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.
President,Nexion Travel Group
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.”
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."
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.
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.”
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.”