Tammy Levent Profile

  • Starting with a $180,000 deficit in the post 9/11 tourism slump, Levent leveraged creativity, hard work, and strategic partnerships to build Elite Travel, a $100 million travel agency that continues to be at the top of its industry to date.

  • Levent's business practices have garnered her international recognition and an extensive list of honors and awards including: 3 time recipient of Business Journal’s Fast 50, Top 30 List of Women-Owned Businesses for 16 years in a row, and winner of the Best of the Best American Express Global award for 6 years straight.

  • A gripping speaker, Levent goes beyond inspiration, equipping attendees with the concrete tools they need to start or expand a business in even the most adverse climate.
  • While other travel agencies were succumbing to the advent of online search engines and post-9/11 woes, Tammy Levent grew her company, Elite Travel, into a 100-million-dollar business. But economic setbacks are just a fraction of the obstacles the respected entrepreneur and branding expert has overcome. As a speaker, best-selling author, and highly sought-after consultant, Levent inspires and teaches others how to build and leverage strategic partnerships along with her other tried-and-tested techniques for turning failing businesses around and growing brands from scratch.

    At age 17, Levent co-founded 7 Islands Shipping, a leading export company. Following her love of diamonds, she sold 7 Islands and opened up a jewelry store. However, an armed robbery stripped Levent of her inventory and her savings. Just a few months later, a car accident killed her grandmother and left Levent’s two young children in the Intensive Care Unit. With $180,000 in business and medical debt and mouths to feed, Levent jumpstarted her career in the travel industry, equipped only with a phone line, a fax machine, and a relentless drive to succeed.

    Mixing sharp business acumen with interpersonal savvy, Levent sought and formed numerous partnerships to build Elite Travel into one of the top travel groups in the nation. Today, she is an internationally known name within the travel industry, though her proven techniques and strategies have helped her cross over to numerous other industries as a speaker and consultant. She is a 3-time recipient of Business Journal’s Fast 50, Top 30 List of Women-Owned Businesses for 16 years in a row, winner of the Best of the Best American Express Global award for 6 years straight, and multiple Magellan and Travvy Awards for most Innovative Travel Agency.

    Levent is seen by 30 million households during her weekly travel segment, JustGoTrav, on NBC Daytime. Additionally, she is the author of the best-selling book Sink or Swim and a contributing author to Women Who Mean Business.

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio

      The best speakers are the ones who’ve struggled for every dollar they earned, and have almost drowned in the vast ocean of life before they learned to swim. The ones who hit rock bottom and lived to tell about it. Those are the ones you want to hear and learn from. They’re real. They’re impressive, and they’re where true inspiration begins.

      Tammy’s one of those people and she has something to share. Surviving a violent robbery that forced her business to close and left her with mounting debt, and then within weeks after that, losing her grandmother in a car accident that left Tammy’s two young children with severe injuries, she had to dig deep to find her inner power to survive – and thrive. You’ll want to hear it. She’s written about it, she’s been televised on it, and now she’s available to tell you her story. Hear how she not only survived, but built a multimillion dollar business from scratch. When she’s done, you’ll be inspired.

      She became a master entrepreneur, an author of two best-selling books, Sink or Swim and Women Who Mean Business, a highly sought after motivational speaker, and the recipient of many awards including: a 3 time recipient of Business Journal’s Fast 50, Top 30 List of Women Owned Businesses for 16 years in a row, winner of the Best of the Best American Express Global award for 6 years straight and multiple Magellan and Travvy Awards for most Innovative Travel Agency. Her most recent endeavor is her new segment JustGoTrav that airs weekly on NBC Daytime Show Nationally alongside Emmy Award Winner Jerry Penacoli.

      But there’s more. Tammy Levent is not just here to motivate you and others with her success story. What sets her apart from other keynote speakers is that when you walk out of her presentation, you will not only be inspired to live your dreams, you will be taught just how to do that. She’s a rare gem in the often chaotic and difficult world of business. She will take you by the hand and teach you her ways to success.

