Our series “Women in powersports” showcases the determination, the leadership and the commitment these exceptional women deploy in our industry. Today, in our Xth portrait, we present Émilie St-Laurent, co-owner of BRP dealership Sports DRC in Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, Quebec, Canada.
After successfully completing her studies in fashion marketing at HEC Montreal, then founding and selling on her own children’s accessories business, Émilie turned her attention to a new challenge in the powersports industry. In 2016, she became a partner in a BRP dealership in her native region.
A successful business woman and new powersports enthusiast, Émilie has been active in the industry for three years now. She tells us about her experience :
Why did you choose the powersports industry?
My father has been co-owner of Sports DRC since 1995. When the founder decided to retire in 2015, I had the opportunity to buy a share in the company with partners. Powersports are very popular in the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region, and it was an opportunity for me to use my knowledge of business development, marketing and digital technologies in a growing market.
What’s it like to be a woman in the powersports industry?
Frankly, my knowledge of recreational vehicles was rather basic, so I had to work doubly hard to keep up with the pace and earn the respect of my clients and colleagues. I have never been afraid of ridicule or of asking questions! As soon as I joined the company, I immediately took an interest in our customers’ powersports adventures, and I think that's how I earned their respect. The enthusiasm of our employees is contagious and today I share their passion and practise motorsports myself.
How have things changed for women since you entered the job market?
Since I started working, equality has always been a hot topic. I think I'm lucky because today, women who are successful are held up as examples and respected. Every possibility is within our reach. Today, it is competency and talent that are put forward. Diversified work teams have been proven valuable and the labor market now welcomes diversity with open arms.
Do you do things to help women in your field succeed?
Two years ago, we started the Girls Camp. We take 10 women out for a snowmobile ride with our off-road ambassador at Sports DRC, Vanessa Belley. On this day out, we get the women to step out of their comfort zone and try different backcountry terrains on their snowmobile. They develop self-confidence and become better equipped for their next rides. They help each other out, and at each edition, I’m so happy to see the smiles on the faces of our participants, and how proud and satisfied they are. Our end goal is to increase the number of female snowmobilers in Quebec, and it’s going well!
What’s your advice for women in business?
Be yourself and know yourself. To shine, you need to surround yourself with stars. I believe that helping each other and being authentic should be our main values in business, and knowing your own strengths and weaknesses is essential if you want to choose the right people to be part of your team. I’d also add that for one successful idea, you need a ton of bad ones that you shouldn’t be afraid to express and try out!
How do you see the future?
The future looks promising for our girls and for our boys! With the various actions of the business community and the arrival of new generations at the helm, mentalities are changing, and it’s for the better! I think a large part of the work is up to us. We have to carve out our space, while staying true to our values and ourselves. Nothing should slow down our ambitions and goals except the limits we impose on ourselves.
“ To shine, you need to surround yourself with stars.”