Tammy Levent’s Bio
Tammy Levent: Entrepreneur, Travel Expert, Author and
My resume began at the age of 14 when I worked three jobs while attending high school: I worked as a hostess in my parents’ restaurant, worked at a beach-side tanning company, and worked at the mental institution down the street from my house. After graduating high school at the age of 16, I packed my duffel bag with my clothes, tossed it in my car and drove to New York. I found a room to rent in East Orange New Jersey off of an ad tacked onto the wall of a Laundromat and split my time working in three diners on evenings and weekends, and doing secretarial work in English and Greek at a wholesale appliance store.
The appliance company sold 220 volt appliances, for which they found a big market in the Mediterranean, so they had to ship most of their inventory overseas. At 17, I had been working there a little over a year when it occurred to me that since we primarily used the same shipping company every time, we should partner with them to create a wholesale appliance and shipping company. I called the owner of the shipping company and pitched the idea of working together, and demanded to be made partner in the new business. That business became Seven Islands Shipping Company, the top company in the United States for export shipping to the Mediterranean in the 1980’s and ‘90s until it was sold.
My husband and I moved back to Florida and started a successful jewelry business, but in 1994, 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, quickly becoming 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 to 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 you could do anything, what would you do?” I said “I would travel the world.” From then on my focus has been establishing myself in the travel industry using a combination of dedicated customer service and strategic partnerships.
Today with more than 25 employees and contractors throughout the United States, Elite Travel has earned the reputation as one of the most trusted travel management groups in the country.
- 2012 # 1 National Best Selling book “Women Who Mean Business”
- 2013 coming soon featured in the ebook “The Little Giant”: Small Business is the New Big
- “Ambassador/Strategic Partner” for Business Women Connect
- 2012 Editors choice awards “Women Who Mean Business”
- 2011 Launch of her “www.WHIPitoutshow” (Women have infinite Power in Themselves) including GET WHIPPED Workshops and Seminars unleash your inner power!!
- 2011 Featured in “The Crave” Book
- Advisory board for the Sustainable Entrepreneurship & Innovation Alliance at the University of South Florida
- 2011 Inducted and honoree in the World’s Whos Who
- 2010 Made it a Million Award – National E Women Network
- 2011 Speaker & Sponsor, 1st Tampa Bays Womens Conference
- 2011 Women Extraordinaire Award
- NSA – National Speakers Association member
- Member: CLIA, IATAN, Tahiti Tiare Certified agency, Certified Destination Wedding Specialists
- Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultant for El Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels as well as Azul Hotels by Karisma Elite Award Winner “Top 10 Selling Agency for El Dorado Royal”
- Official Travel Sponsor, Tampa PWG show sponsors, Elite Events in Atlanta
- Contributor Writer Publications: The Perfect Wedding Guide, Bride’s Magazine, Modern Bride, Florida Bride, For the Bride, The Robb Report, Conde Nast Traveler, Weddzilla.com, Tampa Style Magazine, Panache Vue, Pulse Magazine, Lady Angler Magazine
- Platinum Preferred Agency Couples Resorts 14 years in a row
- Master Agent with AMResorts
- Travel Impressions/ American Express Vacations Global Award worldwide Best of the Best Agency 14 years in a row
- Best of the Best Sandals Agency
- 2005, 2006, 2007 Fast 50 top growing companies in Tampa Bay
- 2011 National Diversity Council -Finalist Glass Ceiling Award
- 2002, 2008 & 2012 Business Woman of the Year awards
- 2008 Finalist TBBJ Ultimate CEO of the Year
- NBC Travel Show -Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Seminar presented by Tammy Levent
- Featured on NBC’s Hollywood’s “Extra”
- 2001 to present Top 25 Women Owned Business, in the TampaBay Business Journal Book of Lists
Tammy herself has been featured internationally, including:
- The Perfect Wedding Guide
- Bride’s Magazine
- Modern Bride
- Florida Bride
- For The Bride
- The Robb Report
- Conde Nast Traveler
- Travel Weekly Spotlights
- Tampa Bay Illustrated
- Travel Agent Magazine
- Choice Lifestyle
- Panache Vue
- Orlando Style Magazine
- Tampa Style Magazine
- Pulse Magazine
- Tampabay Parenting Magazine
- Applause Magazine
Fun Facts About Tammy (That aren’t on her official bio!)
Tammy Levent didn’t start out as Tammy Levent (“Tammy” means “the perfect one” in Hebrew; “Levent” means “beautiful.”) In fact, the name she was born with in Queens, New York, reflects her Greek heritage in a big, multisyllabic way: Stamatia Kavourakis!
Young Tammy couldn’t sit still – at age 7, she made headlines as the youngest person to ever fly across the Atlantic alone; her dream job was to be a medical photographer when she grew up, and at the age of 14 she worked at her first real job: as hostess in her parents’ restaurant – while attending classes at St. Pete’s College; working at the mental institution down the street; and working at a beachside tanning salon. Yes, Tammy has always been a very busy girl.
Shortly after moving to New York after high school, Tammy attracted a stalker who torched her apartment after she refused to go out with him (not her first near-death experience either!). But soon after that traumatic event, at the age of 17, she became founding partner in her first company, an export and shipping company that sold and sent appliances to the Mediterranean. A few years later, with her first big break under her belt, she headed back to Florida to start a jewelry business (and later, to support her daughter Katie’s singing career, she formed her own record label).
After founding Elite Travel on incentive travel, Tammy realized she needed to expand her expertise, so she asked herself “What will people always do?” Her two answers were: Get married, and go on honeymoons! Recently, she proved that statement to be true when she had her own destination wedding with the love of her life, Rob, whom she met at a photo shoot for What’s Hot Tampa Bay magazine.
Her favorite color is white; her favorite food is fish (and anything she makes – she’s an incredible cook!); and her favorite flower is the orchid.