Stay Authentic to Yourself

Another beautiful Thursday night here in Downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, aka DTSP, as we gather once again for the ESC. It’s a great evening to Stay Authentic to Yourself, while learning and growing. The Entrepreneur Social Club, meets every Thursday since 2009 – except when colliding with a major holiday like Thanksgiving – most always at historic DTSP venue NOVA 535. Tonight, Thursday April 21, 2016, NOVA was booked all day for a film shoot with the fabulous Sullivan Productions, So around 6pm, Team NOVA just finishing up and heading out as we Entrepreneurs, business owners, investors, start-ups and students strolled in. My NOVA 535 Unique Event Space project, now 10+ years in the works, allows me the opportunity to give back a bit each week, gathering like-minded humans who want some fun, time to unwind, plus a chance to earn, grow and evolve.

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FAST FORWARD to tonight at 8 pm-ish > Just before I rang my infamous bell to conclude our ESC meeting, Chris Jenkins (below, far right) summed up our overall discussion on pitching with this. “I heard what your problem is and I have the solution to that problem.” STAY AUTHENTIC to yourself and your passion. If you love, eat, sleep and breath XYZ then your pitch should start with describing how you can help solve XYZ in 1-2 sentences. From there you ask your prospect questions and your authentic, genuine answers / knowledge about XYG should flow freely. Many people get unnecessarily nervous about “pitching” but most “pitching” is just clear, coherent, polite conversation about how you can solve someone else’s problem(s). It’s rarely standing up and speaking to a large group of people. Here at ESC our public pitch is about 20 seconds long, done while everyone is seated around our meeting table. Casual yet effective. If you do WANT TO get up and speak to large groups of people, reach out to our pal Topher Morrison of the Key Person of Influence (KPI) Program. KPI is marvelous!

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Above in the hat is Mr Cool Tony Michaelides, next is smiling newcomer  (WELCOME Janice!) Janice Woody a Wellness and Graceful Aging Coach, found via WOM via Ann Marie (Thanks Ann Marie!). Perennial favorites and founding members Kym Jenkins of V Spicery and hubby Chris Jenkins. Chris is NOVA 535,, and‘s web Grand Master and CIO of Symphoni Media, busy to say the least.

Below in purple is big Nick Mazeika, sales and business consultant for DTSP venue NOVA 535 wedding and event venue (pictured). Next is our fav ghost writer Keith Long, then newcomer Sergio, originally from my father’s homeland Italy. Sergio, a seasoned business owner and operator, is searching for another true Coffee House here in St. Pete. Buona Sera!  Sergio sits next to his friend Julie Chamberlain of Rodan + Fields, welcome back Julie, thanks for bringing Sergio! Finally on the right is our pal Julie Haddad.

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Below we have newcomer Henry Steffes Jr LMT, who offers Alternative, Natural Healing Arts aka Sound and Energy Healing, another Word of Mouth (WOM) referral from our favorite vegan Chef Ray Milton. (Ray not pictured, ever. Look at the dinner photos down below with the gentleman covering himself for every photo, that’s Ray!) Julie Kovich, welcome Julie! She helps people organize for their CPA, and fortuitously enough Julie sat right next to our fav ESC CPA Dan Novello. Dan!!

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Below we have Jamie Dorschuck founder of the really cool and smart gift option Burg Box, Cynthia Bloss of OnTaskConcierge and her aviation pal Jim (welcome back you two!) plus Arthur Gueli (more on Art later), Mr Flourless Chocolate Cake GateauOChocolat Emmanuel Roux himself, the lovely Jill Brown of Organic Creative, a first timer who opts for anonymity and finally Nick de Stefano. Not pictured tonight but attending was the lovely Christine Fasan K9 Holistics and Brian O’Donnell of BuyMeACarUSA, welcome back you two!

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Jill Brown, a talented Graphic Designer, owner of was back again after way too long. Welcome back Jill! When I asked her how the ESC could be helpful, she replied,”How much should I charge per hour for my services?” The group responded with: How much do I want to earn per year? and What does the market charge for similar services? And so on. She also let on “I don’t enjoy selling… ” So we advised using channel Sales, reaching out to other firms in her industry when they need extra help. Plus  and were also recommended.

Back again after a long respite, Nicholas De Stefano (pictured above on the far right, blue shirt). Nick is sharing his Survivor Power Tools Workshop, to help us think logically not emotionally, it’s motivational, and helps you build confidence. We all agreed his “booklets” were too long TO START the conversation, instead start concisely, with a quick compelling and crystal clear pitch, THEN if people want more offer them the brochures, just don’t start with them. Too much too soon. Nick’s smart and been in business for a long time, he’s a quick learner. Welcome back Nick!

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Dinner at the always delicious DTSP restaurant Oyster Bar, where the raw oysters are fresh and fabulous, the ribeye mouth-watering medium rare, their scallops are oh-so yummy! Thanks for taking great care of the hungry, lubricated and hard-working Entrepreneur Social Club once again! The only thing not eating tonight was the parking meters. And thanks to superstar bartender Amber Buerger for all the delish cocktails! And a big ESC hug to Team Oyster Bar including pal Kevin Justus, thanks!!

Remember to spot Chef “Napk-cant-photo-me-nista”Ray if you can!

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The After Dinner Party at DTSP favorite live jazz club Ruby’s Elixir, found at 15 3rd Street North Downtown St. Pete. Thanks to my amigo Greg Haddad for owning such a rockin spot! We FINALLY got our lovely Vanessa Baker, ESC bartender extraordinaire (below center) to join us! Along with her delightful longtime pal Sue (left), plus ESC newcomer Julie Haddad of who is also always enjoyable to spend time with. Julie has learned how to Stay Authentic with her pitch.

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Above is Mr Smooth Arthur Gueli enjoying a fine cigar after a long week, from the accompanying business Central Cigars, 273 Central Avenue DTSP. Central Cigars always has a grande selection of tasty, fresh and something just perfect for when you’re looking for smokes. Below our favorite ethical fashionista Rachana Suri and big Nick Mazeika enjoy a hug and some catching up time.

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BELOW = I had asked our fabulous waitress Linda last week to serve me dry red vino vs scotch, as after a long long, day, then ESC meeting, then dinner, I’ve found that adding lots of scotch can sometimes lead to the after, after, after party. Oh the subtle changes we (can? should?) make along our lifetime journey…anyhoo…so here I am tasting a wee dram of the purple. Thanks Linda, you’re delightful!

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Looking for a FUN and PRODUCTIVE evening with Entrepreneurs, business owners, mentors, start-ups, students – anyone with a positive “I want to make things better” attitude? Where religion and politics is FORBIDDEN? (It’s a proven method for us to all get along and play nicely!)  Join our weekly adventure, every Thursday 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm here in Downtown St. Pete, most always at historic wedding and event venue NOVA 535. Then dinner, drinks and much deeper conversations and friendships to be had afterwards! Join us!!

PS – Are you searching for a great place to live here in DTSP? Stay Authentic and check this out


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