Finalists & Category Winners for the
Pet Industry Woman of the Year Award
Congratulations to Gila Kurtz, Co-Founder of Dog is Good
who has been selected as the
2017 PET INDUSTRY WOMAN OF THE YEAR
Women in the Pet Industry’s Leadership Conference & Award show September 26, 2017
The winners of the following categories:
Advocate Marci Koski
Corporate Gila Kurtz
Entrepreneur Candace D’agnolo
Rising Star Rebecca Breese
Solopreneur Mona Straub
Scroll down to view all of our amazing 2017 finalists!
Ann Marie Hoff, Animal Communicator
Ann has a double undergraduate degree in Animal Science and Studio Art from University of Wisconsin – Platteville, and a Masters of Animal Science from the University of Arizona. Before becoming a medium she was a pharmaceutical rep specializing in launching new medical compounds. Ann has a third degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and ran a dojo with a partner for 14 years. She owns and shows paint horses, has two-reserve world championship, numerous state championships and top ten world placings. Ann enjoys movies, is a serious reader, and loves to dance. She currently has 2 cats, 2 dogs and three horses, all of which live with her.
Barbara Zawlocki, Lick Magazine
There is a place that speaks to our common passion and love for animals. We decided it was time to act and together launch a unique 21st century multi-media publication that centers on man’s best friend. In this new era of reinvention and creativity, the time to live our passion is now.
Lick Magazine is a Mulimedia Pet Entertainment Platform whose Mission centers on Love, Respect and Compassion for All Animals including the Human Animal. We seek to Inspire, Educate and Entertain.
Beth Miller, Wagtown
A Wagtown™ community is a place where residents and visitors recognize and enjoy the many benefits and opportunities of responsible dog-friendliness. These communities are vibrant, stronger, and better connected. Wagtown destinations attract people, spur economic growth, and foster loyalty. A Wagtown zone contributes to the core vitality of livable communities across the United States.
Dorothy Wills-Raftery, FiveSibes
Welcome to the FiveSibes™ page! Here we are the virtual “dog park,” where Siberian Husky and other pet owners can gather to share “in a day in the life of” our sweet Sibes, as well as sharing info, news, reviews, photos, and videos on Siberian Huskies and all things canine. Admin comes from a professional photojournalism background, raised dogs and horses for more 40 years, and a former equine instructor. Inspired by her own journey with her beloved Epi-dog, Gibson, Dorothy is a Canine Epilepsy Awareness advocate and formed the FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong campaign to help support and inform others about how dogs with Canine Epilepsy can live full, happy lives, and to help raise funding for Canine Epilepsy organizations.
Marci Koski, Feline Behavior Solutions
Feline Behavior Solutions provides services that result in happy, healthy relationships between cats and their people. I consult with clients via in-home visits (generally SW Washington and the Portland area) or scheduled phone/Skype conversations (available nation-wide), if appropriate. I have a number of types of consultations including 1) resolving cat behavior issues, 2) a “paws-on” training session with cats and their people, and 3) a home evaluation to ensure that your cat is happy and healthy, and to prevent behavior issues from starting as the result of common mistakes. These consultations come with customized plans and follow-up support.
Gila Kurtz, Dog is Good
Dog is Good is a dog lifestyle company creating products for the HUMANS in a dog’s life. Our mission is to deliver Dogvergnugen daily- “Dogvergnugen” is the unique joy you feel in the presence of Dog. We do this with our award winning, original designs that appear on apparel, gifts, greeting cards, and home decor, all inspired by Dog. The success of the Dog Is Good brand lies in our ability to elicit an emotional response from dog owners/lovers. Sweet and sentimental, undeniably adorable, solemn and serious, clever and hilarious – Dog is Good captures what it’s really like to share life with Dog.
Kate Jones, Platinum Pets USA
Kate Jones’ desire to help pet owners give their furry friends the fullest life experience possible drives her and her team at Platinum Pets. Jones taps into her 30 years of management and marketing experience as a business owner to design bowls, diners, the Pawsitively Safe Pet Finder Tag and accessories so that our pets live safe, healthy and joyful lives.
Peggy Hoyt, PetWill
I am the founding partner of The Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan and co-founder and Chief Legal Advisor to PetWill (MyPetWill.com). I love helping people plan for their pets. I’m committed to saving the 500,000 or more pets that are euthanized annually because their pet parents didn’t have a plan for what would happen if something happened to them. I am the author of All My Children Wear Fur Coats – How to Leave a Legacy for Your Pet and I host a weekly radio show on NaturesChannel.fm. MyPetWill.com, is a revolutionary pet trust program that is changing the way America plans for its beloved pets.
