When Janet Trude first became the manager of a Tim Hortons restaurant back in 1984, she had an eight-month-old baby at home. With her husband working long shifts as a police officer, Janet faced a tricky juggling act caring for her infant son while working diligently to ensure that her Collingwood, Ont., Tim Hortons restaurant thrived.

But Janet was up for the challenge — which didn’t surprise anyone who knew her. By the time she had her second son years later, Janet had become co-owner of 10 Tim Hortons locations, a testament to her tenacity, work ethic and dedication to her business.

Now, more than 35 years after her journey with Tim Hortons began, it’s certainly gratifying to Janet that this has truly become a family business — one of her sons has joined her in working under the Tims banner.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a female business owner?

When I started, restaurants were predominantly owned by husband-wife teams. Head offices were pretty much male.

It could be hard to get people to take you seriously if you were female. They would come in and say, “Is your husband here?” No, I’m actually the owner. Suppliers would usually expect to negotiate with a man.

You just had to be really firm and it took a while to gain their respect. There were times when people wanted to push me around because I’m a woman. It took a while to be accepted as an equal, but I stayed with it.

What are your proudest accomplishments as an entrepreneur?

It’s been really important to me to be involved in the community. Giving back to my community is my greatest joy.

I grew up here in Collingwood in a middle-class household. My father was a welder who passed away when I was 16. Something I noticed was that many who lived in my town were unable to enjoy our beautiful ski areas because of the cost. I joined the Rotary Club and started a ski club for kids who would never have had the opportunity to ski due to financial reasons. In 1990, we also started a charity golf tournament and have raised more than $700,000 since.

The other rewarding thing is hiring young people and watching them grow up. Kids work all through high school and come back every summer throughout university. I’ve always ran my own scholarship program through my restaurants, giving youth who work with us funds to use towards university.

It’s amazing when they come back, share their experiences and say thank you.

What advice do you have for other female entrepreneurs?

There are no shortcuts. Hard work and perseverance are key as a woman in business. There isn’t anything you can’t do if you put your heart into it.

I’m on the Tim Hortons Advisory Board, and the reason I ran is I didn’t see a lot of women representing the owners on the board. Now, Tim Hortons is very open, with lots of female leaders.

It’s great to see that women have really made a contribution throughout the organization – from the corporate level, to in restaurant and everywhere in between.

Click or tap to read more about Janna, Patricia and Marie.