Paula Lestinho learned about hard work and gratification from her parents. Growing up in Portugal and arriving in Canada in her early teens, she had to learn a new language and culture and overcome the challenges that come with that. Years of helping her parents clean commercial offices every evening for extra income sparked her entrepreneurial drive to create an outside-the-box cleaning company with an amazing reputation and unique way of doing business.
To make this happen, after graduating from Father Lacombe High School she enrolled in the business management program at S.A.I.T. and in 1992, she launched her own cleaning business, White Spot Janitorial, now celebrating 30 years in business.
Being an owner in an industry dominated by men, Lestinho brought something new to the market. Potential clients liked the idea of a woman looking after their cleaning needs. Starting out, she wore multiple hats. She handled business development, human resources and supervising, as well as executing day-to-day tasks on top of being a mother and wife. She worked hard and proved herself in the marketplace. As her reputation for quality grew, so did her business. Now she employs more than 200 people serving more than 75 valued clients with services in day, evening and weekend shifts cleaning over 10 million square feet of space every week.
The company focuses on commercial clients in Calgary, and being local makes all the difference. She can be more hands-on and productive on every decision as she fulfils contracts in retail, offices, educational institutions, medical facilities and transportation facilities. The team is well trained, committed, bonded and certified, and the custodians take pride in providing exceptional quality service.
“The key to a successful business is its people. That is the biggest asset; if we take care of the staff, they’ll take care of your customers,” says Paula Lestinho, owner of White Spot Janitorial. “I know what it takes for these cleaners every day and I’m so appreciative of them and how they represent my company.”
Lestinho has been on the other end of the mop and understands what it takes to get the job done to her exacting standards. She offers continual education and support to not only facilitate staff in doing their job well but to inspire them to move up in the company. In a transient employee business, White Spot has great retention and retains a wealth of industry experience on the teams. When leaders create an environment where people feel seen, heard and understood, transformative outcomes become second nature.
It is important for Lestinho to show both her staff and her clients how important they are. She holds custodian recognition events that reward hardworking individuals to keep her staff motivated and empowered, and she maintains customer appreciation platforms that allow clients to engage with the company through feedback to ensure they receive everything they need from their cleaning company.
White Spot is always trying to do better, from implementing enhanced cleaning practices to keeping up with the latest industry techniques in this changing world. The team strives to eliminate bacteria and viruses in clients’ workplaces, delivering on its mission to provide that “wow factor” for both clients and staff. This year, White Spot was recognised by one of its suppliers (Dustbane Products Ltd.) on National Cleaning Week with 1,000 trees planted in the company’s name, which is a huge accomplishment for our planet.
“I have deep gratitude for this opportunity to serve Calgary, meeting many amazing individuals and diverse cultures that created a sustaining life in the most significant way,” she says. “Thank you to all that have been a part of my journey and remember that if you are looking for an amazing cleaning company, please call us.”