Jaclyn McPhadden

Forty Under 40 Winner 2017: Co-founder and managing partner, RecycleSmart Solutions, Age 38

Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, Jaclyn McPhadden may have been destined to start her own business – even if it wasn’t always clear to her.

McPhadden, co-founder of recycling consulting firm RecycleSmart Solutions, is an alumna of the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, but she didn’t take the traditional MBA route. Before she earned her master’s degree, McPhadden’s concern for the environment motivated her to get a biology degree and to embark on a five-year expedition in the polar regions, including Antarctica. This experience ultimately helped inspire her to start a successful business career helping others reduce their environmental footprint.

“I saw climate change first-hand,” said McPhadden. “I saw what a pristine environment looks like and then coming back to an urban environment was a bit of a shock, and I just saw that there was a lot of opportunity for us to make a business.”

However, for McPhadden and her co-founding partner, Colin Bell, their business needed to be about more than just having a profitable bottom line.

“We were looking to build a business that we could come home at the end of the day and be proud of,” McPhadden said. “Specifically, we were looking to get into the green space, and so, RecycleSmart Solutions was born off our kitchen table in Squamish, B.C.”

McPhadden noticed that many businesses were struggling to find information on how to manage waste more efficiently and save money, and she understood the opportunity in helping businesses find ways to do that.

While working full time as an office manager, McPhadden spent nights at her kitchen table working out ways to get her new business of the ground. Not having any business training or experience, she thought her only chance to make effective change would be to go back to school and focus on business.

She developed a unique solution to the business community’s waste management problems. Rather than develop a company that focused on selective problems, she created a business that can help many companies tackle varying initiatives and issues.



Where you live now:

New Westminster

Highest level of education:

Master of business administration

Currently reading:

The Organized Mind by Daniel J. Levitin

Currently listening to:

Anything on Spotify

When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up:

Female version of Dr. Roberts from Danger Bay

Profession you would most like to try:


Toughest business or professional decision:

Deciding to take on an active investor

Advice you would give the younger you:

Don’t sweat the small stuff

What’s left to do:

Convert every waste bin in Canada to a smart bin

Join us to celebrate the 2017 Forty under 40 Awards on January 23, 2018, at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For tickets and event info visit http://www.biv.com/events/40under40