The pet industry is strong, and due in large part, we can thank women for that. Whether it because they’re making the purchase decisions at home, inventing products to solve a problem, putting on trade shows or running a company, women bolster the pet industry. To recognize the impact women have on the pet industry, Pet Age presents its fourth annual Women of Influence Awards, honoring the women leaders who are influential in the pet manufacturing or servicing
Of course, making your way to a position of leadership within a company or starting your own business can be difficult. And, as the stats show, even more so for women because of the gender barriers in place—in fact, many women on this list brought up the pressure to “have it all” and the difficulties of balancing a work and family life. But as former Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm reminded women, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” It seems as though Pet Age’s 2018 Women of Influence winners certainly had their folding chairs ready. And so whether they had a seat or had to make their own, these women made it to the decision-making roles in their companies. And because of their continued passion, drive, dedication, commitment and impact to the pet industry over the years, we honor these 44 women leaders.
Many women on this list got their start because of their passion for animals. Unfenced Animal Health President Karen Padgett grew up on a farm and couldn’t imagine life without pets; Health Extension Operations Manager Liz Page would bring injured or sick animals home and nurse them back to health as she grew up. For some, there was a defining event that gave them their start in the industry. Karen Neola, CEO of My Perfect Pet Inc, started her frozen pet food company after losing her dog to contaminated pet food in 2007.
No matter the reason behind the pet industry career, a common trend in these women’s answers was that a fellow women had been their role model. International Boarding & Pet Services Association founder and CEO Carmen Rustenbeck, Pura Naturals Pet VP of Sales and Marketing Julie Creed and many others cited their mothers as being their biggest influences and supporters. Several others pointed to celebrity female business pioneers as their role models. Several winners mentioned Oprah Winfrey as a source of inspiration while Kerrie Fitzgerald, owner and founder of The Dapper Dog Box LLC, listed Birchbox CEO Katia Beauchamp as the person to whom she looks up. Many were fortunate enough to have women to look to for guidance, and many winners want to be that for the next generation of women leaders. Marian Thielsen, associate vice president of Sales and Marketing for American Pet Products Association (APPA) started the APPA Professional Women’s Network, which has more than 800 members. Lorraine Moore, owner and CEO of Avian Fashions, hires women who are looking to get back in the workforce after having children as well as teenage girls who are hoping to gain work experience. So it looks like women’s influence on the pet industry’s success is not slowing down anytime soon.
Continue reading here: https://www.petage.com/2018-women-of-influence-winners/