enough seats for all your guests.

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Give Back:

Service Your Community


an you really do what you love and help your community? When you think of service, you usually get images of large donations to charity or volunteer service within your community. While these ways are the more traditional choices, Tampa entrepreneurs have found other ways to give back; by being themselves and doing what they love. The expansion of service to the community reaches far beyond volunteer work or donations. Service can come in many forms, and many successful entrepreneurs use their passion for service, and their natural born talents, to help the Tampa Bay area grow and give back to a city that already gives so much to its residents. Advocating on issues and challenges that face hotels and their hospitality service is how Executive Director of Hillsborough County Hotel Motel Association (HCHMA), Bob Morrison, chose to use his natural born talents to serve Tampa Bay.

Growing up in East Tampa, Bob was aware of the service issues faced by the forgotten areas of the city and wanted to find a way he could help. His passion for serving Tampa Bay, with his pre-existing knowledge of the area, granted him several opportunities to give back. “The value of life is measured by service to others, and that any blessing you may receive is driven by how genuine your service is and the positive use of your natural-born gifts,” Bob said. His drive to give back to others is what motivated him to get through law school to become a lawyer. He was also granted the opportunity to serve with Mayor Martinez and Mayor Freedman, who opened the doors to helping and impacting the community where Bob had grown up in. Before becoming the Executive Director of HCHMA, Bob served as the executive assistant for two mayors of the city of Tampa, the initial chairman of the Florida

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Lottery Commission, a co-managing partner of Morrison, Gilmore, and Clark Law Firm, and the president of Morrison & Associates, Inc. Tampa is Bob’s home, and he wants to improve it in every way he can. Bob has several responsibilities in his current job working as the Executive Director of HCHMA, many which require him to oversee new and existing programs, maintain political relationships dealing with hospitality issues, and coordinating with the local government on the education of tourism and hospitality. Through this he is able to serve his community, raising

awareness for the need of a tourist-based industry that will bring a higher economic value to Tampa. His multitasking career allows him to work with several different people in the area, creating opportunities to build and grow relationships. His service to others is shown through his willingness and ability to work hard. The skills Bob has to effectively work as an advocate for the impact of hospitality for the Tampa Bay area comes from his relationship and work with his father. “The most important lessons I learned early on came from my father,” Bob said.

Acknowledge others regardless of a person’s perceived background, never let someone else define you, stop with the excuses, stay humble, and appreciate the people who have supported the business that allows you to have a roof over your head and food on the table.”

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Bob utilizes these skills and applies them in his daily life at HCHMA. He helps give an independent voice for tourism receiving no tax support, impacting the economic footprint of Tampa Bay. Crafting a dynamic and diverse career revolving around the law, business development, and public service, Bob’s combination of talents in these fields help Tampa Bay grow economically and socially. “The growth of hotel revenue has led to the building and superior maintenance of professional athletic facilities without impact on individual Tampa Bay area taxpayers and property owners.” New hotels being built grow commercial property tax revenue and allows the county and city government to grow in its service delivery capability. HCHMA hosts an Annual Trends and Forecasting Forum offering residents of the area an analysis and comprehensive snapshot of the current condition of the Tampa Bay market, educating people in the area about the factors that affect the tourism business in Tampa. Making people aware of what economic factors are affecting our community is another means of service that holds value with Bob.

both of them from scratch, he understands the personal sacrifice required to establish and maintain a sense of reliable and consistent service delivery. “To me, running a business as an entrepreneur means to be selectively taking on projects and opportunities which I either feel passionate or have the capability to improve the circumstance from how it was introduced to the firm,” Bob said. Bob recognizes that maintaining a level of flexibility and humility for service delivery partners, in areas where he has no exposure, takes time and patience. It was his experiences leading up to those moments that created the base element of his success formula.

Bob wants to continue serving to the best of his ability. “During my lifetime, in Tampa, the biggest change I’ve seen, contributed to, and help to start was Tampa Bay’s recognition that race and ethnic diversity not only have economic value but also that recognition of Tampa Bay’s racial and ethnic diversity is a strength to celebrate and profile, not hide or avoid.” Through his initiation of various means of service to the Tampa Bay community, Bob Morrison’s passion in using his natural-born talent to give back continues to help and prosper the community, proving you can do what you love and help others.

Bob’s community service work to stay connected to the needs of the community reaches far beyond his own work. He also enjoys teaching Hillsborough Community College Hospitality Law students and uses their energy to inspire them to begin a career as vital role players in hospitality issues.

