Nancy StrongNancy Strong, one of the Founders of Strong Travel, has been in the industry over 35 years. Nancy has traveled the world and has flown on everything from the Concorde to a first class cabin on the A380 and has ridden on everything from an ostrich to a camel. Nancy enjoys planning itineraries for her clients with all her worldwide experience and relationships.
Jim StrongOne of America’s leading luxury travel consultants, Jim Strong is the President of Strong Travel Services in Dallas, Texas, a Virtuoso member agency. His unparalleled experience and travel insights are sought by an exclusive clientele that includes prominent names in sports, business and entertainment. Jim travels extensively throughout the world selecting and vetting unique hotels, villas and destinations for his clients so that their travel always becomes a celebration of life’s moments. Jim is the author of two luxury travel books and creator/producer of an off-Broadway play “Craving for Travel” in 2014. Recently he was featured in the BBC documentary “Hotel for the Super-rich and Famous” about the Corinthia Hotel in London. He also was featured in the wide release major motion picture documentary on the Carlyle Hotel “Always at the Carlyle”. He is a Certified Travel Counselor and an Accredited Cruise Counselor. Jim serves on many industry advisory boards such as Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Accor Hotels, IHG Hotels, Aman Hotels & Travel + Leisure Magazine. He currently enjoys working as part of 3 generations of the Strong family in focusing the company towards the future of Luxury Travel.
James StrongAfter many years of traveling the globe with his family James attended the University of Mississippi, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management. In August 2016 he joined Strong Travel as an office coordinator with experience from many internships around the world. He looks forward to being a great asset to the travel industry in the future.
Sandy FreelandAs an agent in the travel industry for over 30 years, Sandy has experienced the evolution of the travel industry. She assists the business and corporate community with planning and time managing for domestic and international travels. Working with Strong Travel since 2009 has allowed her the opportunity to also assist travelers with their leisure trips, bucket lists, holiday travels and vacation journeys.
Natalie StroubeNatalie is a native Texan and has been in the travel industry for over 21 years. She started as a Reservations Agent for a large Tour Company and has been with Strong Travel for over 10 years. She has had the opportunity to travel the world and to learn the importance of service and details required by her upscale clients. She enjoys handling luxury adventures all over the world but is an expert at arranging private, custom trips to Europe. Natalie has earned her CTA Designation and ACC Designation as well as completed many other expert programs.
Daniel ScherDan began working with Strong Travel in October, 2016, from a career as a Corporate Travel Consultant in Houston since 1994. He has a BBA in Operations Management from University of Houston and CTC from The Travel Institute. He has worked on SABRE his entire career and has a corporate travel management focus.
Stephanie HouseStephanie was born and raised in Illinois and graduated from Murray State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She has lived in Dallas the past 19 years and has been in the travel business for over 35 years handling trips all over the world. Stephanie enjoys sending clients to many interesting and beautiful destinations as she feels travel is a life experience for her clients.
Angela BurnsAngela joined Strong Travel with an already established history of service to luxury clientele. Working as the Executive Assistant to Jim Strong, president of Strong Travel, Angela parlays her experience into creating world-class travel experiences for the firm’s most discerning customers. In 2016 she earned her accreditation as a Certified Travel Advisor.
Amanda Garcia-SlaterAmanda has been in the travel industry for 35 years. Her experience includes working with airline, hotels and travel agencies. Amanda is a Certified Travel Associate. She increases product knowledge by traveling extensively and enjoys meeting clients and working with them to develop the trip they envision.
Valerie ReeseValerie started traveling in high school and immediately fell in love with the world. She studied abroad in College (France), participated in an archaeological dig in Belize, and started working as a travel consultant just before graduating. She prides herself on the relationships that she creates with her clients, getting to know them and their families and tailoring their travel experiences to exactly what they’re looking for. As a new mom, she is excited to now see the world through her daughters eyes and teach her all about how travel can transform you!
Toni PonczekToni lives in Arlington, Texas with her husband of 35 years, Mike, and our three dogs. She enjoys travel of any kind, walking, music, family and friends. “I can honestly say I enjoy my work everyday!” Toni’s clients travel to a city for business or somewhere wonderful to get away and relax, knowing from departure to return, a travel challenge or just a familiar voice, she is a phone call, email or text away.
