Photo Credit: Ashley Tate-Gilmore.
Barack Obama's Former White House Travel Director Is Changing The Face Of Luxury Travel
After serving in the White House as President Barack Obama’s White House Travel Director, Ashley Tate-Gilmore and her family-owned business Fortis Global is redefining luxury travel concierge services.
With the tagline ‘Travel Safe. Be Well’, Fortis Global caters to the needs of the elite traveler; providing emergency concierge travel services and assistance that cannot be found elsewhere. A Chicago native, Tate-Gilmore grew up watching her mother work as an entrepreneur and always aspired to be such.
“I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur, my mother was an entrepreneur, and I’ve always wanted to start a business, especially in this space,” Tate-Gilmore said. “And I feel like it’s an untapped space for a lot of Black travelers and Black women.”
Fortis Global was born out of her desire to provide a multi-tier solution for multiple types of clients; providing travel mapping and white-glove advantages that maintain and retain clientele. After seeing the world while working for Obama, Tate-Gilmore wanted to be able to share those luxury experiences and destinations with others.
Her time in the White House helped develop her network and her zeal for travel business, as she often stood out from her cohorts on Capitol Hill. A young, black woman, Tate-Gilmore, adapted to her surroundings and exceeded expectations.
“I had to really be very aggressive in the way that I learned the job in order to get respect,” she said.
Because of the relationships forged during her time at the White House, she is able to provide a level of intense care and hospitality that other brands cannot.
“We have access to a lot,” she said. “I have an untapped set of resources that I can provide to a lot of really amazing people who want to work with us.”
Whether it’s travel or lifestyle concierge, Fortis Global reassures its clients that they will be there when they need them and meet all of their needs.
“You benefit from having this consistent partner in your travel and in your lifestyle,” Tate-Gilmore said. “You benefit from knowing that you’re not alone on your travels, in your home, or wherever you may be where you are needing some assistance. Fortis is always there.”
Rooted in family values, she works alongside her cousins overseeing Fortis’ affairs. With competition and industry practices changing every day, for Tate-Gilmore, it was important for her to establish her company with people who she knew would have her back at all times.
“We have a shared mutual vision for our business, so I know they only want the best for me, for our family, and for our clients,” she said about her cousins J.T. Stinnette and Jennifer Keeney.
Recently, Fortis Global strategically aligned with travel industry giant Fischer Travel, forging a partnership designed to provide clients with access to custom solutions for client-specific needs – whether it be medical, security, or legal need while traveling.
The travel alliance came about after a Fortis client, who was also a Fischer Travel client, connected Tate-Gilmore with president Stacy Fischer-Rosenthal and founder Bill Fischer. The two companies saw immense benefit in working together and the partnership was born.
“For me, it is the mentorship, it is the access, and the constant learning we are able to get from working with Fischer, but it’s also me being confident enough to bring to the table in this day in age we’re all benefiting from Fortis’ capabilities to bring new fresh faces into the space,” she said.
As a Black-owned, woman-owned, and family-owned business, Tate-Gilmore plans to continue moving into spaces in the travel industry that typically are not occupied by people who look like her. With the Fischer Travel partnership kicking off 2022 with a bang, she plans to continue providing luxury service through Fortis all while safely navigating and redefining how to travel during a pandemic.
“It’s hard to say what is next in the travel world until we can get to the other side of this pandemic,” she said. “But for now we are focusing very heavily in 2022 on helping people continue to start to resume their lives in a space that is safe and that they feel comfortable in. And that’s our goal.”