      Tammy’s greatest asset, and the foundational tool she’s used to bypass every obstacle the economy has ever thrown at her, is her knowledge of leveraging strategic partnerships. It’s the topic of her most requested keynote address, and her specialty. She not only built her business around strategic partnerships, but rebuilt her life when she had nothing left. And she will teach you all about it. Then, she will hand you your very first strategic partnership. Yes, you will leave the premises with a tool to build yourself a potential empire.

      With Tammy’s experience as a sales expert and business strategist, she specializes in building brands that can grow businesses from scratch. She shares this vast knowledge at every event she speaks at. Every keynote speech is uniquely created to meet the needs and goals of the conference or business in which she is addressing. Due to her vast business experience, she can relate to any and all audiences. She will meet, match and engage her viewers for an experience unlike any other keynote speaker.

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    Tammy Levent's Speech Descriptions

    Internationally recognized travel expert and entrepreneur, Tammy Levent gets people where they want to go – and not just geographically. The successful businesswoman shares her techniques for starting and expanding a business no matter the economic climate or your financial situation.

    Every speaker will tell you the same thing: live your dreams, reach for the stars, and aim high. But few speakers will give you the applicable tools that enable you to create that business and live that dream. Even fewer will send you out the door with a strategic partner to help you get started.

    Whether you need a speaker to help increase your sales numbers as an employer motivating their employees, train individuals to grow their businesses as entrepreneurs, offer workshops on start-up companies or an organization needing some true inspiration, the powerhouse entrepreneur and stellar saleswoman, Tammy Levent will develop innovative ways to increase or build revenues at every speaking venue.

    Some of her favorite topics to speak on are:

  • Closing the Sale and Keeping Your Clients
  • Lead Generation for Building your Business and Sustaining Clients for Years
  • Representing Your Company & Yourself Using Strategic Partnerships, Branding and Marketing
  • Doing Well by Doing Good: Building Your Brand with Your Community

  • Tammy Levent on Speaking

    We tend to always say ”this or that happened” and then give an excuse as to why things don’t work out or why we don’t keep growing. When I speak, I make sure that everyone in the room understands that we are all at the same level… It’s a matter of perspective and how to overcome those challenges for us to be able to get to the next level.

    SPEAKING.COM: What do you want people to learn/take away from your presentations?

    LEVENT: My story alone will inspire anyone who has doubts of being able to achieve greater success. We tend to always say ”this or that happened” and then give an excuse as to why things don’t work out or why we don’t keep growing. When I speak, I make sure that everyone in the room understands that we are all at the same level. We all have the same issues, the same challenges, the same problems. It’s a matter of perspective and how to overcome those challenges for us to be able to get to the next level.

    I have had so many unforeseen misfortunes: armed robberies, near death experiences, murders, hit and run accidents, cancer, an elevator crash – I lost all my money twice! In facing the most extreme situations, I became stronger. I think that my stories help the audience connect with me. They don’t feel sorry for me, which is what I don’t want happening; rather, I just want them to comprehend that we all have bad days – some worse than others. It’s your actions and your reactions that will make the difference in the direction you take in your life.

    I’m also able to have them understand that no matter where you are in your life, you need to have many strategic partners to get further. The right partnerships will get you to unimaginable success. That’s not something easy for most people to teach, but the way I share my story and my success helps my audiences get it and apply it immediately, even before leaving the room.

    SPEAKING.COM: What kind of special prep work do you do prior to an event? How do you prepare for your speaking engagements?

    LEVENT: I always take the time to learn about the demographics of my audience. While I can talk to anyone – whether they are corporate or a group of students – I always make sure I know exactly who I’m talking to. This way I can choose the best topic and apply it to them. I have spoken to audiences from 12 years of age all the way up to 90, and enjoy it all.

    I also find out a little about the company or organization that hired me to speak, which makes for good business sense.

    I was real, I was human and I had a line of about 200 people waiting to talk to me afterwards.

    SPEAKING.COM: Have you had any particularly memorable speaking engagements/unusual situations arise while on the road?

    LEVENT: One of my more memorable speaking engagements was when I had a small speaking event with a group of troubled teens, I was asked to speak to them about accountability and what happens to your future if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do.