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Build a Lifestyle,

Not Just a Business


ntrepreneurship is not just a goal or dream; it is a lifestyle. Building long-standing relationships with mentors, clients, and those around you establishes the basis of what it takes to build a company. A high level of integrity is needed to develop these lasting relationships, and Jeff Dervech, President of Dervech Real Estate, exemplifies this lifestyle through his own company. As a company built upon core values and consistently doing the right thing, Dervech Real Estate continues to stand as one of the leading real estate firms in the Tampa Bay area. “Core values are the baseline for who we are as a firm and what we stand for: consistency, integrity, dependability, client-focus, performance, and creativity. This is our mantra and the platform for which we conduct business. It is the

heartbeat to our engine,” said Jeff Dervech. As a commitment to being highly regarded in a very competitive business climate, Jeff Dervech has been able to build success from the ground up. With his continuous involvement in the area, he can confidently say his relationships are built around trust and creditability. Jeff began his real estate career in 2009 near the bottom of The Great Recession, but his entrepreneurial hustle started as a 16-year-old, detailing cars for family and friends. Jeff began his career out of college, as an acquisition analyst for a commercial real estate company and was quickly promoted to a real estate acquisitions manager. It was during this period of life that Jeff realized he wanted to start his own business.

“I wanted to control my destiny for the long run, and what better way to do that than at 25 years old,” Jeff states. “I decided to take a leap with the little bit of money I saved up and started my own company. I leveraged the relationships I made up until that point in my career, and I had a lot of people in my court supporting me.” Failing was not an option for Jeff Dervech. Over the past nine years of running a successful commercial real estate firm, Jeff has made more implementations and adjustments than changes. He keeps hustling and working hard at fine-tuning his craft of retail strip center investment sales. Jeff views his work as getting a gym membership. It takes dedication, consistency, and drive, to see results. Similar to getting an education, investing the time and effort is the only way to grow as an individual when building a company. “I work 70 plus hours a week, and I still feel as if I am not reaching my full potential. I continuously self-educate myself by reading and listening to audible books,” Jeff said. Jeff’s affinity for self-teaching helps his business grow. Reading books by the mentors and trainers of big-name athletes and other entrepreneurs helps steady his hustle of viewing work as a gym membership

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that’s constantly training his mind. However, Jeff views CEO of VaynerMedia, Gary Vaynerchuk, as having the most tremendous impact on his self-education. The biggest lesson he learned from Vaynerchuck was having to do things that no one else was going to do, or willing to do, in order to be the best. It’s all about not being afraid of failure and taking adjusted risks. Along with Jeff’s ability to dedicate large amounts of his time to his business and self-education, he is also extremely involved in the Tampa Bay area. Growing up in Tampa, Jeff has been able to learn essential lessons early on when it comes to community involvement. Getting involved in organizations such as Key Club at Jesuit High School taught him that you do not need a lot of money to give back. That your time is more valuable than a check. “When your work can be influential in a community and have a positive impact, that is something special,” Jeff said. “I have been so fortunate in my life and have good health, which leads me to look at community involvement as not an option.” Jeff looks forward to giving back to the Tampa community, as well as to his alma mater, Florida State University, which

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staying involved in the community, Jeff couldn’t imagine working in any other place. “I love commercial real estate and am truly passionate about it. I feel fortunate because a

lot of people hate what they do and that is a shame. I am blessed to have found something that really excites me,” Jeff said. gave him the educational platform through its College of Business Real Estate Program and the Jim Moran Global Entrepreneurship Institute, to have what it takes to be elite and successful in the commercial real estate sector. Building the best version of himself and his community, Jeff is considered an emerging leader in Tampa Bay. Through his passion for continuing to educate himself, creating meaningful relationships, and

Jeff’s excitement and passion for the community carries over into his daily business practices. The commercial real estate industry is a competitive business in Tampa Bay, but what separates other firms and Dervech Real Estate is their model to be great at what they do. When working with clients, they keep a promise of approaching each assignment as if they were the property owners. They take proactive

measures needed to ensure success, instead of sitting back and waiting for things to play out. “Our philosophy is to find a way, or make a way, to max-

imize ultimate value for our clients and deliver first class service from strategy, to execution, to success.” Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle for Jeff. “I never wanted to work at a big company that I would invest myself in where all of a sudden I could get called into a superior’s office to be advised that I would be let go due to something I had no control over. I want to be able to pave the road ahead.” Success comes at a price, and Dervech is prepared to continue investing time and resources to perfect his craft. The future is bright for Dervech!

