“Don’t be afraid to get into an uncommon field” With Neenah Marie

Don’t be afraid to get into an uncommon field. Always be respectful but always demand respect in return with a smile — you must in…

Thrive invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.

Don’t be afraid to get into an uncommon field. Always be respectful but always demand respect in return with a smile — you must in uncommon fields where women are not seen as owners often.

I had the pleasure to interview Neenah Marie. Neenah is the owner of Bin There Dump That (BTDT) San Antonio, a rental provider of residential friendly dumpsters. It is very rare to be a woman owned business in the trash industry but she has built her street credentials over the last 16 years and continues to mentor other franchisees in the business to help ensure their success. She has been called “the trash whisperer” and has a very well-respected customer-service-first business model now operating for over six years.

Thank you so much for joining us. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I was working in the construction industry for a mobile office rental company when I met the owner of CC Disposal in Corpus Christi, Texas. I knew nothing of the solid waste industry at that time but the owner changed that for me. He loved the customer service I provided for him in renting a mobile office so much that he offered me a job.

I then worked for a local dumpster rental company in San Antonio, that no longer exists. I was there for about 11 months before I stumbleD upon Bin There Dump That and the franchise opportunity while browsing job sites — 30 days later, I owned my own business with the support and backing of an international franchise system.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

No one would believe I was educated in this field, but I had the hunger to prove myself and was willing to do the time and earn that respect. I was a long blonde haired, blue eyed gal traipsing around acting like I knew what to do even though in the beginning I did not. I would get out of my truck at the landfill and it seemed as the trash world would stop. Everyone would look at me as if I was a phenomenon or a fluke that this lady drove the truck in where it should go and opened the doors to the dumpster that was full of trash to actually operate the equipment like most men would. It was always funny to see their faces, but by the end of the job respect was mutual and we built strong business relationships together. The biggest lesson learned from leading my company has been humility. In the first year of my business, I operated as a one-man show answering every phone call and delivering every dumpster myself. Fast forward to today and my business operates five trucks and 200 dumpsters with an amazing team that continues to push the limits for success.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Hands down, it is by providing best-in-class customer service. We make sure our customers know that we care and have a vested interest, and it shows. Communication is our secret to success — and sometimes it as simple as getting back to basics.

It is absolutely critical to keep your customer informed. If what you promised isn’t going to happen, pick up the phone and call to inform them so they aren’t playing a guessing game. For every new customer, send out a personalized, hard-copy thank you card that is signed by the owner. These small personal touches go a long way!

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

While we look at our business every day as helping people, I always like to encourage and inspire in our industry. We are continually looking for new and better ways to provide the best possible service. We know helping our customers first is good for all. By delivering the best possible service, we help build the Bin There Dump That brand thereby helping other current and future franchisees to reach new levels.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

Don’t be afraid to get into an uncommon field. Always be respectful but always demand respect in return with a smile — you must in uncommon fields where women are not seen as owners often.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a team?

Stay focused on your goals and plans and not on any gender-based issues. There will inevitably be a need to manage men as well as women in your business. Know successful managers may defer to good ideas from any source but not to anyone due to gender.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Eventually, I took full responsibility for my life regardless of a somewhat misspent and hectic youth. Fortunately, my parents observed the significant progress I made as I got older. I am very pleased to report that when I approached my parents with my desire to start my own Bin There Dump That franchise they were excited to climb aboard and help in any way they could. My mom, Jan, still to this day comes in one day a week to help out.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

We help out with a couple of organizations here locally and we try to recycle as often as we can. For example, we join forces with the Salvation Army every year around the holidays and donate dumpsters for their Angel Tree Program. The dumpsters are used to collect all the TRASH AND CARBOARD PRODUCED FROM 12/4 TO 12/21 FROM THE toys that are donated. We also work closely with the military community, specifically donating dumpsters for a local program called AdApt a Vet that helps wounded veterans make adaptations to their homes for more accessible and comfortable living.

What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why.

1. Set the example of acceptable behavior.

2. Require consistency to assure the sense of reliability.

3. Provide an incentivising and belonging environment with praise when warranted and additional monetary bonuses wherever possible.

4. Maintain calm and consider people over all else. There will be instances of damage to hardware which must always take second place to the well being of anyone involved.

5. Learn all you can from those more experienced and therefore likely smarter.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

SHE BELIEVED SHE COULD SO SHE DID. My husband gave me this amazing woman inspired quote card booklet. When the people you love most point these small revelations out to you it means the world. When you are in the trenches, sometime you lose focus on how everything came together. I believed and so I did!

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Lori Greiner without question! I use to watch her all the time on Shark Tank. She is inspiring, savvy, intelligent as ever and she has become so successful in what most would call a man’s world. She is a pint size lady that packs a huge business punch! Absolutely love her!

Originally published at medium.com

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.