Thursday September 28, 2017, my fellow Entrepreneurs Welcome Home Michael S. Novilla, that’s me, to Downtown St. Pete DTSP historic venue NOVA 535 for our weekly ESC meeting.
Hey! I’m back after almost 3 months of travel, through South America: Guayaquil, Galapagos, Santiago, Valparaiso, Easter Island, Asunción, Foz do Iguaçu, Sao Paulo, Rio, Lima, Cusco, Ollantaytambo, and Machu Picchu. Check out my travel videos… WOW, what an adventure! I met so many incredible Entrepreneurs, and experienced my Bucket List’s Bucket List. Then because of the heat and eventually because of Hurricane Irma, I headed north to Boston, then to Toronto for TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) where I met up with my filmmaker pal Kevin Kincaid, with whom I’m laying the groundwork for a TV show centered around my next project CustomerServiceCollege.com. Mom is in Blowing Rock North Carolina, so I was able to spend a week with her in the mountains, then wrapped up my adventures in Atlanta for my best friend and fellow Entrepreneur Drew Edward’s 1st baby, Daphne! Whew! I’m now home here in St. Pete, Florida!
So once again we are here in our DTSP venue HQ NOVA 535 for the weekly gathering of the Entrepreneur Social Club (TM). It’s every Thursday night, except an occasional holiday respite or hurricane scare, since 2009. We all got REALLY REALLY LUCKY with Irma, it could have been game over for us here. Wow. I’m so thankful for many, many reasons, and I hope to bring my stories, ideas, wisdom and positive energy back home to share and help us all. Thanks to you all for the warm Welcome Home Michael S Novilla, on this beautiful Thursday night, September 28, 2017!
Looking around, it was delightful to see a full table, with many returning familiar faces, plus a bunch of newbies! Let’s meet and welcome our fellow Entrepreneurs, business owners, start-ups and positive people! Below is Justin Petro in white shirt, top row, next to Chris Jenkins (vaping) then the lovely Eileen Brauch of Paradise News (red tank top). Then it’s our pal Keith Witmer of Acclaim Plastic (red polo shirt) and finally Julia Marie in blue with orange hair.
Below left to right is Julia Marie, with her “Autistic Orange hair;” we’ll talk more later about Julia’s and our advice to newcomer Leanne Scalli. Leanne introduced us to her “Earth to Autism” start-up. We’ll meet her in a bit. Seated next to Julia is Paul Cook, a talented local DJ, his company is called the Multi-Player Agency. Paul is here at ESC tonight because of our 1st St. Pete Local Guides Meet-up. He is currently a Level 8 Google Local Guide. Level 10 is the current max, which I’m striving for. According to Google, “Get recognized as you earn more points. Earn the Local Guides badge. Local Guides Level 4 and above receive the badge in Google Maps as a perk.”
In the foreground (below) with dreads is newcomer Shawdae Cunningham, in pre start-up and discovery mode. She’s proposing TaffUp.com a Teenage Employment Agency, utilizing teens, part time, afterschool. “WHY?” asks the ESC, “Because I was a volunteer, coach, etc and I saw a group of teens smoking weed, so wanted to help teens find a better more productive path in life. ” We ALL believe that kids and all humans need training, mentoring and help. She has been to the SP Greenhouse asking questions, etc. Smart lady. Longtime ESC member Justin Petro asks “Why would people use TaffUp.com vs. TaskRabbit.com? Who is insuring the kids?” Chris Jenkins asks “What Pinellas County High Schools are you in contact with?” You need the people who provide the services (Teens) and the end users (customers), think Uber or AirBnB. Shawdea seems open to input and we connected her with Michael O’ Rourke, founder of Pocket Network, a mobile app developer, another newcomer tonight. My advice is to listen, learn and don’t fixate on creating the app (just yet) focus on how to solve the problem first. Find those people ready, willing and able to pay for that solution. Build a great team. One step at a time. Welcome Shawdae, certainly hope to see you back here often!
Below top left is Chris Jenkins, recently named CIO of The Year (2017) in Tampa Bay by TBBJ. Congrats Chris!! Next is the delightful Eileen Brauch of Paradise News (red tank top) next to Keith Witmer owner of Acclaim Plastics (red polo shirt), then Julia Marie. Paul Cook, Shawdae Cunningham and Dave Schmueck a Multi-Family Real Estate Investor and Guru (blue and gray shirt, far right rear corner). At the end of the table is Ryan Carpenter who has a video production company plus owns OhThePeopleYouMeet.com, (plaid shirt to right of Dave). Then in black shirt our pal, superstar Entrepreneur and author Daniel Nyiri, who won several CL Best of the Bay Awards – BRAVO!! Mark Andrews of Ubiquiti (light yellowish shirt, with glasses) sits next to newcomer Laura Fried R.N. (smiling with dark hair and glasses) with her Wishes4Wellness.com. She helps people in need navigate the healthcare arena. Finally another newcomer in yellow shirt, originally from Siberia, Russia, Lance Thompson. Lance found us online. Nice guy, who also joined us for dinner at Brick and Mortar! Previet, that’s Hello in Russian! (I’ve visited our sister city St. Petersburg, gorgeous!)
