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A Birthday Party Full of Surprises


Tampa Bay Online

By LENORA LAKE | Tribune correspondent 
Published: July 19, 2011 
Updated: July 19, 2011 – 11:23 AM 

Article on tbo.com.

NORTH TAMPA — Each year, Tammy Levent’s birthday party is a surprise. But it’s not the honoree who gets surprised; it is the guests.

Levent, owner of Elite Travel Management Group in Palm Harbor, throws a public birthday bash with a purpose – to raise money for abandoned and abused children at Joshua House in Lutz.

This year’s event will be Saturday at Jaguar/Fisher/Spyker of Tampa, 320 E. Fletcher Ave.

“The whole element is who you really don’t know what I will do,” said Levent, who will turn 49 on July 29. “I might create a signature drink or have a special guest.”

She said the theme, which this year is “All In,” always “reflects what is going on the world around us.”

In 2009 the prince of Austria came; last year it had a family theme and the musical group Sister Sledge performed.

The event will feature food, drinks and silent and live auctions. Levent said more than 250 items have been secured for auction and for prizes.

The first two events, held at Saks Fifth Ave., drew more than 500 guests. Levent said she expects that many this year.

This year’s theme reflects her belief people need to be involved in the community.

“It’s all in or northing, it’s a matter of doing it for your community,” she said.

Levent, whose travel services include destination weddings, said she likes to give theme parties but had never had a birthday party. Four years ago she invited 20 people to a local restaurant and 100 showed up.

That gave her the idea for the fundraising party.

“If we are having a hard time (in the economic downturn), just think what the charities are having to do,” she said.

Levent said she wanted to give back to the community as she had been blessed to overcome a robbery of her previous business, a jewelry store, which forced her out of business. In addition, her grandmother was killed in an auto accident that seriously injured her two children.

“I grew up where I saw my grandmother always giving back,” she said.

Levent chose Joshua House because the children have so many needs, she said.

DeDe Grundel, executive director of Joshua House, said previous events, which have netted about $10,000, have resulted in school uniforms and shoes, new beds and new bedding for the residents.

This year the proceeds will go for uniforms, shoes and supplies.

“We consider ourselves fortunate to be on Tammy Levent’s preferred charity list, her support makes a big impact on the quality of services provided to the Joshua House children,” Grundel said.

For information about the event, visit www.tammylevent.com or call (727) 726-9090.

Tammy Levent Recently Featured in CRAVE



Elite Travel Management Group creates incredible memories clients will have forever. Catering to the discriminating tastes of its clients worldwide, Elite Travel offers amenities, pricing and travel experiences unmatched by competitors. Customer service is just one reason it has been named an American Express Vacations “Global Best of the Best Travel Agency” for 13 years in a row.


What are your most popular products or services?

We specialize in general travel, destination weddings, luxury trips and upscale corporate incentive travel. I’m also a motivational speaker and frequently conduct workshops at top resorts around the world.

What is your favorite part about owning a business?

I love the financial freedom and the lifestyle it gives me. I enjoy traveling, experiencing other cultures and meeting people around the world.

Who is your role model or mentor?

My Greek grandmother who had $20 when she came to the US and managed to build a home, a family and a small business. She worked hard and lived passionately.

Night of the Roundtable


Gulf Coast Business Review

The Friday Roundtable, a group of Tampa Bay business and community leaders, hosted its annual evening reception Feb. 23 at the University Club in downtown Tampa. The group hosts an informal lunch each month and invites select guests to discuss causes they support, with no agendas or sales pitches. The reception brings together members and attendees from the past year.

Tammy Levent featured bottom right.

Elite Travel CEO Tammy Levent Featured on Bay Area Business Magazine


“The Florida Diversity Council names Tammy Levent, CEO of Elite Travel, one of the recipients of this year’s “Glass Ceiling Award.” The award is designed to honor women who have shattered the glass ceiling in professions generally dominated by men.  Levent established Elite Travel Management Group in 1995 and is a renowned specialist in destination weddings, luxury trips and upscale corporate incentive travel.” – BABM

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