Our Empower Lunch Series was formed to encourage entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship in our community. Once per month we will facilitate a friendly conversation with a business owner and/or executive and have them share their stories from the trenches with a select group of Emerging Leaders. From forming and funding, to operating, or even selling, you will walk away empowered with intelligence and confidence to start or strengthen your business.

Yes, You Can Start A Business

Fri., Feb. 23, 2018

Noon – 1:30pm

Ulele Restaurant

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Featured Speaker
Michael Kilgore, Chief Marketing Officer, Columbia Restaurant Group

Michael Kilgore is the Chief Marketing Officer of the Columbia Restaurant Group, which has seven locations through Florida – including the 113-year-old landmark location in Ybor City – as well as the Cha Cha Coconuts, Ulele, Goody Goody and Café con Leche Ybor City concepts. He and his team coordinate all marketing, PR, digital and social media, reputation monitoring and experience marketing for all 13 Florida restaurants. The fourth-generation family business has opened five restaurants and three new brands in the last three years with two more brands and locations coming in the next two years.

He is the former Vice President of Marketing and Customer Experiences for the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, one of the most-attended venues of its size in the world. Before that he worked at The Tampa Tribune as a writer, editor and marketer.

Kilgore served for a year as the chairman of Visit Tampa Bay and as a board member for many years. He was on the Tampa Bay Super Bowl Task Force leading up to 2001 and served as the chairman of the NHL All-Star Weekend host committee in 1999. In 2009, Kilgore was named the Road Marketer of the Year by the Broadway League, a professional organization of Broadway producers and presenters. At the Tribune, his creative team won Best in Show as overall winners for 10 straight years in the annual Florida Newspaper Advertising and Marketing Executives creative excellence awards.