    At first they were ignoring me and on their phones. I stood there thinking, This is going to be just great. I can’t even get them to look up at me. So I just started speaking. The first words out of my mouth, which were not rehearsed were, “When my son got arrested the first time, he was 8-years-old.”

    Well, that was it! Every phone went down and every head looked up. Like I said, I have a way of always connecting with my audience.

    The hardest keynote speaking engagement for me was only a couple of years ago, I had just found out I had breast cancer and had to speak to about 600 people on wellness in Canada. I stopped in the middle of my speech and said, ‘You know what, I’m going to share with you something I just learned yesterday!’ It turned out to be one of my best speeches. I was real, I was human and I had a line of about 200 people waiting to talk to me afterwards. It was incredible and the support for just being you and being real so that people can relate makes it worthwhile in the end.

    SPEAKING.COM: What types of audiences would most benefit from your message?

    LEVENT: Any type, but I especially love to talk to people who need help growing their business or company sales teams. After all, you can still build a strategic partnership while working for someone else.

    I take the time to talk to my potential clients about the message so they can understand exactly what it is they’re trying to accomplish. Audiences interested in getting more sales, or learning creative ways to grow their brand or start-up companies that may not have direction will surely benefit.

    SPEAKING.COM: Which of your keynote speaking topics are your favorites and why?

    LEVENT: My favorite keynote is building strategic partnerships for greater success, because I am living proof it works! I have built my business from minus to millions and continue to work that same formula day after day. I set up my latest strategic partnership while sponsoring and speaking at a women in film and television industry event. I have been approached by 3 Emmy award-winning producers to do a TV travel show, a series and a movie based on my life. A couple of hours with me and your life changes.

    The runner-up would be on branding. I have been able to successfully brand my business, my own name, my tv segments on national tv, my book, my consulting business and so much more. I can show my audience how to brand their name and image where they understand and apply what they learned from me with immediate results.

    SPEAKING.COM: What inspired you to start doing speaking engagements?

    LEVENT: I have been speaking since I was in high school and had the best speech teacher, Mrs. Marilyn McDonald. I was the one who was always in the front line of debate battles, speaking in front of many audiences.

    I think it was evident I was destined to do this once I had a story to share. My very first speaking event in front of an audience of about 150 was 15 years ago at an E-woman networking event. I was asked to speak and tell my story and I shared as though it was only 4 of us at dinner sitting around and just chatting. I had so many people laugh and cry and tell me I was one of the most moving speakers they ever heard or met.

    From there, I did my own mini workshops to gain some exposure and polish my speaking skills. My first event opening for a famous speaker was for Les Brown, and that further inspired me to move into the speaking space and also write a book on my life story. At the end of the day, though, what inspires me most is inspiring others.

    It goes back to knowing your audience and what they expect, while giving them more than they ever imagined.

    SPEAKING.COM: How do you keep your audience engaged and actively listening during your keynotes? Do you use case studies, personal stories and/or in your speeches?

    LEVENT: Engagement with the audience is crucial. I often choose a couple of people in the audience and ask them some questions to elaborate on what I am speaking about, and that engagement is well received. People tend to communicate more and really understand what I’m saying when it applies to real life situations and it’s my favorite part of speaking.

    I may use a power point as a guide, with more photos than anything, and humor is a definite. I’ll bring in an example of what I’m talking about and compare it to a real-life news story that they can relate to. It’s always done in good taste but gets a laugh every time. Again it goes back to knowing your audience and what they expect, while giving them more than they ever imagined.

    SPEAKING.COM: What are some of the successes you’ve helped clients achieve?

