Tammy Levent’s Bio
Tammy Levent: Business Strategist, Travel Expert, Author and Speaker
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.”
With a family to feed, no assets, and a deficit of $180 thousand dollars, I leveraged strategic partnerships to build Elite Travel, a travel management company that has done more than $75 million in traveled business. Winning numerous awards since opening in 1996, Elite Travel has become one of the fastest growing, most trusted travel agencies in the nation, specializing in corporate incentive travel, luxury travel, destination weddings and honeymoons.
In August of 2013, Elite Travel’s commitment to extraordinary customer service was tested when 89 year old Dodge Melkonian broke his hip on board a cruise ship in the Black Sea. Abandoned with his wife at a Turkish hospital, where no one spoke English, the Melkonians called their Elite Travel agent for help. That call sent us into a flurry of activity, arranging transport to a better-equipped hospital, sourcing a local tour guide to act as translator for them, contacting the media and calling public officials from the Governor of Florida to Senator Bill Nelson to help the Melkonians receive the best possible care, and get their bills paid for by the cruise line that had so spectacularly failed them. I consider this once of our greatest achievements.
The Travel Agent’s Agent
After having built Elite Travel in the wake of 9/11, during the collapse of the airlines, and in the face of natural disasters, the recession, and the onslaught of online booking engines, I know better than most how to create a successful business in an adverse climate. I also know that the travel agent industry needs help to restore our dignity and revive the art of travel. To win our clients back, we need to change the way we think of travel agents and redefine the business.
In 2013, I partnered with several top entrepreneurs, including Kevin Harrington (Shark Tank and As Seen on TV), to develop The Travel Agent’s Success Kit ™ to help struggling travel agencies successfully adapt to this new age of travel. Now travel agents across the globe have access to my videos, webinars, books, and my personal mentorship, so they can learn the business strategies that will allow them to be more than travel agents – they’ll become entrepreneurs.
Tammy Levent, Speaker and Business Consultant
As the economy sank further and further into recession, I realized I knew how to work around it to build and expand any business, not just travel agencies. As a speaker, I’ve conducted dozens of workshops and seminars on how to increase sales, generate leads, raise bottom lines, market and brand, and strategically partner for large corporations, small businesses, entrepreneur associations, and the Tampa Bay Business Journal, and have opened for national speakers like Les Brown.
When I’m not reaching large audiences with my message of Strategic Partnerships, I help entrepreneurs and business owners start and grow their businesses as a private consultant. Using my personal rolodex along with one-on-one coaching, I’ve created new businesses and brands with multimillionaire clientele within 6 months.