Gloria Bohan managed to turn a one-person office into a travel agency with sales revenues in excess of $1 billion a year, 200 company owned-offices and 800 employees nationwide. Her company, Omega World Travel
, is ranked the fourth largest privately-owned travel agency in the United States and is the largest travel agency founded by, operated by, and majority-owned by a woman.
With such an impressive resume, it’s no surprise that Bohan had some good advice and great role models on her journey to the top. She credits three of her first employees with providing excellent examples of dedication, passion, and honesty. By hiring people with different backgrounds and experiences, her business benefited from a variety of viewpoints and perspectives—an important trait for a travel agency!
When Bohan herself acts as a mentor, she is always eager to share how she started, grew, and stayed passionate about her business. She often finds that by mentoring and giving back to others, she ends up learning a lot about herself as well.
Having founded her business in 1972, Bohan had trouble securing financing to start Omega World Travel. She thinks that women’s access to capital is one of the biggest challenges facing women in the workforce today, along with balancing work with home life and finding the right networks to meet possible business clients and partners.
3 Questions in 3 Minutes with Gloria Bohan, Founder and CEO of Omega World Travel
Who have been your most significant mentors?
From a professional development standpoint, I would have to acknowledge my first three employees:
Clare was my first manager. She was 76 years old and dedicated to helping young people learn the travel business. She was a super saleswoman who had knack for never letting a potential sale get out of her grip.
Paul was a veteran of the Foreign Service who lived in Japan for many years. He learned to speak Japanese, won the respect of the Japanese, and helped me understand how important it is to do an honorable, honest, and complete job. His ability to relate to all people with a sense of humor was remarkable.
Barbara was a tall and beautiful Brit. She taught me about the world and her native country. She found delight in selling and always looked fabulous.
Have you yourself acted as a mentor? What do the people you mentor want to know?
I have acted as a mentor to many people. I like it and also find that I learn more about myself at the same time. People always want to know what sparked my passion, how I have grew Omega and what I think is important for success.
What are the most important issues facing women in the workplace today?
I think work-life balance remains an issue for women, primarily how to combine family with work. Financing is another top issue for men and women! Lastly, looking for new ways to network and to get “entrees” to new potential business is another issue that women face.