Meet Misty McLandress, a Junk-ette throwing misconceptions about women in dirty jobs to the trash

Misty McLandress manages not only the back-end and day-to-day operations of a JUSTJUNK removal franchise, but can also be found on-site and in the trucks, directly serving her customers, who are often surprised to find a woman ready and willing to haul their garbage. Yet despite the stereotype, Misty loves her work, and credits a mother who always encouraged her to not worry about gender roles when it came to picking a career for her success — and the fulfillment that comes with it. “I saw the value in the service that JUSTJUNK would provide to others in our city and families like ours. Helping others and seeing how pleased they are when the job is complete is a great feeling.”





My first job ever was… Working as a hostess in a beachside burger restaurant.


I chose my career path because… After working in an office 8-5 for over 15 years I had learned so much. I had also been very fortunate to work with a Vice President who always encouraged me to try something different, learn something new, and grow professionally. I knew it was time to focus my energy to grow something of my own.


My proudest accomplishment is… My family. I have two wonderful boys who keep our house full of energy, and a caring a supportive spouse who is by my side every day.


My boldest move to date was… Moving to Canada 17 years ago and leaving my friends and family.


Being a woman in a male dominated industry is… Exciting and frustrating at times. I was lucky to have a mother who worked throughout my childhood in a male dominated field. She told me to always stand up for myself and my family. Learning to speak up and assert yourself is not always easy, but it helps when you love what you do.


I get ahead by… Getting up early every day and constantly staying busy.


I surprise people when I tell them… I work in the junk removal business!


My best advice to people starting out in entrepreneurship is… Don’t give up. In the beginning there will be many ups and downs. Believe in yourself, learn from your mistakes, and enjoy what you do every day.


My best advice from a mentor was… I have had two people in my life who have told me the same thing repeatedly: “Invest in yourself.” They both believe in me and have supported me every step of the way.


“Believe in yourself, learn from your mistakes, and enjoy what you do every day”


My biggest setback was… I have been fortunate not to have any major setbacks so far. I like to believe it is due to the support and guidance of my family, friends, and mentors.


Work/life balance is… A balancing act every day. Being there to hear about my children’s day, attending their after school activities, exercising, managing a business, and finding time for fun are on the agenda, and some days require more effort to find balance, but it’s all worth it.


If you Googled me, you still wouldn’t know… I’m horribly afraid of spiders!


I stay inspired by… Learning new things and looking for new opportunities to grow.


The future excites me because… Every day is different and filled with new challenges.


My next step is… Continuing to grow brand recognition in Winnipeg and increasing our truck fleet.



Meet Gail Bell and Julie Freedman Smith, the duo with parenting power

With a combined 30 years experience in the education sector, Julie and Gail knew they had a unique perspective on parenting. So, in 2002 they founded Parenting Power, a business that helps parents face everyday challenges through a comprehensive suite of parenting tools, including coaching, courses and conferences. In 2013 they co-authored their first book, A YEAR of Intentional Parenting and as experts have been featured on several local and national broadcasts and in digital and print publications.





My first job ever was…

Gail: I worked after school 2 days a week, playing with kids in a daycare and then cleaning it when the kids went home.

Julie: I had my first job when I was 14, working as an elf in a shopping mall. I helped kids get to see Santa.


I decided to be an entrepreneur because… 

Both:  We were inspired by a TV show about successful female entrepreneur partnerships. We decided to give it a try because we had found the right person with whom to work and we knew it would be a huge benefit for our family’s schedules, allowing us to be with our kids when we needed/wanted to be.


Our proudest accomplishment is…

Both: The thousands of families that feel more confident, capable and calm after working with us via media, courses, conferences and coaching. We love that we make a multi-generational change in a family — when parents shift the way they parent, kids learn a more respectful way of interacting that we hope they’ll use when they have their own families.


My boldest move to date was…

Both: Getting the courage up to ask world-renowned author and parenting expert, Barbara Coloroso to write the blurb for the back cover of our book. Having spoken with her many times, we realized that mentors are people, too. This has lead us to connect with others along the way, which continues to carry us forward.


We surprise people when we tell them…

Both: That our kids are normal kids and that we are normal parents who lose our cool too! We make many parenting mistakes, and we continue to learn from them.


My best advice to people starting out in business is…

Gail: Find the right people to work with and set clear boundaries between family time and work time.

Julie: Believe in yourself and find the courage to do the thing you dread early on every day. The day flows more smoothly once the tough bit is done and it helps one to feel even more capable.


Empowering parents is important because…

Both: It’s about normalizing the hard stuff and helping people see that they are capable of learning and making change. When parents set an intention to parent from values, using clear, consistent communication, they set themselves up positively to respond with respect rather than react in the moment. This results in the whole family feeling more connected and capable.


“Believe in yourself and find the courage to do the thing you dread early on every day.”


My best advice from a mentor was…

Gail: John O’Sullivan (from Changing the Game Project) encouraged us to be more active on social media. This has helped us to broaden our reach. John reminded us that social media is about sharing and working with others in the community toward a common goal.

Julie: Polly Young-Eisendrath encouraged us to build an entire course based on our learnings from her book, The Self-Esteem Trap. She was so gracious in sharing her material and supporting us in getting the word out to help many people. She taught us that we can work together rather than worrying about others taking our material.


Our biggest setback was…

Both: Facing the economic shift a few years ago. Our work came to a standstill and it was a tricky time. We felt like it might be time to give up.


We overcame it by…

Both: Ultimately, this down time helped us because we asked for help and ended up clarifying the vision for our company. Knowing what was truly important to us made the next steps much, much clearer. We are definitely better thanks to that process.


Work/life balance is…
Both: About setting clear intentions and following through. It is a choice. It changes over time.


If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know…

Gail: What you can’t google about me.

Julie: What I want to remain private.


I stay inspired by…

Gail: Keeping up on the latest research and watching awesome kids every day!

Julie: Seeking and finding the light in every person. Getting to spend my days doing mostly what I want to do. Hearing from families that they used our tools and changed their lives.


The future excites us because…

Both: We continue to expand, share and guide families. Over the last 8 – 10 years, society has shifted life’s focus away from the family. We have an opportunity to shift the focus back to the family and connection, to what matters most for the development of healthy kids.


Our next step is…

Both: Sharing the latest research on brain development and how family connections positively influence the development of each child (and therefore every adult,) with as many people as we can. We will continue to make a very positive difference in the world.




Do you know a successful female entrepreneur who deserves recognition? Nominate her for the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards!