Our Experts

About Avondale Travel

It all started with a love and passion for travel. Founder and CEO, Louis “Lou” Black, began Avondale Travel in Jacksonville, FL, where it rapidly became one of the largest travel agencies in the United States. In 1989, Lou sold Avondale Travel, but decided to keep one location. Fast forward to 2013, Lou’s only daughter, Leigh Elizabeth, decided it was time to live out her dream of one day running the agency. Being a family-owned and operated business, Leigh wanted to ensure Lou’s legacy will live on forever as she worked to rebuild the company.

Today, Avondale Travel is driven by the vision to offer concierge, white glove service and access to experiences that travelers cannot find elsewhere. Avondale Travel has become the go-to place for exceptional worldwide travel experiences for all.

White Glove Service

Our advisors at Avondale Travel have first-hand knowledge and connections with the best properties, tour operators, on-sites and cruise lines around the world. We handle all types of itineraries for all different clients and companies. Our priority is to provide exemplary service for all of our clients tailored to their travel needs and desires. Whether its seating preferences, dietary requirements, favorite properties or anything else, we want to hear it and help create your perfect travel experiences.

Leadership Team

Leigh Elizabeth Israel

Leigh Elizabeth Israel

President

Leigh joined Avondale Travel in March 2013. Leigh was born and raised in the travel industry (her father founded Avondale Travel). By the time, she was 18 years old, she had extensively traveled and cruised most of the world.

Upon graduating from the University of North Florida, with a BBA in marketing, Leigh began her career managing sales, marketing, advertising, and client relationships. This experience and her love for travel, brought her back to her roots at Avondale Travel.  Leigh applies her knowledge of sales, marketing, advertising and client relationships to the everyday operations of Avondale Travel.

Outside of the office, Leigh is very involved in the local community. She currently sits on Episcopal School of Jacksonville’s Alumni Board, is an active member of Riverside Rotary,  and is captain of her Working Women’s team at the Florida Yacht Club. She enjoys travelling, spending time with her husband, friends and family, and playing tennis.

Sandy Harbison

Sandy Harbison

Managing Director

Sandy’s love for travel started as a young girl traveling all over the country with her family, whether it was for vacation or relocating due to her Dad’s military career. In 1984, Lou Black, Founder and CEO of Avondale Travel, hired Sandy after he was impressed with her Sales Skills. Lou gave her the opportunity to use those skills to sell travel, and she has now been in the business for over 30 years. Sandy’s career has included both Corporate Travel Management and Luxury Travel Planning. She has had the opportunity to travel to over four continents, fourteen countries, and twenty-eight states.

Our Advisors

Jeannie Wyllie

Jeannie Wyllie

Associate Advisor

Jeannie Wyllie wasn’t ready for full retirement after 32 years working for the federal government.  She joined Avondale Travel in April 2005, and has since, completed many extensive courses to become a Master Cruise Counselor. Jeannie specializes in river and ocean cruising as well as group travel.

Kyra Fox

Kyra Fox

Director of Corporate Travel

Kyra has always had a passion for travel, history, different cultures, and art. Since becoming a Travel Advisor in 1985, her passion and interest for Europe has grown tremendously. With some of her family living in Scandinavia, Kyra has become very familiar with Sweden and its culture. Kyra enjoys visiting the U.S. National parks and with its diverse topography, she has visited majority of the US. Kyra’s specialty is both corporate and air travel. She loves assisting clients with airfare, cars, and hotels.

Sue Hartley

Sue Hartley

Associate Advisor

Sue began her travel career in 1988 handling travel for the government, military, corporate, and leisure clients. With being a military spouse, Sue had the opportunity to live all over the United States.  Sue has and continues to travel extensively both in the United States and internationally. Sue specializes in corporate, special occasions, celebrations, or family vacations, listening to the wants and desires of her clients, and exceeding their expectations is what keeps Sue’s passion alive.

Tammie Demello

Tammie Demello

Travel Advisor

Tammie began working in the travel industry for Avondale Travel in 1986. She began her travel career by arranging travel for top corporate accounts such as Prudential and Merrill Lynch. Throughout Tammie’s Corporate Travel career, she always booked leisure expeditions for family and friends. The passion of putting together every aspect of travel for leisure clients has led her transition from being a corporate travel advisor to a leisure travel advisor. Tammie enjoys helping others plan their vacations, and always looks forward to hearing all of the fun, thrilled adventures her clients enjoyed while on a holiday. Tammie’s specialties are Hawaii, honeymoons, cruising and family vacations.

Rosemary Reifsneider

Rosemary Reifsneider

Luxury Travel Advisor

Rosemary is a seasoned traveler who loves creating amazing itineraries for her clients. Her travel career began with Avondale Travel, then took her to Sabre, where her knowledge expanded. She recently returned “home” to Avondale Travel where her passion and knowledge for travel have truly shown through the incredible itineraries she orchestrates for her clients.  Rosemary’s fascination with different cultures around the world began in elementary school and sparked her passion for travel. She is a frequent cruiser and has travelled extensively throughout the US, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, South America, New Zealand, and Hong Kong.

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