Save the Date!

Thursday, June 8, 2023

The Ritz-Carlton, Marina Del Rey

Marina Del Rey, California

Click Here to see more photos from the 2022 WAVE Awards

Click Here to see the special 2022 WAVE Winner's Guide!


Every year, the editorial team at TravelAge West, headed by Editor-in-Chief Ken Shapiro, reviews hundreds of travel suppliers and products. Review methods include product analysis, on-site visits, a travel agent survey and online research. After careful consideration, a list of “Editor’s Pick” nominees, in a variety of categories are confirmed.

Click here to see a list of the 2023 Editor's Picks

Click here to see a list of 2022 Winners

WAVE Awards Voting

Nominees are then placed on an official WAVE ballot, which is printed in TravelAge West, posted online and promoted in email communications to travel agents throughout the United States.



The Editors Picks and WAVE Award winners are celebrated at a star-studded gala held in Los Angeles. The black tie gala brings together honorees and travel agents, and recognizes the outstanding qualities and services of the industry’s leading travel suppliers.

Excellence in Leadership

TravelAge West’s Excellence in Leadership Award celebrates a long-standing icon of the travel industry, and recognizes their lifelong commitment to the betterment of the industry.

Each year, TravelAge West honors individuals with the Excellence in Leadership Award. These exceptional industry leaders not only demonstrate outstanding leadership, insight and innovation, but also positively impact both their own organizations and the travel industry overall.

For 2022, TravelAge West is honored to present this award to two worthy recipients, Jackie Friedman, President of Nexion Travel and Alex Sharpe, President of Signature Travel Network.

Jackie Friedman
President,Nexion Travel Group 


Many travel industry professionals have shown truly remarkable leadership during this extraordinary and unprecedented time — but few more than this year’s Excellence in Leadership Award winner Jackie Friedman, president of Nexion Travel Group. In fact, her efforts during the pandemic helped Nexion bring in more than 1,000 new members, quite a feat in one of travel’s toughest time.


“Being a good leader certainly is easier when times are good,” Friedman said. “The true test is when we face adversity. I have learned that open communication and transparency are key to helping the team face the challenges head on, and I am so proud of the people I work with. I am truly blessed.”


Friedman started her career as a frontline travel advisor in Canada. Since moving into management roles, she has become known as the “godmother of travel advisors,” thanks to her success in recruiting new advisors to the industry and her dedication to helping them flourish as entrepreneurs. 


In addition to leading Nexion since 2007, Friedman serves as the dean for Travel Leaders of Tomorrow advisor training program; as president of the Family Bonds Foundation (an initiative to help those in the industry and community who are in need); as vice chair of the Board of Directors for the American Society of Travel Advisors; and as director for The Travel Institute Board of Trustees. She is also part of parent company Internova Travel Group’s Executive Leadership Team and championed the Veterans in Travel scholarship program.


“I am truly honored to receive this prestigious Excellence in Leadership award from TravelAge West,” Friedman said. “They say that when you love what you do, it does not feel like work, and most days I agree with that 100%. The travel industry gets into your blood, and there is no cure. I have been doing this for almost 40 years, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Although I am being recognized here, I share it with all the frontline advisors who endured the most challenging few years our industry has faced. They demonstrated leadership and courage and they inspire me every day."


Alex Sharpe
President, Signature Travel Network




Over the past few years, serving as a leader in the travel industry has required more dedication, innovation, insight and enthusiasm than ever — the exact qualities that TravelAge West recognizes each year with the Excellence in Leadership Award.


This year, TravelAge West is celebrating the incredible contributions and accomplishments of Alex Sharpe, president and CEO of Signature Travel Network. 


With 25 years in the travel industry, Sharpe has put his extensive experience to good use for Signature since 2011, when he joined the network as executive vice president and chief operating officer. In 2013, he became president and CEO of the member-led travel co-operative, which comprises top-tier agencies and more than 11,000 advisors, bringing in $10 billion in annual sales. 


“Humbled would be an understatement,” Sharpe said of his reaction to receiving the award. “After seeing what our owners and advisors have done to persevere through the last two years, it’s hard to think I deserve any award. I am accepting it on behalf of our Signature staff and Board of Directors, who all gave so tirelessly to our members and partners. Service is sometimes the best form of leadership and that was our focus.”


Further emphasizing that dedication to service, Sharpe also recently led the formation of Travel Elevates, the charitable arm of Signature Travel Network, which supports education and economic empowerment in global travel destinations. 


“Travel has opened the world to me and — maybe more importantly — to my kids, helping to make them more empathetic and thoughtful members of society,” Sharpe said. “My role at Signature, especially as a co-operative, has allowed me to do what feels most natural — serve. We serve our members, partners and our fellow coworkers, and that has indeed created friends for life and helped define and provide meaning to everything I do.”

Marketing Center

TravelAge West congratulates all its Editors Picks nominees and provides a variety of tools to help them promote their nomination.

Sample press releases and official WAVE Award logos are available to all nominees. Download your materials in our WAVE marketing center now.