Bottom left corner in green scrubs is newcomer Joubert Desulme, founder of Welcome Home Family Chiropractic Center. Then Daniel Nyiri in black, and next to him is Mark Andrews of Ubiquiti an online training solutions company. Welcome Mark and Joubert!
Below is our founding members, the fantastic hubby and wife superhero team, Kym Jenkins of V_Spicery and Chris Jenkins the CIO of local powerhouse Symphony Agency. So good to see them both!! Chris held down the ESC fort while I was away, MOST appreciated Chris. He always draws a great crowd, and as tonight started, the initial turnout was light. I was nervous that people weren’t coming tonight. Luckily, we ended up with a FULL HOUSE!
DINNER PREVIEW: Virtually every time I go to Brick and Mortar Kitchen, I choose one of Chef Jason Ruhe’s specials, tonight no different. Him and his lovely wife / business partner Hope, are such welcoming and lovely humans. Take a peek at our ESC YOUTUBE CHANNEL for some quick food porn vids, subscribe if you wish, and keep updated.
Above is newcomer Landscape Designer Brent Lhuillier and Life Coach Paulette Bailey whose company Real Talk is something we’ll have to talk about! Both of them were smart enough to join us for dinner, we had many laughs, lots of shared wisdom and experiences, plus we had an excellent dining experience. Below is our pal, Harvard journalist on call Keith Long, who I’m meeting with soon about my upcoming 1st book, Let’s Party! It’s about Hosting 5-Star Weddings and Events, The NOVA Way. Now that I’ve hosted over 1,000 successful 5-Star events, I’m sharing my wisdom and advice. Thanks in advance Keith!
As I’m leading the meeting tonight, taking notes, acting as photographer, I heard our group onto the stairs, for an end of meeting group shot. Plus I had to do my “signature move!” Pictured here below is newcomer Leanne Scalli (gray and white checkered shirt, glasses; I’m almost touching her) sharing with us her Earth to Autism Start-up. She is working to help employ adults with Autism, a community service business. Her business card had a good feel to it, but it was UNclear as to what she did. We always try to get our members to be crystal clear as to exactly what they do, in one sentence or phrase. Their Pitch. Justin made the excellent point that if someone found your biz card laying around, and they read it, would they know EXACTLY what you do? Is the font large enough for them to read? Is your email, website, and other info available? Is there just enough info? Just enough, certainly never too much. Come to ESC and get your card reviewed for free. It’s Gold Jerry, it’s GOLD!!!
So we helped her, until we found a sentence that describes what she is offering:
= By Employing Adults with Autism we are Building Inclusive Communities.
= Employing People with Autism.
= Connecting Autistic Adults with Employment Opportunities.
= Helping People with Autism find Work.
= Providing Employment to Autistic Workers.
= Helping Businesses Hire People with Autism.
I suggested she talk to my long time pal, Superwoman herself, Christy Boccabella Brown, owner of Placement Works. She offers a similar service, paring those with disabilities to employers in need.
Newcomer Michael O’ Rourke, founder of Pocket Network, is on stairs, wearing glasses and a green t-shirt. Welcome Mike!
Tracy Aslita the delightful human and owner of The Queens Heads Restaurant, where we are meeting next week, Thursday Oct 5, 2017, is pictured above far left, wearing maroon t-shirt. Make sure to say hello to her, she’s awesome! TQH is located at 2501 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33713, and is a super cool restaurant and bar with excellent food and cocktails!
Below is our pal, Mr. Cool, Tony Michaelides (smiling with glasses) next to newcomer Bill Tarleton, welcome gents!!
Below left to right is our returning pals, Greg Simek founder of Body Nutrition and the lovely Kathi Harris Hat-a-Tude (wearing the beautiful hat of course), next to newcomers Ty Rivera who is teaching English online, plus she loves admin work (if you are hiring). Her amigo Raphael Whitten found us via the Google Local Guides meet-up. Finally in the cool plaid shirt is Brent Lhuillier, a newly transplanted to the area (puns galore!) Landscape Designer. Welcome to you all, hope to see you back soon!
Dinner tonight was at another one of our favorite favorite restaurants in DTSP, Brick and Mortar Kitchen, at 539 Central Avenue. Below is my squid ink risotto with fresh Mullet, SO DELICIOUS!!
Join us every Thursday, most always here at historic downtown St. Pete venue NOVA 535! Please keep NOVA in mind for weddings, receptions, film shoots, holiday parties; we’re a 5-Star private event venue. Plus we host our annual NOVAWEEN Adults Only Halloween Costume Party, this year it’s He11even, on Friday October 20, 2017! Get tickets online NOW and save $$.
Here’s all the photos we can post, as after 10 pm we put the cameras away!
Thanks for joining us! And again, PLEASE keep NOVA 535 in mind for any upcoming weddings, receptions, film shoots, corporate parties and fundraisers. I do ESC for free, it’s how I try to make our world a better place, and that takes away from my time spent paying my mortgage! Thank you!