Meet the Match

An Executive Building Bright Future for Lebanese Women

Eva Aouad Turk is an outdoor sports enthusiast and has been since a young child. Eva grew up as the youngest of five siblings in a war-torn Lebanon. Most every spring, the fighting would begin and Eva’s family would pack up their belongings and head to the coast. The shoreline became Eva’s sanctuary, literally and figuratively. It was here that Eva discovered her passion for the water. Eva would start her day early, swimming, snorkeling, and roller-blading with her brothers and sisters until time for bed.

“I was one of the lucky ones. When the violence started in our country, I could still lead a normal life. I had a family that could move us away from the danger and give us this opportunity together at the sea. For me, it was like the war didn’t exist. Others, however, were not so lucky.”

It was life by the sea that cultivated Eva’s free spirit and love for nature.  As much as the sea influenced Eva’s personal life, the conflict in Lebanon spurred her professional pursuits.  At the university, Eva studied political science and public administration.  While studying, Eva met a man named Bassam. They both shared an interest in sports and politics.  Combining their passions with an entrepreneurial spirit, Eva and Bassam, her soon-to-be husband, opened a travel agency specializing in sports and outdoor tourism. The goal of their travel agency, Sport Evasion, was to promote Lebanon as an outdoor sports destination among young professionals and to integrate fitness and sport into corporate culture.

“We believe that healthy employees are more productive employees. Physical activity is not only good for the body, but for the mind and soul.  And it also positively affects the team spirit of the organization.” Sport Evasion now runs several large-scale football and basketball tournaments for corporate team competition. In 2007, they also launched the Beirut Corporate Games, which includes two full days of individual and team fitness challenges.  Women are becoming increasingly more involved in these competitions, but Eva would like to see an even greater turnout. She is looking to create a new event model, something that is solely focused on women and their passion and interests.

In addition to creating more fitness opportunities for women, Eva is also interested in promoting female entrepreneurship within Lebanon. She believes entrepreneurship is a valid and sustainable solution to a system that is not currently set up for women to be part of the labor force.

“Right now, the system in Lebanon is not very conducive to working women. The way things are structured, women have to manage it all – a career, a family, the household.  You have to work late, you have to travel, you have to be available to pick up the children from school. It’s a lot. But encouraging women to become entrepreneurs allows them the flexibility they need to have a family and a business.  You are your own boss.  You can work from home without having to explain that to your manager. Promoting women’s entrepreneurship is not only good for the family, but good for the economy.”

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