Meet Barbara Pasternak: Founder of Chair Diabetes Hope Foundation, Vice President Fluid Hose & Coupling Inc

Barbara Pasternak is the Vice President of Fluid Hose and Coupling Inc., a leading manufacturer and distributor of engineering and industrial applications company that she co-founded with her husband in 1985. She is also the Founder and Chair of the Diabetes Hope Foundation (DHF), a non-profit established in 1999 after two of her three sons were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, despite no family history of the disease. DHF has raised over $11 million to implement unique transition programs and initiatives that have impacted the lives of over 4,000 children and youth living with diabetes and their families across Canada. DHF remains the only organization in Canada dedicated to addressing the zero community, mental health and financial support services available to youth with Type 1 diabetes (T1D), and those transitioning to adult care. 



My first job was… when I was 16 years old and I was selling sunglasses at a small boutique in downtown Toronto on the weekends for extra spending money.

My proudest accomplishment…. in business was 20 years ago when I created an environment of accountability for all employees at Fluid Hose and Coupling Inc. and we became the first Canadian company in our industry to implement a Quality Management System (QMS) and earn ISO 9001 certification. In spearheading these efforts, I finally earned the respect of my male employees, predominately male customers and the North American manufacturing industry at large. The culture at the company is one where employees are invested in meeting three key criteria in the work they do everyday – customer service and satisfaction, product control and prompt delivery. Our ISO guidelines continue to evolve to meet ever-changing business demands. We are constantly cross-training our staff to ensure customer satisfaction!

My boldest move to date was…quitting a well-paid, fabulous job with great benefits, entering a male-dominated industry, partnering with my husband and launching a manufacturing company in the ’80s without knowing anything about the industry. 

The most fulfilling thing about the work I do is… knowing I am making a difference to thousands of youth living with diabetes through Diabetes Hope Foundation (DHF), the foundation I founded in 1999 after 2 of my 3 sons shockingly developed diabetes, despite no family history of the disease.

The most challenging thing about my work is… as a philanthropist, educating the public and donors about the zero emotional, community and financial support services available to youth with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in Canada. Numerous organizations exist focused on diabetes research, but DHF is the only organization in this country tackling the emotional, financial, and social stigma that youth living with diabetes deal with on a daily basis.

I would tell my 21-year-old self…rejection is not personal. Keep at it, keep going, follow your passion…do not get distracted or discouraged with the negatives or lack of feedback – continue to believe in your passion. With patience and perseverance, you will eventually turn the ‘no’ into a ‘yes’ and gain respect and success. Remember, you are only as good as your last sale… always keep your brand fresh!

If I had five extra hours a day I would…split up my time by being with horses, riding my bike and hanging out with my grandchildren. 


I’ve always believed in taking my lived experiences and difficult challenges and have tried very hard to turn them into a positive experience.”


My greatest advice from a mentor was…unfortunately, I did not have a mentor. I’ve always believed in taking my lived experiences and difficult challenges and have tried very hard to turn them into a positive experience.

My biggest setback was…the time when 2 of my 3 sons developed type 1 diabetes. 

I overcame it by…starting the Diabetes Hope Foundation 21 years ago. I am proud that DHF has raised over $11 million to implement unique transition programs and initiatives that have impacted the lives of over 4,000 children and youth living with diabetes and their families across Canada. We recently released a charitable children’s book, Nothing Can Stop Me! Based on a true story, the book follows the story of a boy diagnosed with diabetes just days before a championship hockey game. All proceeds from the book will support the DHF Athletic Scholarship Fund for secondary students living with diabetes.

If I were to pick one thing that has helped me succeed, it would be… TO STAY FOCUSED! Focus on what’s important, capture the good times and moments, develop positives from the negatives, and if things don’t work out, take another shot.  Remember to stay positive – don’t get caught up with the many many NO’s; believe in yourself – and be sure you take time to enjoy a hobby to give you peace of mind and joyful self-fulfillment. 

I surprise people when I tell them…that I am the founder and chair of Diabetes Hope Foundation, which I started 21 years ago, and that I have been Vice President of Fluid Hose and Coupling Inc for 34 years. 

The future excites me because… Today I’m stronger because
I need to be, I’m smarter because of my mistakes, happier because of the sadness I’ve had to endure, and am now wiser because I learned so much.  I continue to reinvent my goals as I look to the future.