Britta WardBritta graduated from the Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at University of Houston before jumping into the world of luxury travel in Beverly Hills. She spent 2 years training and working in high volume leisure, corporate, and entertainment segments. When she moved back to Dallas she joined the Strong team as a corporate/air specialist while also assisting with luxury leisure.
Clark MitchellAfter graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington with a degree in Public Relations and Advertising, Clark went to work for a small retail travel agency in 1981. He was hired in 1987 by United Airlines at DFW as a customer service agent and quickly advanced to Account Executive/Travel Agency Sales. In 1995 Clark joined DFW Tours, a national consolidator and tour wholesaler until joining GTT International as the manager for Transatlantic and South Pacific Markets. He joined Strong Travel in 2009, dealing with client relations and finance. Clark is also a Virtuoso Voyages cruise host on many sailings around the globe.
Karen Conditt, CTA
Leisure Travel Consultant
O: 214-258-6916 | C: 469-688-5566
Larkin WhiteLarkin was born and raised in Mississippi and moved to Dallas in January of 2019. Growing up, Larkin always had a passion for travel and couldn’t wait to plan her next big adventure. She graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management. Before joining the Team at Strong Travel, Larkin worked as a Director of Hotels Sales and Event Management.
Travel Consultant & ARC Specialist
O: 214-258-6907 | C: 214-707-3870
Jennie HoldenJennie has over 20 years’ experience in the travel industry. She has been a Strong Travel team member for over 10 years, and continues to sell and promote luxury travel.
Affiliate Team Coordinator
O: 214-258-6918 | C: 469-774-3026
Liz TarrantWith over 20 years in the travel and hospitality industry Liz’s passion for travel began at an early age. Born a native Texan she was on a plane by 2 months old and spent her early childhood years living in Singapore and taking quick jaunts all over SE Asia with her parents. Growing up she experienced the UK and Europe as locals would, thanks to her family ties; but Texas was mostly home.
A career in travel was the natural next step beginning as a travel agent and moving into tour operator sales and operations, meeting/event planning and hotel global sales. After managing a remote team handling product development & procurement for the regions of Europe and Oceania at an award-winning travel & lifestyle company, Liz has come full circle and returned to her roots joining Strong Travel Services as the Affiliate Team Coordinator. Liz applies a customer focused approach and empathy when consulting with clients and loves to create themes such as Paris and the 5 Senses and Swedish design in Stockholm. She especially likes to see photos on social media of clients on their journeys.
She is an obsessed snowboarder, a National Park passholder and loves browsing flea markets and vintage shops on her travels.
Lisa SevierLisa recently relocated from the East Coast to Dallas, Texas. She has been passionate about travel from a young age and has always had an eye for detail and beauty as she spent almost two decades in her Interior Design career. She has transitioned into the role of a Luxury Travel Consultant very nicely and her excitement for planning trips for her clients grows each day. She prides herself on creating beautiful memories and experiences for her clients!
Ellie SimsTravel revives Ellie’s sense of excitement and adventure; whether it is following the Kansas Jayhawks or cruising the Seven Seas. Following the demise of Braniff International, she “tiptoed” into another segment of the travel world: luxury travel advisor. Crafting experience driven itineraries for discerning travelers creates memories that last a lifetime, and she loves it!
Jim GauthierJim Gauthier, DMA, MFA, CTA, is dedicated to sharing his love of the arts, history, and culture through unique luxury travel experiences. In addition to being a world traveler himself, Dr. Gauthier is a former university music professor, symphony orchestra musician, and art enthusiast who is able to bring a broad base of professional experience and a high level of expertise to the travel industry. Whether working with individuals, non-profit arts organizations, a family, or a group of friends who love to explore the world, he brings a unique perspective to the planning and implementation of any journey.
Jennifer RukMarried for 20 years and the mother of three, Jennifer came into the travel industry with a desire to provide unique travel opportunities for an exclusive list of clients. Formerly an elementary school teacher and stay at home mom, her love for travel and goal-oriented personality inspired her new career. Her client list includes politicians, entrepreneurs, corporate executives and artists. Planning family travel is a major element of her daily routine as she views the education of travel as an enriching life experience.
Steve HarrisSteve has been a travel industry professional for over 27 years and with Strong Travel for 20 of those. He excels in city stays with a pulse on the latest hot spots for dining, entertainment and cultural activities. Steve can usually be found enjoying live music, food, wine, and Formula 1 and Moto GP racing.