Penny Johnson, Sturdi Products
turdi Products, Inc. has gained an international reputation for designing unique, attractive, durable and adaptable products that reflect the needs of customers who travel with cats and small dogs. Sturdi Products Founder & CEO Richard van Engers’ first product was his patented Flexible Height SturdiBag™ pet carrier SturdiBag continues to set the standard for safe, soft-sided, airline in-cabin pet containment.
Sturdi now offers over 40 unique, top quality and innovative pet products. Products are developed with a focus on pet travel, emergency preparedness planning and pet show exhibition.
Stacy Pursell, The Pursell Group & The Vet Recruiter
From The Vet Recruiter website: “The VET Recruiter ® is a premier direct hire executive search and recruitment firm based in the United States. We specialize in executive search and recruiting in the Animal Health, Animal Nutrition, Veterinary, Pet Products, and Agriculture Industries.”
Ashley Carestia, Bark Fifth Avenue
Bark Fifth Avenue is a must shopping experience for the dog with an elite and sophisticated taste in fashion. We sell exclusive designer dog clothing and high-end accessories. We started with a strong passion for fashion and of course, passion for dogs! Walking runways and dressing up animals is something owner Atlanta fashion model Ashley Carestia has been doing since childhood. “I love fashion and I love Chihuahuas, so why not have the best of both worlds?” Thus, Bark Fifth Avenue was created. We provide both an online location and retail boutique in Buckhead where upscale pet owners can treat their four-legged family members to only the best in fashion, travel, and accessories. Whether it’s that extra special outfit for a dressy occasion or an everyday polo, Bark Fifth Avenue has it.
Candace D’Agnolo, Pet Boss Nation
Welcome to PET BOSS NATION! The definition of a “PET BOSS” is any individual who is a leader, a mover + shaker, or the “TOP DOG” at any pet business! My name is Candace and I started Pet Boss Nation because I know the value that support and coaching can provide to a business. In my own company, Dogaholics, I took my initial concept of a brick and mortar location and turned it into multiple revenue streams – up to three locations, offered services (as in dog walking, doggy daycare, grooming), online informational products, books, merchandise, and now pet business consulting. I’ve employed over 150 people, led a team as large as 30 and still run a successful 7-figure business.
Deborah Turner, Federation of Insured Dog Owners, Inc.
I founded Dean Insurance in 1994 in Central Florida. I have a unique perspective since I have a Bachelor’s Degree from FSU in Insurance, a Certified Property and Casualty Designation, (CPCU), company experience and brokerage experience. I began a research project for the CPCU Society in 2005 after I became fascinated by canine behavior and realized that as a whole the industry does not understand how to underwrite the canine liability exposure. In 2010 it was mentioned that instead of a paper this should be a product, as of February 2015 it is available in all states but Alaska.
Jodi Clock, Clocks Timeless Pets
It’s my belief that if a pet’s pet parent dies, their life should not end nor should they go to a kill-shelter. When I’m not working actively within pet death care, I’m advocating for pet parents to establish a pet trust or pet protection agreement to care for any pets they may leave behind when death occurs. Other things that “make my tail wag” is spending time with my grandsons, walking the beach on Western Michigan’s shoreline and traveling across the country to attend a Bruce Springsteen concert!
Robin Brogdon, BluePrints Veterinary Marketing Group
BluePrints Veterinary Marketing Group is a full-service marketing and communications agency devoted to serving specialty, referral, and emergency veterinary practices, as well as businesses that serve the animal health industry. With in-house referral practice experience, the team at BluePrints has the depth of expertise and talent uniquely qualified to serve all segments of the animal health care market.
Rising Star Finalists
Aimee Jurenka, Darwin’s Natural Pet Products
Darwin’s Natural Pet Food is made with 100% natural free-range meats and organic vegetables, formulated with the guidance of veterinarians and animal nutritionists. Each week, we prepare fresh raw meals in our own kitchen and deliver them to customers across the United States. Our mission is to help pets and their owners enjoy more years of healthy companionship by making and delivering nutritious, all natural pet food.
Beth Stultz, Pet Sitters International
Beth Stultz is the Director of Marketing, Communications & Education at Pet Sitters International (PSI). She is also the spokesperson for Take Your Dog To Work Day®. PSI is the world’s leading educational association for professional pet sitters and provides its members access to affordable bonding and liability insurance and educational and business tools including a comprehensive Certificate Program, Pet Sitter’s WORLD magazine and the annual Pet Sitter World Educational Conference & Expo. PSI is also the creator (and trademark owner) of Take Your Dog To Work Day® (www.takeyourdog.com).
Carrie Ann Feinberg, Safe Haven Advocate Pet Care
Safe Haven Advocate Pet Care is based around staying at clients’ homes for their pets care, not vice versa. It’s best to keep pets in an environment where they are familiar, comfortable and feel safe. The goal is to take as much anxiety away from pets as possible as their owners are away. We also provide dog walking and medication drop by the house type services for clients who have busy lifestyles, crazy work hours, and an uncertainty in the ability of medication administration on their own. Clients have found that coming to their homes for subcutaneous fluid administration is much less stressful on their pets and much more convenient than having to bring their pets to the vet multiple times a week.
