Do you think women bring unique perspectives to the table?
Women don’t necessarily approach the pet industry differently from men, but I’ve noticed that in
an industry that has historically been dominated
by male leaders, new female leadership is infusing more of a desire for brands to give back, make
change and do good. WellPet has done this for a
number of years through our WellPet Foundation,
but my vision is to support our philanthropic roots
in a more visible and vocal way so that when pet
parents choose Wellness Natural Pet Food, they
know they’re buying a brand that cares and supports pets in need. I am also focused on our company culture, ensuring our people have a great work-life balance and have the ;e;ibility to give their
own time to community and pet welfare groups
that are dear to our hearts.
Does being a woman inform your business decisions or leadership style? If so, how?
I take pride in my management style being more
inclusive, which is intrinsic to my e;perience as a
mom, a pet parent and an overall good listener.
Inclusiveness has led us to some e;citing new initiatives at WellPet over the past few months. We
have a bi-monthly “Wellie huddle,” during which
my leadership team sits on bar stools in our lunch
room for about an hour as we share and also give
the entire organization an opportunity to ask questions. We also give our staff an opportunity to submit ideas and questions in a smaller, more private
forum. ;e have a te;t number where they can send
feedback anonymously. We’ve also started to look
for opportunities to bring people together, away
from their desks, to celebrate important events—
from the Patriots winning the Super Bowl and Red
So; opening games to National Take ;our ;og to
Work Day, which is a major party at WellPet.
What challenges and opportunities does the pet industry
present for women?
The pet industry is a great place for women to
grow and develop. It is still very much based on re-
lationships, which women have always been great
at fostering and growing. It’s also a very dynamic
industry with constant change, so for women who
enjoy variety, the industry offers something differ-
ent on a daily basis—we’re all constantly learning.
Despite many changes in shopping behaviors
within our social system, the majority of pet food
is still bought by women, so as women leading in
the industry, most of us already have an inherent
understanding of attitudes and behavior as it relates to our own four-legged family members. This
helps as you think about new products as well as
Lastly, as the pet industry becomes more focused on corporate social responsibility and giving back to the communities in which we work,
women are well positioned to make sure the organizations they choose to work are making this
What advice do you have for women who are just getting
started and aspire to be innovators and leaders in the pet
My advice would be to learn the category as
quickly as possible, understand brand positioning of your competitors and their pace of innovation. Second, know your customers—they are
all seeking brand partners that can deliver a level
playing field from a price standpoint and deliver innovation that pet parents won’t find in the
traditional grocery channel.
In addition to innovating, one must be prepared to look beyond pet food. As we treat our
pets more like children, the same health trends
we see in human food tend to have a ripple effect, and this position will help you discover
the best possible ingredients, sourcing and nutrition. Lastly, love what you do. If you don’t
wake up looking forward to going to work, then
you will be hard pressed to find inspiration and
innovation. ;ou will ultimately succeed at your
job if you’re truly passionate about what you are
“Women don’t necessarily approach the pet industry
di;erentl; ;rom men; ;;t ;;ve noticed that in an
ind;str; that has historicall; ;een dominated ;;
male leaders; ne; ;emale leadership is in;;sing more
o; a desire ;or ;rands to give ;ac;; ma;e change and
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