Agent Issues Obituary: Former American Express executive Donna Flora By Arnie Weissmann / January 20, 2016 Share 1 -- Donna Flora received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Travel Weekly. Photo Credit: Steve Hockstein/ Harvard Studios Donna Flora, former vice president of travel industry relations for American Express, died Tuesday in New York after a long battle with cancer. She was 62.Flora, who was born in Puerto Rico, began her career at the age of 22 by persuading a travel agency owner to give her an internship. Two years later, she was managing the agency. Flora subsequently managed agencies, including Revere Travel, in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.After American Express bought Revere, she transferred to the corporate headquarters in 1993 in the Executive Travel Management division.She became director of industry relations in 1998, before being promoted to vice president of that division in 2002.Flora was the primary liaison to the broader agency community and professional associations, bringing Amex's offers, training, card benefits, resources and partnership opportunities to non-affiliated agencies.She also took an active role in advocating for agents in the broader travel community.She's remembered as a mentor by Pat Gray, former manager of worldwide coordination for American Express Vacations. "She was a kind, compassionate soul who touched many of us and who worked tirelessly and selflessly to support the travel trade and tourism," Gray said. "Her passion, dedication, and drive will leave a permanent mark on this industry.As chair of the Academy of Hospitality & Tourism in New York, Flora worked to recruit youth into the industry. She also established the Dumond family Latino Scholarship Endowment, designed to assist impoverished and underserved Latinos to focus on continuing education.She has also served as a member of the Virtual Enterprise International Advisory Board, the ASTA Allied Marketing Council and on the planning committee of the U.S. Travel Association. She held board positions in the American Tourism Society and the Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality (SATH).She received many awards within Amex, and also won SATH's 2002 Access to Freedom Award. In 2005, Flora was recognized with the Allied Member of the Year Award from ASTA, and in 2007 received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Travel Weekly.Flora lived in Pennsylvania's Bucks County with her husband, Michael Flora.