Kylie McGregor, owner and operator of Big Bob’s Meat in Midale, was nominated for the Innovative Leadership Award for the South East Women of Distinction Awards. She said it was an honour to be recognized by her peers and employees during her first year of operation.  

“It’s definitely been a challenging year, a lot of growth and learning on being an entrepreneur,” said McGregor. "We’ve had to learn different ways of doing things like breaking down beef, you know, so that we’re not pushing ourselves past our physical limits."

She added that they have really hit their stride in the last six months. 

McGregor's grandfather was the originator of Big Bob’s, and the tradition was followed by her father, who opened his own branch in Regina when he was 18. Historically, meat processing has been seen as a male-dominated industry, and she said it empowering to be able to have a female-owned and operated shop.  

"I’m really proud to be a woman in this industry and I think it’s something for other women and young ladies to look up to. Just because it’s a male-dominated industry, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it too,” said McGregor. 

While she had experience working alongside her father, she added that owning her own branch did come with some challenges. Her dad has been a mentor to her, and his advice has been invaluable as she navigates her own branch of the family business. Her mother and sister have also been a great asset to McGregor throughout this journey.  

She said that her husband's support has also been a big part of her success. He is always willing to lend a hand at the shop, helping with repairs, breaking down meat when needed, and other day-to-day tasks. This also means that their two daughters are frequently in the shop at the end of the day and after hours. 

“That’s kind of how I grew up, being in my dad’s shop here and there when I was younger and then it just increased over time,” said McGregor. “I’m really excited for them to grow up and I hope that they are proud of our family business because it’s all of ours.” 

Before starting her own business, she worked with the Nature Conservancy for a few years. She added that she loved what she was doing but felt that continuing in the family business was important.  

“It was incredibly hard for me to leave that job because I had such a passion for our landscapes in Saskatchewan and working with ranchers and other people in the agricultural industry.”  

She added that the family business allows her to connect with those same people. While helping with her father's shops, she also had the opportunity to work at local markets, so she was able to make connections with clients in the southeast.  

“It’s something that I’ve always been really proud of in my dad’s business. So, I knew that it was just kind of the right direction for me to head in.”  

McGregor said that she has been inspired by other women in her community, especially regarding the soon-to-open Midale Daycare. She said that these services are needed in Midale and will give many women the option to return to work if and when they want to.  

“Where our community is, it’s typically the men that are working, and the women are home because of the childcare situation for most families. So that’s something that I’m really proud to be a part of, and I’m really excited for that to come to fruition because we’ve put a lot of work into that.”  

The Southeast Women of Distinction Awards will take place at Wylie Mitchell Hall in Estevan on May 2, 2024.

You can find the full list of nominees here.