In Good Company
The American Pet Product Association's Professional Women's Network (PWN) is reaching out to inspire and motivate more pet professionals than ever, reports Diane E. Peterson, chief sales and marketing officer at Mulligan Stew Pet Food and PWN chairwoman.
How did the APPA Professional Women’s Network get started, and what inspired its creation?
Diane Peterson: APPA’s Professional Women’s Network group was started in 2010. The inspiration for developing the group came from the ever-increasing presence of pet industry women executives, buyers, managers and entrepreneurs, and the common thread for a networking/resource venue.
We have an amazing steering committee of industry professionals who have guided the development and progress of the group. PWN is gaining momentum, and everyone feels supreme satisfaction in seeing that we are working towards making a difference within the industry.
What is the purpose of PWN? What does its membership hope to accomplish?
Peterson: Our mission is to attract and engage women in all aspects of the pet industry. Our purpose is to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, and to promote social and career development activities that can help you achieve greater success.
Simply put, we wish to help women in the pet industry through communication, networking, support and referrals to help grow their businesses.
What are some of PWN’s proudest accomplishments thus far?
Peterson: PWN has made great strides in connecting women throughout the pet industry. The discussions on our LinkedIn group page have enabled newcomers to find resources for their businesses, and have sparked great conversations about business strategies to employ in their own lives.
We also have a quarterly e-newsletter that is a great read. We feature spotlight articles, retailer highlights, sales and marketing articles, capital resources and non-profit/getting involved areas. Issues are emailed out in February, May, August and November to APPA’s database. And, past issues are archived on the APPA-PWN page.
How do PWN’s members see the network evolving over the next few years?
Peterson: We are developing new programs that will offer tools to help women get into business—particularly low-cost business loans—generated through a fundraising campaign. More to come on this project as it unfolds this year.
Is PWN doing anything special this year at Global?
Peterson: Well, yes! This year, our free breakfast networking event will present guest speaker, Victoria Stilwell, from Animal Planet’s popular TV show, It’s Me or the Dog. Victoria is a strong supporter of APPA and the PWN, and we are just thrilled to feature her vision and shared experiences for entrepreneurs. The event will be held on Friday, Feb. 22, at 7:30 a.m. in room W 209C of the convention center.
Who is welcome to join PWN, and how do you go about doing so?
Peterson: Everyone—men and women—are invited to join the conversation. There is no formal membership, and there are no costs.
To be added to PWN’s newsletter distribution list, email Marian Thielsen at firstname.lastname@example.org.