Sandra Corken of
THE Managing Director of Oasis Travel Sandra
Corken has proved she really is Lisburn's 'first woman of
business' by winning her way through to the final of a
prestigious competition which took place at the Hilton Hotel in
London's Park Lane on Wednesday evening.
Sandra was one of just four finalists in the
Travel and Tourism section of the 'First Women Awards' and her
story is certainly one of success.
She opened Oasis Travel's original office in
1984 with just one other member of staff. Her company now
employs 35 people across five branches including its new state
of the art headquarters in Railway Street which face the smaller
premises in which it all began 22 years ago.
However, it was not Sandra's idea to enter the
competition as she explained.
"The organisers contacted me initially and
they seemed to have all my details," she said.
"I do not know where they got them from but I
had to send them further information and a profile of myself.
"After that, I had to go over the London to be
Sandra explained what she had been asked during
"They wanted to know how I got started and if
being a woman had made any difference," she said.
"They also wanted to know how many people I
employ and examples of opportunities I have created for people."
As well as three branches in the Lisburn area
Oasis now has offices in Holywood and Bangor.
The company has successfully grown despite a
drop in the number of independent travel agencies in Northern
Ireland. Sandra believes women are still under represented in
senior management positions within the industry.
"Most travel agents employ a large number of
female staff yet the majority are still owned by men," she said.
"It's important to encourage women to pursue
their goals at any level in business and awards such as these
help promote to women the business world is very much open to
Sandra is not the only Northern Ireland
representative in the Travel and Tourism section of the Final.
Maria Rueda, Business Development Director at
Belfast City Airport has also been shortlisted