In this edition of Women in Business, women were interviewed who are employed in typically male-dominated industries or in a position that was historically filled by a man.
These women share their stories of being underrepresented in their field and leadership roles – in the hope that their perseverance and success become the guiding light for the next generation of women in business, so they continue to break glass ceilings and meet their goals.
Women in Business shows who the movers and the shakers are in Kelowna and that there is always a space to share stories of successful women.
Coming up in the service industry, Tracey Duquette has had to battle the bar to get the position she wanted and deserved — management.
According to Work BC, women make up 59 per cent of the accommodation and restaurant business as of 2019.
For Duquette, she wanted to be more than a server or a hostess; she wanted to have a say in how the businesses were run. She spent 28 years in the industry, often working for men.
Hustling for the past 15 years, Duquette has managed notable bars and wineries in the Central Okanagan, but before that, she got her first taste of the business in Vancouver.
“Most of my mentors were all men,” she said.
She valued the men who taught her and credited her long career in the business to what she learned from them; however, she admitted, it could be intimidating at times.
“It was a bit nerve-wracking. I had to learn to be strong and stand my ground.”
Shortly after graduating from university in her home province of Ontario, Duquette said she “threw all the provinces in a hat” and found herself moving to Vancouver. She found a pub up the street from her new apartment and fell in love.
“I went there every single day,” she said. She also brought a resume along with her and was subsequently denied a job — every single day.
This went on for weeks, until one day, an expeditor quit. She snapped up the job as quickly as it became available.
From there, she quickly moved up the ranks — becoming a server within a few weeks, then moving to a new bar, where she earned her first management position.
Now, Duquette has transitioned the people managing skills she’s learned to her new business, Duquette Consulting. She helps businesses and individuals with day-to-day and long-term management goals.
Still, in her new business, she finds herself working with a lot of men. But now, they’re the ones coming to her for help.
“Now is a wonderful time for women,” she said. “Because there is actually a lot of support out there.”
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