Tell us a little about yourself, your career and your current
I love animals. All animals. I grew up only allowed to
have goldfish. I met ;ayle ;artz, the founder of the
Sherpa ;ag in ;;;;, and she opened my eyes up to the
need for products for people who love their pets.
I have been involved in the pet industry since that
day when I met ;ayle in ;;;; while working for ;am-macher Schlemmer. The idea for ;ura Naturals ;et was
something I had been thinking about for a long time. ;y
dog, ;irlfriend, who passed away in ;;;;, was highly
allergic to so many products and food. I could never understand why there were so few options for the pets we
love to hold and snuggle with who were so helpless. I
too am highly allergic and love the fact that I can use our
products on myself. It ;ust reconfirms that I am a firm
believer in making sure we have the best options available to those who want a choice for their pet;s well;being.
As the president of ;ura Naturals ;et, my days are
diverse, and it;s my ;ob to know all the facets, but I also let
my team do their ;ob so I can focus on growing our busi-
ness. I do this through our product development, and by
building strong and supportive relationships with our
vendors and our customers. That;s why I;m accessible
to our customers and their customers. It;s not unusual
for me to answer the main line and see how we can best
support them. Customer support is everyone;s ;ob.
What makes working in the pet industry unique? What inspires you
most about working in this industry?
To work in this industry means you are passionate about
the love of animals. That is why I created this company.
;hen I was trying to find organic products and couldn;t
locate them anywhere, I set out to create products for
happier, healthier pets. I have found that this industry
has embraced the changing way people view their pets,
and it has led to dynamic growth. ;ore companies are
collaborating to bring the most unique and compelling
products to market. ;e are all about collaborating with
other progressive companies as well; for when we e;cel
as a whole, so do our pets, and that;s a win for everyone.
Do you think women bring unique perspectives to the table?
I think it;s more about the environment we choose to
work in. At ;ura Naturals ;et, it;s collaborative;every-one on the team, regardless of gender, has a voice. The
entire team knows our common goals, and we work
towards them together, every day, with focus, passion
and a good deal of humor.
;eing a woman in any industry requires us to make
intelligent decisions and create a positive environment
for all those who work around us. I have grown to bet-
ter understand that my emotional involvement in my
work has been both a blessing and a curse. I will always
be passionate about the work that I am doing, but as I
age, I realize that listening more and saying less has a
big impact on those around me. I love having a strong
team of men and women who are all working together
to create something very special. ;e have a mutual re-
spect for one another but feel confident enough to ques-
tion each other without feeling threatened.
What advice do you have for women who aspire to be innovators?
;e true to yourself and your vision. ;on;t ever compromise the truth, quality or your values. That is something
you will never regret. ;o what;s right so your customers see you have their best interest at heart. Study, read
the pubs, ;oin trade groups, look at the trends, but most
importantly, listen. ;ou can learn a lot ;ust by listening
to your customers, colleagues and mentors.
Beth Sommers, president of Pura Naturals Pet in Providence, R.I.
“I love having a strong team
Sommers with Girlfriend, her dog
of men and women who
are all working together
to create something