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Do you know how Wade and I met? If you know one or both of us, you’d might guess we met through our community and music connections. 

You may also be curious to know how in the world this new “dream team” came together. Well, stick around because your burning questions are about to be answered. No, it’s not what you’re thinking. This isn’t a “boy meets girl and they ride off into the sunset” story but nevertheless, it still holds sentimental value. 

I first met Connect Bradenton’s “Macro Manager”, Wade Hamilton, in 2015 through Realize Bradenton. Wade and I were part of a group of Millennials chosen to participate in Realize Bradenton’s “See Me, Hear Me” campaign. There wasn’t much time to interact on an individual basis so I don’t recall our first official meeting, but I do remember thinking, “Who’s the heavily bearded guy?”

At the end of 2015, I was still working my full-time office job and playing music occasionally. By 2016, I took a leap of faith and pursued music as my career. Wade and his music promotion company, Independent Jones, was one of my first collaborations.

Wade booked me and another fabulous musician, Kristopher James, to play a wine tasting at Hotel Indigo in downtown Sarasota. It was an amazing experience and I still play in the hotel’s lobby to this day.

As our professional relationship continued to grow, I discovered he and his wife knew my parents. Once I got over the shock, I realized how cool it was and that the world is indeed small. 

Also in 2016, I was fortunate enough to write a feature story on Wade and his business partner, Morgan Bettes, for Ticket Sarasota. I remember Wade saying it was the most “comprehensive” feature he’s read. I was so flattered by that statement. 

Three years later, I’m now preparing for the release of my very first EP, “Quality of Life.” This has been an amazing journey so far, but it hasn’t come without it’s frustrations. I wracked my brain thinking who could host my album release party. 

In June, I reached out to Wade to discuss the possibility of having my release at Connect. Indie Jones hosted a couple shows there in the past so it wasn’t a far fetched idea, but Wade had only been at Connect for about a month when I asked.  

Thankfully, he agreed and helped flesh out my ideas and goals for the event. He couldn’t be more helpful and accommodating. With that being said, I’m happy to announce that my album release party will be held on Friday, October 25th at Connect Bradenton. Click here for tickets.

This entire process has been a dream come true.

But that’s not all…

You’re probably (and hopefully) wondering when I’ll get to how I started working at Connect. Well, I walked in one day to discuss some ideas for the release party and Wade proposed the idea of using my love of community and helping others at Connect during the mornings. 

I never expected to work for Connect Bradenton although I collaborated with the original owner, Bernie, when it first opened. I was fortunate enough to play the grand opening which was an honor.

It’s been a few weeks since I started working here and things are off to a great start. I have already connected with so many of you. Observing entrepreneurs, working professionals, and new businesses work on their dreams on a daily basis has already inspired by own work ethic. I’m thankful to work at a place that allows a flexible work environment that affords you the ability to work when you want.  

Thanks for welcoming me to the Connect team and I look forward to helping you grow your business and support you in any way that I can.

For me, joining Connect was a full circle moment. The organic relationship that Wade and I built is the same type of relationships I want to see you grow at Connect. I’d never imagined the great fortune of playing the grand opening to now working here. I learned that connecting with like-minded people is the foundation to building solid relationships and achieving great results. And that’s something you can’t force. 

Stay tuned for part 2.

Connect Bradenton’s grand opening in 2017.

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