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.
Pete the Cat, Hotel Transylvania animated series or Max and Ruby might sound familiar as programs you or someone younger than yourself watches, but did you know that these shows were made and produced right here in Kelowna by Okanagan artists at a local animation firm?
Ashley Ramsay’s Yeti Farm Creative, based in downtown Kelowna, has produced internationally-recognized children’s shows and is poised to do more. As the COVID-19 global pandemic hit, people stayed home and used streaming services more, which Ramsay said increased the demand for content resulting in Yeti Farm thriving rather than diving.
But before it became a success, Yeti Farm actually started out as a “side hustle”, according to Ramsay.
“My husband was doing freelance animation work at different agencies, and I was on maternity leave for our first child,” she said.
“I had started a baby product business at the same time, and so it started out as our side hustle and over the years, we were able to grow it here at home in Kelowna.”
Founded in 2007, Yeti Farm didn’t fully take off until 2013, beginning with five employees and now, the studio employs 175 producers and animators. As a woman leading a team in a traditionally male-dominated, Ramsay said it has had its challenges.
“I think there’s always a struggle when you’re a female entrepreneur, especially when you’re trying to raise capital. There’s a lot of preconceived notions about women’s roles as a natural bias when we walk into a room with a company that’s got a kickass balance sheet and revenue that’s going up 300 pre cent,” she said.
“I sometimes wonder what is the biased lens that they’re looking through. Sometimes you can’t even really put your finger on it, but that’s been the most challenging thing. But as a woman leader, I don’t really walk in the door every day and think ‘oh I’m a woman’, I just feel like I’m doing the best I can as a leader for the company no matter my gender.”
Ramsay said one of the keys to her success is persistence.
“I honestly think it’s persistence. When you have a vision and a goal, which for us was to create as many jobs as possible in this industry and being able to put Kelowna on the map, you just have to keep going. You don’t really overcome something unless you see a goal through and you see it happening. You just got to keep going. You can’t let anything take you down.”