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Greetings from Sunny Florida!

An Autobiographical Sketch

Florida Life

Many of you may know me as a fitness counselor with Gainesville Health & Fitness, a role I am very passionate about and have been doing for many years. Some of you may know me from helping you with academic or financial services, while others of you may know me from the dance scene or serving your favorite cocktails. Yet others of you may know me from local community organizations like the Junior League, Chamber of Commerce, or Nature Centers Commission. You may even know me if our kids play together, or if we go to the same coffee shop.

Let's be real though, most of you don't know me at all! But what all of you don't know is what I'm about to tell you, so listen up! The Covid pandemic evoked unprecedented times, and stirred up personal emotions in everyone. During the shut-down, I was out of work and in panic (like most of you). One day while questioning the meaning of my life, I had a vision of my entire life flash before my eyes. All I had done in my life up until that point seemed like a hot mess, and then God showed me how it all made sense. That is when I knew I can achieve dreams I never thought possible, and that is when Heart of Florida was born.

Sunshine Vision

The vision started at the very beginning: I was born in Pahokee, Florida and raised in Clewiston, Florida. I lived in Moore Haven, Belle Glade, Hialeah, Royal Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, and Isla Morada, Florida. I have been vacationing every summer since the womb in Bonita Springs, Florida; and, I now reside in Gainesville, Florida. My Master's studies were focused on pre-to-modern Florida history, and fun fact, my sister was even born in Disney (true story)! Suffice to say, I know Florida well; and, it has my heart. I realized I can turn that authenticity, along with the skills and knowledge I've acquired, into something great for the world.

The vision continued through my undergraduate and graduate studies, a very long and trying time as a student-athlete. During my undergraduate studies, I captained, coached, and managed tumbling, cheer, and dance teams. While in school, I also worked full-time in the hospitality industry in several different capacities from dishwasher to bartender, then from bar manager to entrepreneur. While in graduate school, I started working in education as a program instructor, academic advisor, and career services coordinator; then, I moved into the banking and finance industry from teller to financial advisor. After having a meltdown on a treadmill, I decided to change course to the health and fitness industry.

Heart of Florida

The vision concluded with everything happening for a reason just to bring me to this moment, and the rest of my life added-up. As a Florida native and historian, as well as a hospitality specialist and professional consultant, I created a concierge service for travel, events, and hospitality through the heart of a Florida native. Heart of Florida Concierge is a faith-based, woman-led, and family-oriented consulting agency inspired by my life in Florida and my love for the Sunshine State. It's never too late to realize you have a dream, and it's never too late to show up for your dream. My home state is a gem, and I am so blessed to live in paradise.

Genesis 2:15 says, "Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. " That is my mission, to tend and to keep Florida's paradise for all of us to enjoy as the best versions of ourselves in a Sunshine State of mind. So as your new event, vacation, and hospitality consultant, please contact me for an authentic Florida experience. I specialize in weddings, private parties, corporate events, small and large group travel, as well as restaurant and bar management all over the Sunshine State. Please like and follow Heart of Florida Concierge on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram to stay updated, @heartoffloridaconcierge.

Ciao for now!

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© 2020 Marilyn Prado

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