If she had her choice, Tanya Eklund would be the next Oprah.
While she’s known for being one of Calgary’s top realtors, Eklund also loves interviewing people – and she’s not waiting on anyone to hand her a mic. In January 2020, she launched a podcast of her own called The VOW, Voice of Women.
On her weekly episodes, she interviews local women who are making a difference in the community. Whether they’re entrepreneurs, single moms, athletes or doctors, all have one thing in common: inspiring real-life stories. “A lot of our guests have overcome huge obstacles in their lives,” says Eklund. “My hope is that hearing these stories will give women hope.”
So far, The VOW has released nearly 50 episodes on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, and it has featured the likes of functional medicine specialist Dr. Natasha Iyer, lifestyle blogger Jessica Janzen, fashion designer Malika Rajani and KonMari consultant Helen Youn. More than 130 listeners have garnered the podcast nearly 8,000 plays.
While Eklund is thrilled her passion project is finding its audience, the 41-year-old says she, too, is learning a lot from her guests.
One of her biggest takeaways has been the affirmation women shouldn’t feel selfish for taking care of themselves – something she has struggled with, at times. With two young daughters, a thriving real estate business and a husband who’s also an entrepreneur, Eklund’s days are full.
“As women, we want to be all things to all people. And our health and wellness can suffer because we put others first,” she says. “Hearing my guests talk about taking care of themselves made me feel relieved, like, it’s OK to do that.”
Carving out time to host her podcast certainly fills her cup. “It’s been such a beautiful break in my day,” she says.
She conducts every interview at The Eklund Group office, where she’s set up a podcast room with headphones, mics and socially distanced chairs.
To keep the conversation flowing and natural, Eklund doesn’t over-research her interviewees or script too many questions. “I prefer to be surprised and want my reactions to be authentic,” she says.
Other things that bring her joy include spending time with family and friends, traveling, working with her real estate team, exercising and reading biographies.
“I like learning how people grew up and why they are who they are, today.”
Her curiosity to dig into someone’s story is what drives the podcast. “When I interview someone,” she says, “it’s like getting their mini-biography.” Eklund also enjoys listening to other people ask the questions and is currently tuning into Dax Shepard’s podcast, Armchair Expert.
When it comes to the future of her own podcast, Eklund wants The VOW to reach and empower as many women as possible.
Ultimately, she says, “I’d love for it to become one of Canada’s top podcasts.”
As she works toward her goal, Eklund will continue to relish every moment in the interviewer’s seat. “When I get into the podcast room, it’s just me and these amazing, resilient women,” she says. “It’s like we’re having coffee at a coffee shop, and the conversation is always inspiring.”