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‘Unlock childcare and you unlock potential’, Amanda Munday, Founder of The Workaround, maps a vision for childcare at TEDxToronto’s ‘Uncharted’

TEDxToronto will launch its first of four digital speaker events on October 29th, and this year’s theme is Uncharted. “The world today is something we’ve never experienced before—and these uncharted waters are making us ask some big questions,” co-chairs Gillian Cameron and Kapil Khimdas explain. “We are all asking, ‘How can we see the larger picture, find sources of hope, and  balance our individual goals with what we owe to each other?’”  

The speakers that the TEDxToronto team has lined up will ensure that every direction of the Uncharted theme is examined and explored. Amanda Munday, Founder and CEO of The Workaround, and author of the bestselling book Day Nine: A Postpartum Depression Memoir, is one of the dynamic Torontonians who will step onto the virtual stage.

For Munday, the opportunity to map out a vision for a post-pandemic world begins with accessible childcare.

What does the theme of “Uncharted” make you think about?

I’m thinking about how for the first time all these pieces are coming together, an undoing, a new world, that we have an opportunity to rebuild better, for more people.

What is it you most want to say, when you get up on that virtual stage?

Unlock childcare and you unlock potential for more people, parents AND non-parents.

For you, and many entrepreneurs, 2020 has been a never-ending storm. How have you found your bearings? What has helped you stay true to your vision, your business, your course?

One of the most bittersweet things about having a coworking business with childcare onsite is that I know, MORE THAN EVER how needed and important The Workaround is. Yet at the same time it’s not safe for me to welcome drop-in families the way we used to (even if I wanted to, the restrictions are long). Even though The Workaround isn’t open in the way it was in February 2020, I am strong in the vision because I know working parents need, and deserve, so much better. And I am hopeful that employers are starting to understand how important flexibility is to working parents and non-parents!

What part of the day is the most precious to you, and how do you spend that time?

For a long time it used to be the 90 minutes after my kids fall asleep before I am down for the night, but actually, I’m usually so exhausted by that time that I spend it watching light TV or reading something easy. The time that is the most precious, and the time I enjoy the most is early mornings – when I first sip coffee, read something interesting in a mostly quiet house. It helps me to set the tone for the day and think about my intentions. Sometimes I only get 15 minutes before the school drop off / open The Workaround chaos starts, but in a way that makes those few minutes even better.

What’s a piece of advice that has always served you well?

If this decision ends up on the front page of the Globe and Mail, will I be proud of it? I think about this positioning often. When making hard business decisions sometimes financial interests come in conflict with what’s best for people or my staff team. So, I often get quiet and think, will “business owner chooses profits over people” ever serve me? If others knew I was making this decision, would I be proud? Would I want to frame the headline for later? If not, I better have a REALLY GOOD REASON why not. 

The other great piece of advice is always wait 24 hours before sending *that* email. You know the one I mean. The one you should sleep on.

You work with a lot of parents, that is who you built your business for—of all the concerns that parents have expressed this year, what seems to be the one you hear most? That you’ll forever associate 2020 with?

Oof, it has to be fear of the unknown. Parents are used to dealing with changing realities, ruined schedules and unplanned situations, but not being able to refer to someone else’s expertise, read up on behaviours, or know when the hard times might end is incredibly draining. I’m not even sure parents have yet started to unpack all that 2020 has brought – we are all still very much in the weeds with it. We are concerned about the health and safety of our families and our communities, we are torn between wanting to keep our children safe and needing to work, and none of us know when a true break is in sight. 

In short, how has motherhood helped define your career? 

What parenthood made me realize beyond anything else is how capable I am, and the potential I have as both a parent and a business owner. There have been so many times I’ve said out loud “I can’t.” But then I do. I do the hard thing, I get the kids to their COVID tests and run a business while awaiting results from home and practice my TED talk AND plan for fall infection rates to slow business down. I’m exhausted, but I know exhaustion. I’m scared, but I know fear. Knowing my potential to do better for the world is there helps me on days I super, really, HAVE TO take a break. Is it break time?

The first event in the TEDxToronto Uncharted Digital Event Series will be held on October 29th at 7p.m. Get your tickets now. 

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