Women in Waste: Jessyca Clement
Growing up in Montreal, Quebec, in the 1970s, Jessyca Clement watched her grandfather, Marc Audet, build one of the city’s first portable toilet businesses.
“He was a visionary,” she said. “He saw a market for portable toilets in the area, so he purchased the toilets and a service truck and started a business to supplement his income.”
Jessyca recalls the early days when she would ride along in the passenger seat of the truck while Marc serviced some of Montreal’s biggest summer events, including the famed Grand Prix. This gave Jessyca valuable one-on-one time with her grandfather and taught her a lot about the business.
“I had the best seat in the house,” she joked. “But the portable toilet business has changed a lot – back then, it was only for special events.”
The business prospered and inspired by his father-in-law’s success, Jessyca’s dad, Roy Clement, came to work alongside him.
By the time Marc retired and sold his company, Roy had learned enough about the industry to start a waste broker business. Several successful years later, Roy founded a portable toilet business of his own called Toilette Royal.
No stranger to the family business from a childhood spent perched on the front seat of her grandfather’s truck, Jessyca was happy to play her part. In the summers, she would take vacation from her regular job to help her father run his business.
Energetic, driven and determined, Jessyca forged her own very successful career with Air Canada, spending 15 years with the company. After a decade as a Flight Attendant, she traded airspace for office space and transitioned to the role of Customer Sales Manager, where she was responsible for hundreds of employees at one of Canada’s busiest international airports.
Juggling a demanding full-time job, her own seasonal snow removal business and a busy personal life with two young children at home, Jessyca continued to help her father run his business.
“It was just my passion,” Jessyca said of her desire to do it all. “I would work all night plowing snow, come home, get the kids ready for school and go to work for the day.”
Shortly after the birth of her third child, Jessyca’s father decided to sell Toilette Royal to EBI, a local solid waste company in East Montreal.
By this stage, Jessyca had built an impressive knowledge of the business working alongside two generations of waste industry leaders. Keen to take advantage of her experience, the new owner convinced her to stay on and manage the company’s portable toilet division. Jessyca decided she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to run the company her father had built.
Drawing on her inherent entrepreneurial instinct, Jessyca had a clear vision of how the company could grow and under her direction the business thrived.
Her success caught GFL’s attention and in June 2018, she joined the company’s Quebec operations, Matrec, as a District Manager.
Now, Jessyca enjoys the challenge of running one of the largest yards in GFL’s Eastern Canada solid waste operations. She oversees almost 1,400 portable toilet units and a fleet of solid waste trucks across Montreal.
She feels that to be a successful leader in the waste industry you need to walk in everyone’s shoes. That’s why on any given day you can find her pumping out toilets, inspecting equipment or checking in on her customers.
“This business is personal to me and the employees are like my family,” she said.
As for females in the field, Jessyca believes that every woman has something unique to offer the waste industry.
“We each have our own special power that we simply need to tap into to succeed,” she said. “My advice is to give it your all, see things through and believe in yourself.”