Jaclyn McPhadden (MBA ’11) considers herself to have been very fortunate in every job she has held since starting biology studies at the University of Victoria.Spending several summers in a dream student job as a whale-watching tour guide, along with her education, led to a position as expedition leader for a highly-regarded Arctic and Antarctic eco-tour company, started by two visionaries with a fleet of repurposed Soviet-era icebreakers.
Although she loved the work, spending her 20’s away from friends and family – “I missed all the weddings”, she jokes – eventually took its toll. After five years, she decided to come home to Victoria and began working at a local hotel while contemplating her next move. The enormous amount of waste generated by the hotel immediately caught her attention and, she recalls, horrified her. With the blessing of the owners, she piloted a cost-effective recycling program for the hotel.
Due to lack of infrastructure, her initiative was not successful, but it proved to be highly instructive. Motivated by the waste disposal problem and inspired by the example of the founders of the expedition company, she needed to acquire solid business knowledge and skills. UBC Sauder’s Part-Time MBA program (now the Professional MBA program) was the perfect solution, in tandem with another great job as an educator at the Vancouver Aquarium.
However, Jaclyn’s focus remained on waste-management and, even before graduating, she and a business partner began market testing and strategy development for what is now RecycleSmart Solutions. Their innovative business-to-business company provides bespoke waste management brokerage services that ensures all clients’ waste is disposed of correctly, efficiently and cost-effectively. Although similar services exist in the US and Europe, in the relatively staid Canadian waste management sector, RecycleSmart Solutions, with its cutting-edge technology – picture waste bins equipped with sensors and cameras – is clearly a disruptor, whose success has not gone unnoticed. In 2018, it earned 12th place on the Growth500 fastest growing Canadian companies list.
Jaclyn’s individual accomplishments were recognized when she was named Female Entrepreneur of the Year by Growth 500 in 2018 and Business in Vancouver’s 2017 Top Forty Under 40. One can only imagine what her future impact will be but for the time being she is focussed on Canadian business’s waste management challenges – one smart bin at a time.