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International Women’s Day: Entrepreneur works to be a role model for her children

Depew joins ranks of “women who dare”
The Racquet Club has hosted events featuring girls, boys, women, men and school competitions over the years. NNSL file photo

Hesitating to become an entrepreneur because she is a woman has never crossed Karen Depew’s mind.

As one of the co-owners of the Yellowknife Racquet Club, Depew said her gender was never a factor in her decision to become a business owner.

“I think it is a good business fit. I find it very exciting and very rewarding. It’s busy,” Depew, who is also the general manager, said.

“I have four male business partners and they are spectacular and very supportive,” she said.

“We are all a team here. We all help each other and have integral parts that we play within the company.”

On International Women’s Day, Depew is one of the many women who could personify this years’ ‘Women Who Dare” theme.

Seizing on the opportunity to co-own the busy Racquet Club in 2022 after working there for a decade was the next logical step for Depew.

She said the previous owner taught her many aspects of running the Club.

“I feel that I already had a very good understanding of the business from working here for so many years.”

“It was an easy transition in that way, as Devin (also one of the new co-owners) and I were already doing the day-to-day operations and running the business with our coworkers and now employees.”

And while Depew said helping to run a business can have challenges such as the extra work of running a home and raising a family, it also has benefits.

“That’s the only part of being a mother and a business owner, but that could happen for fathers, too. It’s very busy which adds an extra dynamic to it because I am a very hands-on Mom and I have a close family.”

“But I think it is a great thing to be a mom with goals and aspirations who works hard because I am modeling that for my children, which is great,” Depew said.

“I think it is a perfect fit because it is a building of health and wellness,” she said of her work-life balance.

Comforts of home

One definite advantage of owning a fitness club, though, is that her two teenagers enjoy the atmosphere there also.

“They work out at the racquet club and socialize here, so that makes it a really unique experience as a business owner.”

As well as having a supportive family, Depew said the members and also the people they do business with are also very supportive and encouraging.

“For our members, this is like a home away from home, and we really get to know each other and I’ve felt nothing but support from our members.

“I feel I have a lot of support in general.”

Depew said she considers herself very lucky to be surrounded by a good team.

“I wouldn’t even consider doing this if I wasn’t part of a good team. This isn’t a one-person business at all. Your team is what matters the most.”

“For the Racquet Club, it’s the team of owners and the team of other managers and the employees. That is our success — our team.”

She said as a business, they will continue to provide a great fitness and wellness experience for people and to continue exploring ways to provide really great customer service.

“We will continue to keep this place running because it is a home away from home for a lot of people.”