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he sun was low in the sky on Longboat Key in late April. Our weeklong installation was nearing completion, and our client was approaching the space for her final once-over. It was the moment entrepreneurs and adrenaline junkies alike crave, the moment before the client reveal. My future and success were balancing on a razor’s edge. BASE jumpers may think they know how to gain adrenaline rushes, but nothing has ever made my heart beat quite so fast than event design and management. For me, it is the new extreme sport.

My journey to events began 15 years ago working in a small, specialty bake shop. My job was to merchandise the beautiful, little baked goods in the chic town of Southampton, New York. What drew me to the position was my interest in making a living by expressing myself creatively. I have always found myself in jobs where creativity was required, because I have an interest in making a vision that would evoke something from the person experiencing it. Over time, my interests evolved from making beautiful displays to creating exceptional experiences, and I became drawn to the event

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management business. For eight years, I worked for an established events company in Tampa Bay, before I realized it was time to branch out, stretch my creative winds, and start the North American division of Fuel4 Events. Fuel4, a London-based design firm, built its reputation by creating experiences for the likes of Cadbury, Twitter, Lacoste, and Southern Comfort, to name a few. To expand the brand, Tampa Bay became the chosen location for North American operations due to the region’s exceptional growth in both business development and tourism. While the area is well covered by special event professionals, it was clearly missing a niche firm that focused on branding and highend event rentals. I wanted to fill that space. It was time for a Tampa Bay event company that specialized in bespoke event rentals, design, fabrication, and destination management, a company who could help promote business growth through curated strategy and branded engagements. In the months leaing up to that one-of-a-kind beach event on idyllic Longboat Key, the most eye-opening experience for me, as a new business owner, was that I would not be able to control the event as much as I was accustomed to. Let’s face it; to some degree, all entrepreneurs believe that they know

best. We would never have the gumption to risk everything and forge our own path if we did not passionately believe that we were bringing something unique to the table. It was time for that ice-cold dose of reality: I cannot be everywhere at once. I cannot do everything myself. I do not know everything. But with the support I had, I knew I could trust the team we had assembled. What immediately followed was the immensely satisfying feeling that comes when you begin to empower the people around you. When you give people your vision, the freedom to fail, and trust their guidance, you create an army of people who are collaborating with you. They are invested stakeholders and champions of a fantastic event, rather than mindless task-masters. Together, the whole team succeeds, the client reaps the benefits, and the compound interest is yielded in more work. This mantra for empowering people is what led us to that beautiful stretch of beach on Longboat Key in April. The event was the culmination of four month’s work, more than 1,200 hours of planning among a staff of five, the expertise of 20 specialty vendors who brought nearly 100 crew members, and roughly 4,000 manhours required for installation. All of which was executed over a week’s time.

There were seven events held over two days. We had 26 delivery trucks on Longboat Key’s restrictive streets during peak tourism, but our event was a finely-tuned, well-rehearsed orchestra of consummate professionals brought together to design and produce one of the most involved programs I had ever managed. It reminded me of how remarkable work can be when you develop deep relationships with the people you work with. Two days after the event, the last truck pulled away from the work site. We packed the remaining items, jumped in the passenger seat of our truck, and began the hour journey back to our offices in Pinellas Park. During the series of bridges and slowly creeping traffic, my bones started to ache. My skin was so newly tanned from a week near the water that some people might think I had spent a week on vacation, so long as I didn’t remove my sunglass to reveal the deep, shadowy sockets I call my eyes. Our hour commute stretched into four hours – a reminder that “nothing worth doing is easy.” “It’s better than I ever imagined,” my client’s voice echoed in my head. That is why I do it. Those words right there. Starting a new business in an established market has its challenges. I have been very

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worth doing

is easy.”

blessed to have a fantastic set of business partners, Richard and Graham, whom I have learned so much from. They give me the confidence and the resources to bring my vision to life. They encouraged me to push the envelope and develop a business unlike any other in the area. An early lesson I learned from Richard was to hire great people, treat them right, lead them confidently, and the rest, as they say, would fall into place. Together, we assembled the most talented, passionate, and capable people in design and fabrication. Without a doubt,

the single largest contributor to our growth and success over the last two years would be the team we have built, and the partnerships we have cultivated. One of these partnerships we are most proud of is our recent partnership with The Don CeSar as their in-house Destination Services Provider. The unique property and gorgeous location fit perfectly into our suite of services.

The best thrills for me come when I pushed myself beyond what I thought possible or was comfortable with. That is when the adrenaline hits and something really amazing is created. 6260 39th St N, Suite H Pinellas Park, FL 33781 RING: 727.204.3601

Nothing will ever be as rewarding as creating something based off of a client’s wishes and then hearing you and your team exceeded those wishes.

