Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



Sandra really is a `first woman of business'

Sandra Corken of Oasis Travel. US23-139A0

Sandra Corken of Oasis Travel.

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 interviewed."

Sandra explained what she had been asked during the interview.

"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 them."

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

Ulster Star