Sandy Cleary is literally a rocket scientist. She started her career in aerospace managing the build of guidance systems for ballistic missiles. After the sudden passing of her older brother and a year later, her father, she decided it was time to return to her roots in Boston and care for her ailing mother.
Her brother had always told her, “If you do what you love, you’ll always be successful at it.” So the question she asked herself was, “what do I love?” Sandy loved to cruise. She would take at least one weekend cruise a month on Royal Caribbean’s Viking Serenade out of San Pedro during her aerospace days, and it truly served to de-stress her. She decided to start a cruise company in her mother’s basement. At that time the Internet was very young, but as an aerospace engineer, she was very familiar with it and its future potential. She also knew that her strict, Irish mother would NEVER let strangers come into her home, so her business would need to be Internet based.
Over the past 25 years, Sandy has grown CruCon Cruise Outlet from a small online travel agency into one of the largest sellers of cruises with more than $135 million in annual cruise volume. CruCon now ranks as one of the largest members of Travel Leaders Network and is a leading seller of cruises in North America. Sandy’s keen and creative marketing strategy and her ability to see both the agency and cruise line positions as well as the consumer impact has contributed to the company’s growth. She has also built strong relationships with both cruise line executives and her peer group of agency owners.
In December 2017, CruCon made another stunning alliance with lifestyle retailer HSN. It’s a first of its kind partnership with a travel agency and, has been said, could be a renaissance for both entities. Along with Sandy’s on-air appearances, HSN will provide a showcase for all things cruising and expose cruising to its following of 90 million consumers that otherwise might overlook this expanding travel sector.
Sandy’s synergistic approach to business has proven that the power of the combined efforts of industry leaders, affiliates, and those of her own team grows exponentially with every step forward together.
In 2017, Sandy founded SLC Group Holdings with the charter to partner with entrepreneurs and small businesses needing funds to grow their companies, bring their products to market, and propel them faster on the road to success.
Partnering for a good cause is also important to Sandy. In 2017, SLC Group Holdings (in the name of CruCon Holdings) donated more than $1.3 million to charitable organizations, especially those that support youth and families of New Hampshire.
Sandy Cleary - Founder, SLC Group Holdings & CruCon Cruise Outlet