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WHAT’S COOKING IN TAMPA BAY? ——————————————————————————————————— 80 ———————————————————————————————————


oung talent is on the menu, and Chef Alex Ramos is at the top of the list. He has successfully established Good Thing You’re Pretty Incorporated, his own private cooking business and has a notable attitude on what creates culinary success. Aside from being a young entrepreneur, Ramos caught our attention with his culinary philosophy on how to exceed his clients’ expectations. His business is known for having his own unique spin on the food he serves and creating a more immersive experience for his clients. His story begins at age fifteen where he was influenced by Chef Gerrard who would teach young Ramos how to work the kitchen. ——————————————————————————————————— 81 ———————————————————————————————————

“I started off as just a little busboy; after work, he’d show me some random odd and end things in the kitchen. I trained under Chef Gerrard for about two and a half years before I started cooking for him and became a sous chef,” Ramos said. He was given the opportunity to travel to different countries through his school and learned about gastronomy and classical culinary backgrounds. In France and Italy, Ramos mentions he learned a great deal about culture and why certain dishes were prepared the way they were. While there, he also realized that having a unique touch on food was important for chefs to brand themselves. Ramos’ aspirations are very different from other chefs’ considering he is a personal chef rather than a traditional one who works at restaurants. He aims to create a unique experience for his customers while at the same time creating a menu that every-

one can enjoy. An aspiration that Ramos mentions is “admittedly difficult at times” is balancing what people want versus creating something new and enjoyable. “When someone says they want steak, or lamb, or salmon, what can I do to that dish to make it something unique; something different that’s going to put a “wow” factor in the meal. The biggest difficulty in the kitchen is finding the happy medium between unique experience and classical preparations,” says Ramos. Still, Ramos enjoys watching customers enjoy the meals he prepares because it gives them such a unique experience. To fully capitalize on that idea, he decided on a more private approach when providing his services. As a personal chef, he can plan for various accommodations for his clients as well. It may be difficult to comprehend how to gauge for how much food to prepare while keeping

retention going. “Currently I have two clients that have me cook three times a week, and another six that I cook for monthly. It gets hard to buy food and keep costs down when you are a small business, but it is all about planning,” says Ramos. Ramos specialty is lamb. He is not sure if he has some sort of “magic touch” when it comes to his lamb preparation, as his clients cannot seem to get enough of it, but Ramos enjoys experimenting with different foods and is open to requests. One client was obsessed with kimchi. Because of this request, he has made a number of various kinds of kimchi dishes, and he even tried his hand at making a kimchi dessert. The young Chef is always open to trying new things, and he always keeps his eye on the latest food trends online to stay sharp and ahead of the competition.

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When asked what advice he would give to young culinary students looking to become a successful personal chef, he emphasized the importance of having the right people around you to help you grow. He says to the next generation of young chefs, “Burn down the house; burn down the kitchen. Really just explore every avenue. But what’s most important are the operations of things and the people that are with you whether it is your customers, your employees, or your contractors. Food is easy to invent or recreate, but food is how I am able to grow and become more established in my community.” Chef Ramos is able to overcome his busy schedule and provide his clients with great meals that leave them satisfied and wanting more. The personal touch he provides to each meal is the key to his clients’ repeated business, and Ramos continues to be a shining example of the talent cooking up in Tampa Bay.

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reezin’ Entertainment & Productions is Tampa Bay’s preparation will showcase an unforgettable affair. No. 1 entertainment agency. For over 27 years, our team has provided clients with well-organized The amount of planning and preparation for an event can event entertainment for any occasion. add unwanted stress to one’s daily activities. Our expertise and dedicated team will help bring the clients’ vision to We take pride knowing that we are consistently voted life through our extensive network of entertainers, no as one of the best entertainment service companies, matter the occasion. and we are grateful to have been chosen to provide entertainment for thousands of events. We use state-of- We strive to set high expectations for ourselves by choosing the-art technology systems and software to give clients the type of entertainer that perfectly melds with the the highest quality sound and production for any type of function. From origin to final product, we help create the event a client is looking to host. most memorable celebration for all generations to come. Our quick response time and personal entertainment planners are eager to help its clients every step of the way when outlining their dream event. Regardless of whether our customers are organizing a small party or going allout for a parade, our cutting-edge knowledge on event

We are excited that with the publication of Breezin’ Magazine, we are able to provide our readers with insight into the unforgettable world of event entertainment and the experiences that events bring when including memorable and spectacular performances.

W W W. B R E E Z I N . C O M


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