Pet Industry Leadership Summit to go Virtual for 2021

APPA Home / Events & News / Press Release
December 8, 2020

ABINGDON, MD (December 8, 2020) – Organizers of The Pet Industry Leadership Summit have announced that the 2021 event will be held virtually and—new this year—is open to the entire professional pet care community. Taking place January 25-26, The Digital Summit 2021 will bring together pet care community leaders to hear from and engage with thought leaders about the latest trends, critical business insights, the evolving state of the economy, current challenges and the future of the industry. The event is co-hosted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA), the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), and World Pet Association (WPA). 

In a joint statement, the presidents of APPA, PIDA, PIJAC and WPA said, “With health and safety top of mind for all attendees, speakers, and staff, we have decided to make the Pet Industry Leadership Summit a virtual event for 2021. We understand the importance of coming together to discuss the economic conditions affecting our industry, and our priority is to deliver a safe and successful meeting that will help the pet industry look forward and prepare for the future.” 

The Digital Summit 2021 has been thoughtfully designed to ensure that all attendees get the information and industry insights that they’ve come to expect at this annual event. Over two days, attendees will have access to critical data and keynote speakers that will help with their planning and decision-making for 2021 and beyond. The Digital Summit 2021 keynote sessions include:

  • Moving Forward and Out of 2020
    Brian Beaulieu, CEO and Chief Economist of ITR Economics
    January 25, 2021 

Brian Beaulieu returns to The Summit (virtual) stage to bring his keen insight and predictions for 2021 and beyond. The pet industry comes with a reasonable degree of protection from normal economics, but the pandemic and government responses overrode normal consumer trends. In this session, Beaulieu will explore changes that have occurred in the economy and what they mean for the markets. He will look at the trends and the economic health of the consumer to help inform strategies for moving forward. In these times of uncertainty, Beaulieu has the unique gift of combining his keen sense of humor with highly accurate insights into key economic indicators to help business prepare for the future.

  • Practical Decision Making for the New Normal
    Patrick McGinnis, Venture Capitalist, Coiner of the Terms FOMO & FOBO
    January 26, 2021

Patrick McGinnis coined the now ubiquitous term “FOMO” (fear of missing out) in a 2004 article in the student newspaper of Harvard Business School after his experience of witnessing the 9/11 attacks first-hand. This experience left him feeling suddenly awake to everything he had taken for granted about the abundance of experiences offered to us in “normal” life. Nearly 20 years later, everyone is once again adjusting to a new normal—a “new” normal—and entering the next phase of life, both professional and personal. In his talk, McGinnis will share his thoughts on the origins of the term FOMO and its parallels to the current experience of COVID-19, when we are all experiencing a sense of loss, fear, and anxiety—whether for ourselves or for our loved ones—about living in a world where our usual routines and external stimuli have been suddenly taken away from us and replaced with a new danger. 

Registration is now open. For additional information, including industry sessions and speaker bios, visit


About American Pet Products Association
The American Pet Products Association (APPA) is the leading trade association serving the interests of the pet products industry since 1958. APPA membership includes more than 1,300 pet product manufacturers, their representatives, importers and livestock suppliers representing both large corporations and growing business enterprises. APPA's mission is to promote, develop and advance pet ownership and the pet product industry and to provide the services necessary to help its members prosper. APPA is also proud to grow and support the industry through the following initiatives: Pets Add Life (PAL), Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) Pets and Vets program, the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), The Pet Leadership Council (PLC), the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), Bird Enjoyment and Advantage Koalition (BEAK), and the Pet Care Trust. Visit for more information.

 About Pet Industry Distributors Association
Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA) is the premier trade association representing the interests of pet product distributors since 1968. The mission of PIDA is to enhance the well-being of the wholesaler- distributor, to promote partnerships with their suppliers and customers and to work cooperatively with other organizations in fostering the human-companion animal bond. PIDA is also proud to grow and support the industry through the following initiatives: the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), The Pet Leadership Council (PLC), the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), Bird Enjoyment and Advantage Koalition (BEAK), and the Pet Care Trust. Visit for more information. 

About Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council
Founded in 1971, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) serves as the legislative and regulatory voice of the responsible pet care community, working to promote animal well-being and responsible pet ownership, foster environmental stewardship, and ensure the availability of healthy pets. PIJAC members include retailers, companion animal suppliers, manufacturers, wholesale distributors, manufacturers’ representatives, pet hobbyists, and other trade organizations. Visit for more information.

 About World Pet Association
Founded in 1950, World Pet Association (WPA) is the pet industry’s oldest nonprofit organization. WPA’s mission is to support the business needs of pet retailers and to promote responsible growth and development of the pet industry by providing thought leadership on consumer and legislative issues; lead efforts in the public sector to inform consumers and ensure safe, healthy lifestyles for all animals; and provide business resources, education, content and services to ensure pet product retailers have the support they need to be competitive. WPA coordinates industry-defining trade shows: SuperZoo, Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference and other popular annual events including: America’s Family Pet Expo, a consumer pet and pet product expo. Most recently, WPA has launched WPA365, a virtual pet community offering the opportunity for retailers and manufacturers to connect 365 days per year. Through WPA’s Good Works program, proceeds from these events are funneled back into key industry organizations and nonprofits with the goal of making it easier for pet industry professionals to do business. For more information about WPA, visit



Contact: Marci Hickey
443.640.1060 x104