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Around the world and calling Grove Isle home (2006-06-11)

No 80 days were set aside for a feat that’s extraordinaire for this Miami, Florida resident.

Please click to enlargeSimon Hassine (seen on the right with wife Michele) cast his entrepreneurial eyes on the world of travel 37 years ago. What began in 1963 as a one-man travel agency grew into Florida’s largest corporate travel management company with 200 employees.

Around the World Travel, Inc., founded by Hassine, is headquartered in Coral Gables, Florida.

Just as the new millennium opened its doors, the Hassine family was rewarded for their many years of giving the best possible service to corporate and vacation-minded travelers. TraveLeaders Group, with a goal of reaching $1 billion in gross revenues, purchased Around the World Travel.

“I couldn’t have done it on my own,” says the humble family man speaking in the soft, French-accented voice that belies the endless energies of this charismatic man born in Cairo to French parents. “What we accomplished would not have been possible without my wife Michele and daughters Patricia, Cathy, and Jackie at my side.”

Is it possible the travel executive learned his gentlemanly ways of serving customers at home being around four lovely ladies?

Following education at a French Lycee and the American University in Cairo, Simon ran away from home at 18 and joined the French Navy.

After the war, the young lad talked himself into a job at American Express in Paris … and into the heart of a young Parisian girl.

Speaking French, English, Arabic and Italian was the ticket for landing that job and opened many doors in his remarkable career, like managing the Amex office at the United Nations in Rome, Italy, in later years arranging for the travel of UN experts around the world, and one year later dashing back to Paris to marry his love, Michele.

Michele was at her husband’s side building the travel business.

Perhaps herein lies the secret for success of Simon’s third love (after family and business — and in that order, he insists): tennis.

“I love tennis,” this energy-laden executive who doesn’t believe in retiring volunteers, giving away another secret: the excitement of challenging his Grove Isle neighbors on the tennis court.

A new passion continues to keep Simon Hassine going around the world ― the Internet.

“I am fascinated by world affairs and enjoy reading the international press, and listening to music and political commentary from around the world. And Michele is very jealous of my computer,” he adds with a sheepish smile.

He met another challenge: writing and publishing his memoirs, My Life Story. The pages of the book tell the story of his challenging upbringing as a rebel running away from home, as a successful businessman, compassionate head of a loving family, and proud friend to all who cherish peace of mind. You can meet Simon Hassine at simonh19@bellsouth.net and kibitz about the values of a successful family life, etc. and music, news, and thoughts available from around the world via the Internet.

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