Amanda Munday is the founder and CEO of The Workaround, a parent-friendly workspace in Toronto that offers waitlist-free childcare. An expert storyteller, she’s a regular contributor to The Globe and Mail, and the author of the intimate, bestselling memoir Day Nine: A Postpartum Depression Memoir. An advocate for women’s rights, Amanda has been awarded the Toronto Community Foundation Vital People Award for her work with women and technology, and an active voice in the push for universal childcare.
My first job ever was… working concessions at Famous Players Theatre (now Cineplex). After slaying the popcorn upsell I was promoted to “audience warm-up” where before each film I picked up a microphone and asked people to turn off their cell phones and… wait for it… their beepers. Ironically people often tossed popcorn at me.
The idea for The Workaround came to me when... I returned to work at a Toronto tech startup after my second child and felt like an alien. It seemed like I was the only one struggling to work and parent young children with a career I loved. Yet I knew there had to be other parents who needed to work and who struggled to find childcare in Toronto, so I selfishly built a space that would make it easier for me to go to work.
I decided to be an entrepreneur because… I’m stubborn and government policy moves too slowly. As we’ve seen with the COVID crisis, there is a lot of promise of relief without concrete immediate action. The same is true (tenfold) with childcare policy. I started an innovative childcare company after several frustrating years of childcare inaction.
My proudest accomplishment is… when my daughter proclaimed on one of her virtual school lessons that she is now the CEO of The Workaround and too busy on calls all day to finish her schoolwork.
My boldest move to date… was leaving my ten year marriage to come out as queer and finding a way to positively co-parent and co-exist with my ex while my children are still so little.
“As a strong, A-type, very proud woman I believed I could do it all. Once I accepted help, things improved dramatically.”
I surprise people when I tell them… I’m quite introverted and feel great stress in large group settings or after long in-person visits with anyone other than one or two close friends.
My best advice from a mentor was… focus on the problem directly in front of you, not the future problem you’re envisioning.
My advice for aspiring entrepreneurs… is don’t open a brick and mortar space? (Kidding… but not really). My advice to entrepreneurs is to consider if the work you want to be doing truly lights you up — you will be working longer hours than you ever have, putting everything on the line. So make sure it’s for a mission/cause/activity you really believe in. Otherwise it’s a whole lot of stress, and there are easier ways to earn no money.
The one piece of advice I give that I have trouble following myself is… “you can’t do everything today”. I recognize that currently I’m in the middle of a global pandemic and I cannot do the work I want to do, but I’m still quietly shaming myself for not doing enough. I really struggle to remember what “enough” really means.
If I had an extra hour in the day, I would… ask whether that hour includes parenting my children. If it’s a solo extra hour in the day, I would spend it napping or sitting outside in silence. If it’s an extra hour of parenting, I would spend it on screen time.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… that I’m queer, but truly in love with my garden. If only I lived somewhere I could garden 12 months of the year.
The best thing I’ve done for my business so far… is bring very wise investors and advisors into the mix, revealing my books and financial vulnerability. As a strong, A-type, very proud woman I believed I could do it all. Once I accepted help, things improved dramatically.
I stay inspired by… incredibly intelligent women and non-binary individuals who bravely put their critical analysis into the world through articles, books, podcasts and song. I LOVE critical analysis of everything from the current state of capitalism to an apt dissection of Love is Blind.
The future excites me because… well frankly it feels like we have nowhere to go but up.
My next step is… only to survive the next 18 months. The Workaround, my company, is still ordered closed in this moment — the recovery from this closure period will be much longer than the closure itself, and the only option I have is to try to survive it, hoping we will see enough return to normalcy to continue on.