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Travel Leaders Network’s Lea Diele wins 2024 Educational Excellence Award from The Travel Institute

The Travel Institute

Lea Diele, VP of Education at Travel Leaders Network, receives The Travel Institute’s Educational Excellence Award for her impactful, continuous commitment to travel advisor education.

FRAMINGHAM, MA – The Travel Institute announces Lea Diele, CTIE, vice president of education for Travel Leaders Network, as this year’s recipient of its annual Educational Excellence Award. Established in 2022, the annual award from the non-profit education leader recognizes organizations and individuals that demonstrate a significant, ongoing commitment to quality education for travel advisors and that make a substantial, meaningful investment to ensure its delivery.

“It’s truly a pleasure to recognize Lea and her team for a well-defined, thoughtfully constructed, and comprehensive learning path that recognizes and supports all 55,000+ network members throughout their careers, whether they are new agents or seasoned, mega agency owners,” enthused Diane Petras, CTIE, president of The Travel Institute. “Importantly, Lea also understands agent education is never ‘one and done,’ maintaining a significant focus on both foundational and continued education while also continuously evolving the program,” Petras added, citing the TLN program’s curriculum for different career stages and alignment with market needs, as well as a feedback and measurement system for continuous improvement.

A two-time Magellan award winner, Diele was surprised with the award during the Travel Leaders Network’s annual EDGE conference in Washington DC June 9. “No one is more deserving of this award,” remarked Roger E. Block, CTC, president of Travel Leaders Network, which grew its U.S. membership at a record pace in 2023. “She has built a formidable team that keeps the member experience top of mind,” Block said, adding, “On behalf of our members, I thank Lea for developing learning programs that are rigorous, that offer options for every level of advisor, and that give them tangible knowledge to put to work in their agencies.”

Nominated by TLN leadership, who noted TLN’s training and education department as a “main driver in TLN’s success,” Diele shared credit for the award with her team of five trainers, which has a collective 123 years of industry experience as former travel advisors, managers or owners with real-world industry experience, as well as with TLN leadership, emphasizing the organization’s steadfast investment in agent education. “It’s an incredible honor to receive this award; it affirms the value of agent education for our industry and the value we’ve been able to provide TLN members while also reflecting the critical support of our leadership in making and keeping education as a key priority,” Diele said.

TLN’s “Tiered Learning Path” advisor training program has been operational since 2019 and includes a tool for advisors to identify their starting point based on skill level and learning needs. With both in-person and virtual training sessions available, virtual training registrations are up approximately 250% since 2019 and under Diele’s leadership. Supplementing TLN’s internal training efforts, TLN also works with select industry partners, including The Travel Institute, to offer advisors select industry certification programs. TLN also further enhances member learning via The Travel Institute with both tuition assistance to host agency members to utilize TRIPKIT introductory training for new agents and the inclusion of the Luxury Travel Specialist Course as a component of TLN’s luxury training program.

The Travel Institute’s Guida Botelho, CTIE, senior director of education, has worked with Diele on educational efforts for several years and considers her to be a role model for internal training programs and a thought leader on educational advancements.  “Kudos to Lea, her team and TLN; a fantastic partner in advancing the industry through both foundational and continued education we know enables greater success for travel professionals and their organizations,” Botelho asserted.

The Travel Institute’s Educational Excellence Award represents the critical, and positive impact of education ongoing for the travel industry community, including for front-line travel advisors, management, and executive leaders, while also aspiring to further professionalism for individual organizations and the industry alike. One organization or individual in North America is selected annually through a process that includes external judges and excludes identifying information for nominees. Calls for nominations take place starting each January for efforts the prior year. Diele becomes just the third winner of the award, with Canada’s TTAND recognized in 2023; and ACE, the largest group of AAA Clubs, earning the award in 2022, its inaugural year. The Travel Institute’s 2023 Changing Face of Travel Agents survey also links agent education and success.

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