Amy SpenceGrowing up, Amy’s family enjoyed many road trips throughout the country, but the travel bug really bit when she travelled Europe for the first time at age 13. In high school she spent an eye-opening summer in Calcutta as an exchange student, travelling India and learning the culture from a host family. Amy began her travel career in the very early 80’s with the Dallas Cowboys. She thrives on the fast paced world of corporate travel, and treasures the time she spends creating memorable vacations for clients..
Ane LoweI was born in Mexico City, and grew up in McAllen Texas, with Cuban and Basque roots. Food has been a fixation of mine, the best memories being Christmases with my family, enjoying either Cuban or Basque home cooking lovingly made by my grandmothers. My rich family heritage also inspired in me a true feeling of wanderlust, and I look forward to traveling at any moment that I can. I’ve been incredibly lucky to travel the world, visiting family in Barcelona, Bakio and San Sebastian in Spain, enjoying a true culinary adventure in Florence, traveling to the magnificent beaches of Phuket, Thailand (Thai food is one of my favorites), discovering paradise in Moorea, French Polynesia, making a pilgrimage to Middle Earth and the two beautiful islands of New Zealand, and everywhere in-between. One of my mottos is “I will travel for food.”
Susan FrapartSusan has been a leisure travel consultant for 20 years. Her early focus as an agent was with family vacation planning including cruises, Disney, ski trips and beach vacations. Her expertise today includes honeymoons, multigenerational travel and luxury travel including private and small group experiences. She is just as enthusiastic to visit with you about a trip to any city, USA as she is to help you plan a bucket list trip for an African safari .
Dennis NienkerkDennis, who grew up on a Minnesota farm, has over 40 years’ sales experience, including 25 years in commercial real estate and 15 years as a luxury cruise specialist. He has been on over 60 cruises on all major luxury and premium cruise lines and has visited over 100 countries around the world. He passion is advising and consulting with his clients to find and design the perfect cruise vacation for their needs and interests.
Jody RainsJody worked with Braniff Airlines before starting her travel career with a travel agency. She initially worked with large corporate accounts and owned a leisure agency for several years. For almost the last 7 years she has been with Strong Travel as a Leisure Travel Consultant. Jody enjoys helping individuals and large, multi-generational family groups put together trips which will give them the memories of a lifetime.
Martha MerleMartha caught the travel bug during a childhood family trip through Kenya. From there, she sought every travel opportunity available, including studying abroad in England and Italy. Travel highlights to date include two trips to Nepal, honeymooning in New Zealand, and visiting nearly 40 countries overall. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Martha has lived all over the U.S. including Boston, Los Angeles, Dallas, Northern and Southern California and she now resides in Wellesley, MA, with her husband and two young children.
Haleigh ScottHaleigh has been traveling the world from a young age and finally decided to turn her love of travel and passion for planning into a career. She desires to develop personal relationships with her clients, helping their travel dreams come true through unique experiences, stress-free planning and memories that will last a lifetime.
Haleigh values communication both with her clients and travel partners which allows for a seamless and enriching trip. Each getaway she plans is custom-designed to her client’s wishes & desires.
Some of her own favorite travel memories include hiking the Sólheimajökull glacier in Iceland, getting soaked at Iguazú Falls in Argentina, exploring Banff National Park with her kids and watching the dancing fountains at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. She also loves any trip that revolves around food!
Haleigh would love to help you turn your travel dreams into a reality!
Nancy Dodson, CTA
Independent Travel Consultant
Upon a Dream Travel LLC
Nancy DodsonNancy is all about making magic happen for her clients. As a Walt Disney Travel expert — from Disney Parks to Cruises, and Adventures by Disney — Nancy brings an unmatched knowledge thanks to her background as a Walt Disney World employee, as well as strong relationships with countless Walt Disney Travel partners. Her planning precision ensures no detail is missed, and her out-of-the-box thinking guarantees memorable experiences that will last a lifetime. And because Nancy knows that magic happens everywhere, she also loves to help her clients plan exciting non-Disney adventures and bucket-list trips around the globe. Nancy has been with the Strong Travel family since 2017, and loves to travel with her husband and two small children.