    LEVENT: I advise clients that if they want success they can simply follow my proven formula. I often speak at events where we have both vendors and clients and I always make it a goal to introduce people who I think may form a great relationship with each other. I’ve done this so often, these relationships have easily resulted in millions of dollars in revenue. I have created brands for start-ups that have no direction, no goals, and no vision. Many of those brands are now multi-million dollar companies. One of the best things I can do is help get their brand on TV, a feat that is doable but not easy. Exclusive Interview with Tammy Levent
    Growing Your Business through Strategic Partnerships, with Tammy Levent
    In this exclusive interview, entrepreneur and sales speaker, Tammy Levent discusses:
    • Starting a business with little to no capital
    • What you need to know to build strategic partnerships
    • How she earned her first million dollars by age 20, lost it all, and got it back
    Read the Full Interview

    "If you’re going to start a business, make sure it’s full time. We women multi-task and having to split our time with another project is another common reason for failure. Just build one part perfectly and then you can expand to other divisions."
    - Tammy Levent

    What People are Saying about Seeing Tammy Speak

    Rating Entries

    “It was wonderful to have Tammy Levent speak at our conference. Her story was intriguing, vivacious, but most importantly REAL. Everyone loved hearing how she created her multimillion dollar company and the steps she took in getting there. Not only did we hear an amazing story but learned that strategic partnerships are an important way to move your business forward. Tammy was very inspiring and I feel more inspired each time I hear her!”

    – Hilal Ozkaya, Managing Partner & Event Management Specialist, Plan Ahead Events Central Tampa

    “Tammy, It is safe to say that you were the one person who made the greatest impact on me at the CEO conference. Give me a shout whenever you want me to stand up and say “NOTHING!” next time you are speaking! I just wanted to send an email expressing my gratitude for the time you spent talking to me and my fellow CEO teammates from Whitewater. I loved listening to both your entrepreneurial and life stories, and I am beginning my journey to make an impact just as big as you! Your lessons on strategic partnerships floored me, and one day I will develop the knack that you have for identifying those situations. Keep being awesome, and it would mean a lot to me if I could send you an email from time to time with some ideas that I have!”

    – Brandon Fong

    “Ms. Tammy Levent, Thank you for inspiring young entrepreneurs! I hope all is well, my name is Andres Delgado and I had the pleasure of speaking to you this past weekend at the CEO conference in Orlando Florida. I would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to inspire young entrepreneurs like myself. The stories you shared motivated me to pursue my dreams no matter the optical I face. You are a successful entrepreneur and I wish to be in your shoes one day. I share your passion to travel the world and help people in need.”


    Andres Delgado

    “Ms. Levent, This is David McNiel, from Texas State University. Meeting you and moderating for you at the CEO conference this past weekend was terrific. I really enjoyed hearing about what you have accomplished with strategic partnerships and how you overcame so much adversity.

    You are an inspirational woman and I would love to be a part of your future. Thank you for donating your time and energy to CEO. If you ever need anything, feet on the ground in Texas, let me know.”

    David McNiel,
    Executive Assistant,
    Texas State CEO

    “I heard Tammy Levent speak in May at the Romance Travel Forum in Cancun. I purchased her TASK kit and have been in contact with her on a regular basis for a few weeks now. I have been a travel agent for 4 years and have learned more from Tammy the last 2 month than I have any other training I have done. I have now decided to go to Jamaica to learn more from her and Kevin Harrington in October! I can’t wait to see you all there.”

    ~Monique Brigham, Plumeria Breezes Travel

    “I heard Tammy Levent speak at the Tampa Bay Women’s Conference, and she wasn’t even five minutes into her talk before I was scribbling down ideas for how to improve my business. What she has to say is so immediately useful that it energizes you to start doing something NOW.I couldn’t wait to get to my laptop and start emailing my new “strategic partners.” I couldn’t believe it never occurred to me before to reach out to these people to improve both our businesses. It’s been two weeks since that conference, and I can already say that I have met the first professional goal I wrote down for myself that day. And it’s a goal that I had no idea how to reach before listening to Tammy.”

    -Lauren Van Mullem, Writer

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    Books by Tammy Levent:

    Sink or Swim: A Survival Story

    Only Through Extreme Pressure and Stress Does Coal Become a Diamond
    The life story of Tammy Levent shows that only through extreme pressures and stresses can you truly turn a life into a diamond. Tammy has overcome trials and sorrows that would break most people, yet she turns each one into a catalyst to create something even better. She shows that no matter what happens, no matter how horrible of a curve life can throw your way; there is always a silver lining that can be turned into something wonderful. Her inspiring story will help anyone to build on their setbacks and create a life that truly is a diamond to behold.

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