Katharine Usher Vollett – Making it Happen
When you first meet the General Manager at the newly opened Darrell Huxham designed eQuinelle Golf Club in Kemptville, you are immediately captivated by a young lady with a big smile and firm handshake. Beyond that first appearance, you find a very capable businesswoman who has worked her way through the ranks by paying her dues.
Always on top of her game, Katharine Usher-Vollett manages the 18-hole golf club for TMSI Sports Management, a company that manages and owns recreational facilities throughout the Ottawa region where she has been a team member for 20 years.
A strong work ethic began for Katherine at an early age. She has worked since she was 12 years old. Along the way, she’s had her share of jobs in the service industry in the area including community newspaper delivery (The Nepean Clarion), McDonalds Restaurant, City of Nepean recreation, a medical clinic, Dalmy’s Clothing, Casey’s Restaurant, Queensview Racquet Club and Kanata Golf Club. She also worked in her youth in Whistler where she skied all day and worked into the night. A graduate of the Hotel & Restaurant Management course at Algonquin College added to her future resume.
Looking for full time employment, good fortune struck Katharine when her room-mate advised her that the Thunderbird Golf & Athletic Club was looking for front-line staff. Hired on the spot by Manager Darin McCorriston, who Katharine describes as “the man with the golden touch”, the rest is history. As well as being her boss, Darin is also Katharine’s mentor and friend.
Katharine has pretty much tackled every job in the company through the years and has gained first hand knowledge in doing so. With a goal to one day becoming a manager, she took the time to learn the entire operation wherever she was working.
According to Darin, “Katharine has gone beyond the call of duty and put her signature on our company taking it to a higher level. Whatever it takes to get the job done, she makes it happen.”
With a company portfolio that includes tennis clubs, golf clubs, recreation facilities and indoor sports played under domes, you would think that sports would be a large portion of Katharine’s background., but that isn’t exactly the case.
Her parents got her involved with the normal sports in her younger days. (soccer, baseball, figure skating, T-ball, hockey) In Katharine’s words, “I wasn’t that big on sports. I was a bit lazy.” She credits her parents with allowing her the freedom to explore different goals in life, which have helped her in her own personal development.
An added benefit of Katharine working at Thunderbird was when she was introduced to her future husband, Chris, who was the superintendent for the par 3 golf course. A marriage ceremony was soon in the offing with vows taken under a large willow tree at Amberwood Golf Club. Chris and Katharine now have a son (Carter) who is 8 years old and golf has become a priority on a regular basis for them, usually at the par 3 Thunderbird golf course.
Chris and Katharine also work together at eQuinelle where Chris is the course superintendent. When asked how that’s working out, Katharine’s answer was straight forward. “There are challenges. We are both passionate about what we do, but we do work well together.” Katharine also thanks Chris for his patience.
On her job as General Manager at the National Capital Region’s newest championship golfing experience in what was at one time a traditional role for men, Katharine’s response – “I love it! I’m not intimidated. Women can do anything.”
Katharine has used the knowledge gained through her years of work experience and applied herself to getting the eQuinelle Golf Club up and running from the start up stage. “Recreation is recreation”, says Katharine. “People are out spending money and want to enjoy themselves.”
Life experience has also taught Katharine how to manage people. “There’s a fine line between being a friend and also being a boss. You have to know your staff.” By all accounts, Katharine is doing just fine.
When asked about any regrets in her life, the answer was “Absolutely none. My experiences have built my character and got me where I am today. I love what I do!”
At some point in the future, Katharine would like to become more involved with the National Golf Club Owner’s Association and the Canadian Society of Club Managers.
But for now, Katharine is all about providing eQuinelle Golf Club clients with the best possible golf experience, planning down the road for a new clubhouse and also keeping a balance in her life between work and home.
With her positive attitude, strong work ethic and a huge support network, the sky’s the limit for this personable young businesswoman.