Brenda TossoWith over 20 years of experience in the travel and hospitality industry, this is truly Brenda’s dream job! Her passion for travel means she’s comfortable in many places – from backpacking through Europe to enjoying a luxury cruise. Brenda specializes in cruise travel and active travel; however, if food and wine are your passion, she’ll work with you to design a fabulous foodie adventure. I value experiences over ‘things’ and know your time is precious, so I strive to make your vacation an experience you’ll treasure for a lifetime.
Candis VarnellCandis Couch Varnell curates travel from her home-based business, Booked!, an affiliate of Strong Travel. Her goal is to create memorable journeys for clients who personally define what “luxury” means to them. Candis considers herself to be an expert in travel to Jordan and Israel, having lived in the Middle East for nine years. Her most remarkable experience was a sunrise camel ride in the desert of Jordan and served coffee by a local Bedouin. Candis speaks beginner Arabic and at home, cooks lots of regional dishes! Travel Changes Everything!
Patsy MartinPatsy has been in the luxury travel business for over 30 years. Since her days as a flight attendant for an international airline, she has always loved to travel and experience new places and to meet interesting new people. Patsy’s expertise is selling river and ocean cruises, destination weddings and honeymoons, and international travel for small groups or individuals.
Barbara SaffleThe opportunity to work as a travel agent was Barbara’s dream come true. Her 40-year career in travel includes escorting groups to Europe, Alaska and the Caribbean, and taking clients on cruises. She counts it a privilege to work in such an exciting and interesting job and has spent 16 years of her career at Strong Travel. After being a stay at home wife and mother she wanted to work at something that would never be boring. Being a travel agent is perfect – every day has a whole new story to tell.
Mary HaddenMary has been in the travel business for 35 years. She has started and owned two agencies and managed three agencies in the Austin area. She received her CTC from the Travel Institute in 1986 and has been associated with Strong Travel as an independent travel consultant since 2004. Mary has traveled extensively, does individual and group bookings, and loves helping people fulfill their dreams.
Joan KerrGrowing up and spending many years in far west Texas on a Cattle Ranch near El Paso, it was time to take wings and venture into the “wild blue yonder.” As a former airline stewardess, Joan knew travel would always be part of her life, even though there were a few detours along the way. Once she and her husband were empty-nesters, she decided it was time to get back into the one thing she loves most: travel. With cruising as a specialty, Joan has managed to visit all seven continents in her 35 years as a travel consultant.
Julie ChaumpWith over 23 years of experience selling luxury travel, Julie finds great passion within her specialty of private jet journeys around the world. She has travelled extensively to select areas in Europe, Asia, South Pacific, Mexico and the Caribbean. A graduate of the University of Memphis Business School, she currently resides in Dallas where she lives with her husband and three children. Julie is also an owner of a Jersey Mike’s Subs franchise.
Marilyn CreaseyMy career in travel began with my husband’s family’s travel company located near Palm Beach, Florida, some twenty years ago. They were one of the original agencies of what is now known as Virtuoso. Traveling with and for them, my husband and I experienced the luxury and excitement of travel. We then created a boutique office in Dallas, known as Marilyn Creasey Luxury Travel. We became Virtuoso Hosts and have traveled to all the continents except Antarctica, a missed opportunity! I joined the Strong Family approximately ten years ago. I have continued to discover exciting destinations and to make great friends in the industry, focusing on luxury cruises and foreign independent travel. I find planning unique personal experiences for others is almost like being there yourself.
Pam ScottPam Scott is part of the Independent Agent team at Strong Travel. Her travel agent career spans more than 30 years, most of it spent working in Austin, Texas. She has traveled throughout the United States, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and Europe. Pam has experience in both leisure and corporate travel. She currently resides in the Hill Country community of Mason, Texas.
Bernie ThomasFollowing a 35-year career in the oil and gas industry, Bernie answered the call for an encore career in travel to pursue a passion that developed following a tour of the Soviet Union and a semester studying in Vienna, Austria and Budapest, Hungary. His primary areas of focus are private jet travel, custom travel and customer events for private equity funded management teams.
Stephen HarrisStephen is an Accredited Cruise Counselor with over 25 years in the travel industry. He has been on over 80 cruises and traveled to a large part of the world. Each cruise experience has given him valuable insight and knowledge that he passes along to clients. He continues to educate himself through personal travel, specifically cruise lines training courses, industry seminars and client feedback.