THARWAT ABOURAYA, VICE PRESIDENT EMERITUS
Is an accomplished business services leader with the passion and will to lead Tharwat's knowledge and experience are broad and deep. He has established small businesses from scratch, designed and led international tours, and directed commercial business for more than 20 years as Regional Director of American Express and Vice President of American Automobile Association of Western & Central New York.
In January 2020, Tharwat was elected President of Baltimore Sister Cities, Inc., a nonprofit 501 c3 representing eight cities affiliated with Baltimore (Alexandria & Luxor, Egypt; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Xiamen, China; Kawasaki, Japan; Changwon, South Korea; Gbarnga, Liberia; Piraeus, Greece. He has also chaired the Baltimore Luxor Alexandria Sister City Committee, including the Friends of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Maryland Virginia Washington, DC Chapter 2016.
In 2019, Tharwat was appointed to the Maryland State Governor's American Middle Eastern Foreign Affairs Commissioner. Tharwat has also recently been selected as a Member of Senior Leadership Montgomery Class of 2021. Earlier he served as a member of the Advisory Board and entrepreneur mentor-coach for Empowered Women International.
As an active member of the International Friends of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, he initiated improved communication strategies outside of IFBA's annual meetings, including a regular digital newsletter and online meetings.
A skilled negotiator, Tharwat is uniquely capable of identifying and nurturing strategic partnerships. He is sensitive to the cultural nuances of doing business domestically or globally. In particular, Tharwat is able to demonstrate a comprehensive view of issues and assess their long term impact in order to focus on results.
He has excelled at business operations, including call-center environments, Profit & Loss management, field marketing, front line motivation seleand business building. In addition, he understands the competitive forces in the business today, current market trends, as well as today's changing operating environments.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY:
"Under your leadership, Baltimore Luxor Alexandria Sister City Committee was reborn in 2017. Membership increased from 6 to 26 members, resulting in a successful turn-around."
- Geri Royale Byrd, Chief, Mayor's Office of Administration, Baltimore, Maryland
Unity Productions Foundation gave Tharwat its Sultan and Saint Peace Award (The Sultan and the Saint film) for his "dedication, optimis, and unshakeable faith in the value of interfaith work at a time of great division and upset" and his "tireless efforts to promote citizen-to-citizen peacemaking."
- Alex Kronemer, Unity Productions Foundation
"Thanks to Tharwat's expertise in the Travel Industry we were able to quickly put an RFP together. He helped throughout the entire process, from writing the RFP to selecting the candidates. Through his insights we were able to create a scorecard that was used to review the candidates and then to select the most qualified provider. We highly recommend Tharwat!…"
- Steven Dulman, CPA, Financial Controller at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP
"a person of energy, intelligence and mature judgment…"
- Richard Moose, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Management
"a real travel pro. He totally revamped the organization in a methodical fashion, and improved our revenue significantly. He knows the players and he knows the game. He'll make whatever organization he goes to better." - Thomas Chestnut, CEO - AAA Western & Central New York
"I have worked with Tharwat for close to 20 years, at both American Express and AAA. He is as fresh and innovative today as the day I met him. He has tremendous credibility on three major fronts:
Employees: Tharwat is strong and compassionate and a clear communicator.
Customers: Tharwat sets clear service delivery expectations, and motivates his people to meet and exceed them.
Vendors: Tharwat is an acknowledged industry leader in negotiations with and partnership with the largest airlines, cruise lines, and tour operators.
He is one of the best relationship builders I have encountered, and he does
this with amazing speed and staying power."
- Rick Zeckendorf - Vice President of Travel, AAA New Jersey club
"…delivers world-class results on the employee survey and grows his sales
at an amazing rate, especially for an established business."
- Donna Ganson, Vice President American Express Consumer Travel Network
"Marketing wizard…Committed to excellence in the business."
- Roger Ballou, President American Express
"Truly a people motivator…instills pride"
- Donna Casey, Manager, American Express retail office
"By all accounts, the American Express client-entertainment event at the Centennial Olympic Games was a huge success. This accomplishment was due, in no small part, to your assistance. I am truly grateful that you unhesitatingly offered your time and energy on our behalf."
- Harvey Golub, Chairman-CEO, American Express
The Travel Institute - Earned designation as Certified Travel Industry Executive in 2005
Gerson Lehrman Group Council of Advisors, New York
McKinsey Quarterly Online Executive Panel
Disney Travel Advisory Council, 2007 – 2008
The Travel Company – Advisory Council, 2007 - 2008
Buffalo-Niagara Convention Visitors Bureau's Board of Directors, 2007 - 2008
American Tours International Advisory Board (largest inbound USA tour operator)
AAA "Green Tree" (alliance of East Coast Travel Clubs leveraging sales/revenue with select suppliers
International Institute for Peace through Tourism - Global Peace Ambassador of Peace - cultivating cultural awareness, breaking down stereotypes, respecting cultural differences, celebrating diversity
Achieved Educator-level ranking as Gerson Lehman Group Council Member