The stories behind the ‘story’

Here are some behind-the-scenes photos, and stories, from Tampa Bay Business and Wealth’s fourth year of publishing. Here’s to kicking off year five!

September 2021

We knew before arriving at Erin Meagher’s home that she wanted to do something more creative for her cover shoot. We did not know she was going to put on an evening gown and jump in the pool, but we sure are glad she did. We thought the resulting cover image was one of the most striking we had ever done. While we didn’t win an award for this cover image, it remains a favorite in our hearts (so far).

Jason Baker loved this photo with Scott Fink and his dog. It didn’t make it in his cover story spread, so we made sure to share it here.

October 2021

After producing four years worth of cover stories for TBBW we can honestly say one of the most frank, and honest, interviews we’ve ever done was with Scott Fink. He holds nothing back and is so genuine, it’s refreshing. This interview was a lot of fun – and so was his puppy. Fink is an icon in the automotive community and an in the philanthropic giving space. He’s just an all-around amazing man. We are so glad he is a part of this great business community. 

November 2021

Nipesh Shah has a reputation of being fairly under the radar. He told us that he only agreed to do the story under the guidance of his staff who was pushing him to be “out there more.” When your job is to get someone to talk to you, and they are already telling you they don’t talk to people, we always know that we will have our work cut out for us. And then we start the uphill battle of convincing them why they should. Shah ended up being very forthcoming and was such an interesting story and, another, incredible man. 

Joy Gendusa held nothing back during her interview.

December 2021

To say she is an open book, who doesn’t care what question you ask her and answers them with the utmost of confidence, would be an understatement. Joy Gendusa is a joy to be around, to learn from, to listen to and to be able to celebrate with. Her wisdom of street smarts, mixed with great opportunities, made for a terrific interview and an even better story. And her brave, bathtub shot won us a Gold Charlie Award from the Florida Magazine Association. Spreading the “Joy,” if you will…Did you miss her CEO Connect? Sorry, but it was the holiday party not to miss in 2021!

Danny Persaud

January 2022

It’s not often that someone can bring the entire TBBW team to tears. But Danny Persaud did. His heartfelt story of his upbringing, giving back to the community and ultimate success rendered all of us speechless. We felt every answer he offered, walked down the streets of his childhood with him and we feel blessed to call him a friend. Many stories are worthy of the rags to riches title, but not many are this worthy. 

Shilen Patel

February 2022

It was a family affair at Shilen Patel’s condominium, on Indian Rocks Beach. We were able to spend time his wife, Pratima (Bridgette admired her shoes), his children and his mother, Dr. Pallavi Patel. We frolicked on the beach with them all and took in the cool sea breeze. When it came time to have his CEO Connect, we had the entire family there and to say the room was packed would be an understatement. It was like being in the presence of Tampa Bay royalty, though they are the kindest, and most humble, people you will ever meet. 


March 2022

Jacqueline Darna wanted us to capture photos of her salsa dancing in her home dance studio but with more “costume” changes, and locations, then we had ever done for a shoot – and a new photographer we had never worked with before, we ran out of time. Thankfully, we had another former dancer as a previous cover star. Hugh Campbell and Darna delivered a short performance at her CEO Connect, in March. And, while the Wonder Woman photos didn’t make the cut, Darna is certainly a superhero in her field. 

Julius Davis

April 2022

Julius Davis is an unknown quantity and embodies the “off the radar” cover star we search for. We should’ve done a centerfold for this guy, as all the ladies wanted to know if he was an eligible bachelor. And, while trying to get him to go deep into his story proved quite difficult in the interview (Bridgette threatened to kick him in the shin if he didn’t cry and get real) he bloomed like a flower on stage during his CEO Connect. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Give him bourbon, it helps.

May 2022

Cammie and Chris Chatterton’s visit proved to be another family gathering. Did we mention how much we enjoy that about this process? Not only do people invite us into their homes but they also welcome us into their families and their lives. There is always laughter, joy and a true peek into who they are as people, parents and philanthropists. The Chatterton’s were amazing hosts and have one of the best homes we’ve seen, for entertainment! And entertain they do! We laughed our way through this interview because they are just such genuine, happy and hilarious people. 

A collection of celebratory wine bottles in Casey Ellison’s home.

June 2022

Casey, Cory and Sam Ellison are true Tampa Bay icons and definitely Tampa Bay sports fiends! They embody Champa Bay and evidence can be seen throughout Casey’s beautiful home. This was a first, although we’ve been trying for 4.5 years. While we’ve had two years of Mother’s Day covers we were finally able to capture a father/son company in the pages of TBBW, thanks to the Ellison men. Finding a shot where we could fit three on people on the cover, rather than our typical one (or two) was no easy task. But what was easy was telling the story of these three men and what they’ve done for Tampa Bay and their iconic projects that have, quite literally, changed the hospitality vibe of our region. 

July 2022

Deborah Duffey is quiet, demure, delightful and a badass! She runs multiple companies, is mom to two girls, a wife, a dog mom and was a horse caregiver who – also – finds delight in her garden. No one has ever been as reserved as Duffey was and, repeatedly, reminded us there was no other publication she would ever trust to tell her story. We feel so blessed to have had the chance to share her with you, our readers, and the world! She is deserving of so much admiration and many accolades. Thanks for your vote of confidence Deborah, your words changed lives. 

Oh Rufflegate 2022…Bridgette Bello loves her Ruffles! Suhail Rifaie made sure to have some for her when TBBW arrived at his home.

August 2022

Suhail Rifaie and his wife, Rana, really love to host guests! The spread she had waiting for us when we arrived was unbelievable. We show up with our own catering from Mise en Place, always, and the complement of what Rana put together made for a fantastic afternoon. They introduced us to some new, cultural foods and no one left hungry! They even made sure to find some Ruffles for Bridgette, having heard her lamenting about them being out of stock at Publix. 

Bridgette Bello, CEO and publisher of TBBW contributed to this story. 

Photos by Michael McCoy 

(Paul Pelak was the photographer for the March 2022 Cover)  

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