Imagine for a moment an almost surreal gathering of approximately 200 of the most powerful, innovative, business savvy, yet selfless women under one roof!!!
For the 2nd year in a row, I attended the annual Women In The Pet Industry conference and shared in the love and support offered by all of my “sisters” from across the country. These phenomenal individuals are under the mantle of an exploding organization led by the energetic business woman, Shawna Schuh.
Shawna’s many hats include those of a business coach, public speaker, author, and much more. A few years ago she took over the fledgling group and began traveling to large pet expos to personally tell women in the pet field that they needed to belong to this amazing legion of supportive females. She has enlisted the best and brightest in her unstoppable manner and has put together a shockingly impressive membership roster.
What Is The Women In The Pet Industry Network?
The WIPIN family spans every avenue of the industry niche. It consists of business owners and associates from pet boutiques to pet bloggers. Also included are public relations experts, tech support, lawyers, inventors, pet food suppliers, just to name a few.
Standing out in the group are women who donate their energies advocating for rescue dogs. Virginia Hamilton, a school teacher from Florida, founded a service organization called Canine Commandos which involves gifted students from more than ten different schools training shelter dogs to find them forever homes.
Lorien Clemmens, who was voted the 2014 Woman of The Year, markets a state of the art digital pet tag through PetHub that anyone can scan with their smart phone to reveal contact information and get the animal returned to its owner quickly bypassing the shelters.
Amy Cox is an extraordinary woman who has devoted her life to a number of ventures including affordable mobile veterinary clinics featuring cutting edge technology with the help of her husband who is a vet, building the first veterinary clinics in PETCO stores, and in her free time she is driving to central Mexico where she is a board member of the local equivalent of the SPCA. She is rescuing homeless dogs that she has found forever homes for in the US and Canada. She calls this endeavor, The Paws Cause. How amazing is she?!
Last year I met Patricia Jones in a breakout meeting. I later learned that she had been Tom Brokaw’s producer for the NBC Nightly News but left the position to starts Paws PR, a PR company just for pet businesses. Wow!
The Power Of Networking
Personally, I have been so humbled by this alliance with so many unbelievable women! Last year I met a very successful business owner named Shannon Heggem. She encouraged me to abandon 50% of my work and income that had been draining so much of my energies. I’ll never forget her saying, “And….don’t worry about the money you are not going to make”. I went home that weekend and made a dramatic shift, eliminating the portion of my operation that had been exhausting me. From that point forward, I have been freed up to expand my horizons and even become involved volunteering to train dogs for disabled servicemen for Paws Assisting Veterans. When I saw Shannon a few days ago I was so excited to tell her what I was doing. She said, “Now you are getting paid in a different way”. So true!
The most powerful element of this sorority, however, is not just the caliber of women it attracts but the camaraderie and networking that it fosters. Each and every member truly loves and supports every other with genuine concern and enthusiasm as we continue to connect until we meet again!!!
Do you have a wonderful network of friends and mentors that inspires you?