Tammy Levent | Public Speaker & Business Mentor | Tampa, Florida
My experience with building businesses began before I could legally vote. At the age of 16, I drove to New York, found a room to rent off of a Laundromat’s wall and worked as a secretary at a wholesale appliance store. After one year of learning the business, I called the owner of the shipping company we used to ship our appliances and laid out reasons for why we should combine our two businesses into one full-service company. That is how, at the age of 17, I became a founding partner of 7 Islands Shipping, the top company in the United States for export shipping to the Mediterranean throughout the 1980’s and ‘90s. It was my first Strategic Partnership and formed my lifelong philosophy of successful entrepreneurship.
After Seven Islands Shipping was sold, my husband and I moved back to Florida and started a successful jewelry store. In 1994, our lives changed when two armed robbers stole more than 95 percent of the inventory, forcing us to close. Solely responsible for the financial support of my family, I took a job as a telemarketer selling timeshare packages and quickly became the top salesperson in the company. One year later, as I was training new employees in sales calls, my grandmother and my two small children were involved in a fatal car accident that left her dead and my children in critical condition. I resigned so I could care for them while they were in the ICU.
It was a nurse in that ICU who posed the question that changed the course of my future.
She asked, “If it had nothing to do with money, what would you do?”
I said “I would travel the world.”