Meet Jayne McCaw, Founder of Jayne’s Cottages and 2019 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards Start-Up Award Winner



Jayne McCaw

Founder, Jayne’s Cottages

Winner, Start-Up Award, Central


Jayne took inspiration from her love of cottage living and enjoyment of curating unforgettable family vacations to create Jayne’s Cottages — a full-service, luxury Muskoka cottage rental and concierge company. Starting with just a handful of cottages in 2014, her business has seen rapid growth. Today, she has over 60 employees and they manage almost 200 of the finest properties in the region.


My first job ever was… working at Tim Hortons. 

I decided to be an entrepreneur because… I always felt that I could offer so much 

more if I had more freedom and authority to act on my own thoughts and impulses than I could as an employee for someone else. I always felt stifled and constrained and thought I could do a better job for both my employer and the customer if I had the ability to do so. That being said, for most of my career, I enjoyed working for others and learning from my mentors and eventually giving the experience and courage to pursue entrepreneurship. 

My proudest accomplishment is… how the company has grown less than 5 years to employ 70 people – 50 people who live year-round in Muskoka, 20 seasonal employees from outside the region. Also, we now have 10 year-round employees.

I surprise people when I tell them… that my business is only 5 years old as it is now a fixture in Muskoka and is a large employer in the area. 

My best advice to people starting up a business is… utilize all the resources available to small businesses (grants, small business funding, college entrepreneurship courses, local employment and government agencies to support small businesses, chamber of commerce etc). I was not aware, and don’t think other small businesses are aware of how beneficial these resources could be and they have been very helpful to get me where we are now. 

My best advice from a mentor was… to listen to others and plead for understanding. Work with your stakeholders so everyone understands all sides. 


“I stay inspired by the joy I get from my employees who now have a stable job with our business and we can provide a fulfilling future for them in their home community.”


My biggest setback was… losing great staff during the summer season as they quit to accept year-round positions. 

I overcame it by… hiring my best staff on a year-round basis and not laying them off after the summer season even though I did not really have the income to support year-round employment. I feel responsible for their livelihood in this community where there is little year-round employment. I know that they are very committed to my company just as I have shown my commitment to them. 

I stay inspired by… the joy I get from my employees who now have a stable job with our business and we can provide a fulfilling future for them in their home community and continue to add more employment opportunities as we grow. 

If I had one more hour in the day… I would spend it with my 4 children and partner. 

The future excites me because… I love what I do and what I have achieved and know I can continue to grow with the help of my new software platform and my network of global property managers. We have the formula now to help more guests with great vacation experiences and more owners with safe additional income and look forward to growing this formula into other markets. And most importantly the future is exciting as we continue to expand our home base of this travel/tech company in the Muskoka community as we grow outside of Muskoka while providing employment and economic growth through our business success to our region. 

My next step is… doing what I do in Ontario in other popular global travel destinations. With an over 50% repeat guest rate and guests repeatedly putting their faith in Jayne’s Cottages for very expensive vacations, I am now working through my network of property managers globally to connect with and entrust these property managers with my guests who can guarantee a great guest experience. This will be facilitated by the launch of my software that will allow new property managers to easily onboard and market their properties to anyone associated with Jayne’s Cottages such as a hotel with properties, property manager with properties, real estate company with properties or a single property owner. 



Meet Kiely MacLean, Founder of RJ MacLean and 2019 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards Start-Up Award Finalist


Kiely MacLean

Founder, RJ MacLean

Finalist, Start-Up Award, West


A new player in oil and gas, Kiely Maclean is the co-founder of RJ Maclean Tank Services. Her business is a three-year-old innovation company focused on challenging the status quo in the energy sector with unique automated technology — using robotics, instead of people, to clean tanks. She is a passionate advocate for innovation in business, the environment, and promoting women in the energy field.


My first job ever was… Paper route; delegated to younger siblings.

I decided to be an entrepreneur because… It’s not a decision, it’s innate. 

My proudest accomplishment is… Co-founding and growing RJ Maclean.

I surprise people when I tell them… My age.

My best advice to people starting up a business is… Have a clear vision, adapt but do not compromise.


“Have a clear vision, adapt but do not compromise.”


My best advice from a mentor was… ‘You can’t fail if you are always willing to get back up’.  

My biggest setback was… Access to capital.

I overcame it by… Perseverance, and finding the right business partners.

I stay inspired by… My team and our potential.

If I had one more hour in the day, I would… Walk the trails with my Husky.

The future excites me because… Extending RJ Maclean’s reach and innovation to other markets.

My next step is… Opportunity for international expansion of RJ Maclean!