Rebecca Breese, PetHub
Rebecca Breese is the Assistant Director of Municipality Programs for PetHub. She is also the proud mom to rescue dogs Pepper and Maple and cat Sylive. Rebecca has been in the active in the pet industry for last four years, including being a finalist in the Women in the Pet Industry “Rising Star” category. Today she works with municipalities in improving their dog registration programs to help get pets home faster.
Tracy Krulik, iSpeakDog
A certified dog trainer and behavior consultant, Tracy Krulik is an honors graduate of the prestigious Academy for Dog Trainers under the mentorship of Jean Donaldson. Tracy is the founder and managing editor of iSpeakDog, a website and public awareness campaign to promote dog body language and behavior education, and she writes for publications including The Washington Post, The Bark magazine, and the APDT Chronicle of the Dog. Having spent the last three years helping her pup, Emma the Beagle, overcome many fears and anxieties, Tracy is currently studying with Malena DeMartini—the world’s leading expert on separation anxiety—to specialize in treating that disorder. Though Emma had to endure a rough start to her life as a puppy-mill mama, Tracy is so grateful to Ems for showing her that dogs have feelings too and for putting her on the path to help scared pups find confidence and joy.
Amy Shojai, Amy Shojai Consulting
Amy Shojai is a nationally known authority on pet care and behavior, a certified animal behavior consultant, a spokesperson for the pet products industry, and the author of 30 nonfiction pet books. She also writes THRILLERS WITH BITE! which includes the dog-viewpoint thrillers LOST AND FOUND, HIDE AND SEEK and SHOW AND TELL.Amy addresses a wide range of fun-to-serious issues in her work, covering dog and cat training, behavior, natural and allopathic health care, nutrition, first aid, aging pets, “the bond” and cutting-edge medical topics. In her nonfiction books, she empowers pet lovers by providing the information they need to make informed decisions for their cats and dogs. She specializes in translating “medicalese” into easily understood jargon-free language, making it accessible to all pet lovers.
Beke Lubeach, Dog Bone Marketing Solutions
Beke Lubeach is an accomplished business professional in many ways. Having left a very successful 20-year career in the professional sports industry in 2011, she started her own marketing services consulting business, Dog Bone Marketing Solutions, dedicated to helping pet product and service companies reach their customers. During the launch of DOGTV, Beke developed numerous cause marketing programs and 3rd party partnership to create awareness for the channel. Most significantly, she was able to provide the channel to the Escondido Humane Society/San Diego Humane Society where they saw a marked difference in the anxiety of dogs that had been living in the shelter for long periods of time.
Kelly Ison, Einstein Pets
Founder of the company, Kelly draws on more than 25 years of experience in business transformation and development as Chief Executive Officer of Einstein Pets. Kelly’s enthusiasm for Einstein Pets is contagious among the pet industry. Her passion is the hallmark of her tenure at the company, which she joined in 2015. Daily she guides Einstein Pets to be a company with a conscience, focused on delivering happiness by feeding the world dogs great, hand-crafted natural treats, while also making a positive difference in a dog’s lives. Kelly is a driven entrepreneur, having previously held global leader positions in business transformation for companies, managing over million in improvements for restaurants and retail, legal, sales and service businesses. Einstein Pets – understands the unconditional love our pets give us. The truth is a healthy pet makes your life better too.
Leanna Gautney, Country Critter Pet Sitters
CCPS (Country Critters Pet Sitters), was founded by Leanna Gautney in 2004. As residents in the PNW for over 40 years, with farm and military affiliation, we have collectively gained over 30 years experience in domestic and farm animal care. Years of training and life with animals have taught us pet behavior, instinct, animal needs, and expectations. We also have a deep understanding of the added care necessary when working with farm and domestic animals. CCPS strives to provide top notch quality pet care services in your home. Providing professional, compassionate and responsible pet care while you’re away; great customer support and prices that can’t be beat!
Mona Straub, Just Fur Fun
Mona Straub is the founder, designer and brains behind Just Fur Fun®. After an extensive career in sales and marketing for Fortune 500 companies, Ms. Straub switched gears and redirected her life to another path; one that would fulfill her love of animals and utilize her business savvy. Always looking for ways to express herself where just jewelry alone wouldn’t do, she came up with the idea to dress-up her dogs, cats and horses in something different, yet elegant, that would be an expression of her…and Just Fur Fun® was born! As a female business owner, Mona has an interest in helping other women in business and sharing her knowledge and experience. She is inspired by successful women and would like to be an inspiration to other women seeking to develop their careers and build their businesses.