View Other APPA Professional Women's Network Issues Print this Newsletter Send this Newsletter to a Friend  |  July 13, 2011

Greetings! We are proud to introduce the first edition of APPA’s new and exciting quarterly e-newsletter dedicated to enhancing the women in the pet industry. 

The APPA Professional Women’s Network’s (PWN) 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.

This newsletter is just one of the many ways PWN plans to keep everyone connected to information, education, networking opportunities, roundtable discussions and collaborations on subjects that can help women in our industry to strengthen their skills and grow their careers.

Each issue of this e-newsletter will feature a prominent, successful woman in the Pet industry. Our featured guests will share experiences, ideas, successes and reflections on the role of women in this business. You will also enjoy a variety of great industry-specific articles on trends, marketing, finance, networking and more!

It’s a great way to stay informed about upcoming happenings. For your convenience, we’ll always include links to relevant websites and social media sites to help you stay cyber-connected too. 

Thanks for taking time to check out our e-newsletter. We hope you enjoy this premier issue, and each and every one that follows it!

In the Spotlight: Diane Peterson

Interview with Diane Peterson

Upcoming Events

PWN co-hosts event at HH Backer Show

Sales and Marketing

“Build Tomorrow's Sales by Planning Today”

For Your Business

What Women in Business Need to Know

Contact us

Get in touch with us!

In the Spotlight: Diane Peterson:

Interview with Diane Peterson

Diane with Saxon and Olive  

Diane Peterson
Chief Sales and Marketing Officer
Mulligan Stew Pet Food
Jackson, WY USA

Board Member, APPA (the pet industry's leading trade organization)
Board Member, PAWS of Jackson Hole (a Wyoming animal non-profit)


How did you get started in the pet industry?
I've known Mulligan Stew's Developer, Kevin Meehan, for a number of years. As one of Jackson Hole's leading Holistic Practitioners, I am a believer in Kevin's approach to nutrition and biochemistry. Kevin spent many years developing the formula in Mulligan Stew and the end result produced a powerful healthy recovery product. 

I was hooked and knew I wanted to be a part of the company. My professional sales and marketing career has been rooted in products or services that I'm personally able to get behind. Mulligan Stew Pet Food presented a true opportunity for me to follow my passion and professional career path.

What did you do to make yourself stand out?
At Mulligan Stew, we took the more challenging route! Focusing on formula and education, rather than traditional food channel marketing/promotion resulted in branding Mulligan Stew uniquely among its competitors. This was not an easy path, particularly in the competitive pet food arena, and we've had our challenges. However it has proven to be the right choice for our company and brand.

Do you think there are challenges specific to women in the industry?
Women posses natural instinctive advantages-intuition and nurturing-both of which are key fundamentals for developing a successful business. I think the biggest challenge facing women is the ability to hone these advantages into business best practices.   

Additionally, many women (and men) under-utilize the educational, networking and capital resources available through industry trade organizations, such as APPA, where valuable industry insight is readily and consistently available. It can be the single most important resource a new business owner can employ. 

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I love my job and being a part of the pet industry, but getting home to my family is the best part of my day. When home, I want to be present by turning off my cell phone and email. This is a difficult task in the era of 24/7 connections and I am not always successful, but it is an important component in bringing balance into my life.

Additionally, I am a big proponent of local community service. I proudly sit on the Board for PAWS of Jackson Hole, an animal non-profit, and have done so for the last six years.  PAWS is a financial and educational resource with seven programs focusing on the support local domestic animals. It is a fulfilling and fun philanthropic endeavor.    

Did you have any role models who helped you get where you are today, specifically any women in the industry?
I do! One in particular has been helpful as an industry colleague. Specifically her recommendation that all business people put together a "kitchen cabinet"; a network of professionals who will provide you with objective and unbiased consult in any business situation. It is excellent, sound advice!   

What advice do you have for newcomers to the industry?
Become educated about and connected with your industry's competition, clients and colleagues. They are your most valuable resources on every level.

Mulligan Stew Pet Food Overview:

Mulligan Stew is an innovative, patent-pending formula with the benefits of detoxification, antioxidant production and optimal cellular health.  The company does not use synthetic vitamins, minerals or supplements, rather delivers these critical components from food sources first, and then utilizes plant-based or food-based supplements (the Mulligan Stew Formula) to insure compliance with AAFCO nutritional guidelines.


Upcoming Events:

PWN co-hosts event at HH Backer Show

Have More Fun and Get More Done
Saturday, October 16
8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Presented by Bob Negen

Ever feel like you work harder and harder every year but never seem to get ahead? Are you caught in that never-ending cycle of "spray and pray"--put out a fire and pray it doesn't flare up again? This thought provoking, lively session will show you how to prioritize your work and personal life and get your most important work done first. You'll also find out the reasons why most time management programs don't work. Don't let the pressure of running a business take the joy out of owning it--attend former independent retailer Bob Negen's personal development session to reduce your stress level and be more productive.

Sponsored by:



Sales and Marketing:

“Build Tomorrow's Sales by Planning Today”

From Selling Power Magazine, check out this article “Build Tomorrow's Sales by Planning Today”.

For Your Business:

What Women in Business Need to Know

Women are jumping in the entrepreneurial arena at record pace.  According to the Center for Women's Business Research, over the last ten years, women-owned businesses grew by 11 percent, more than 1 ½ times the rate of all privately held firms. These firms now number over 10 million and contribute nearly $2 trillion in revenues to the U.S. economy.

The interesting thing about a woman-owned business is our REASON for starting them: "We want to make a difference." Although we seek money, control, and autonomy, women cite the desire to make an impact or set a culture as the most pervasive reason for becoming an entrepreneur. This differs from what is perhaps man's primary focus of generating an income to provide for family.

With this significant difference in motivation comes major differences in the methodologies and philosophies of operating a business.  This became painfully obvious while interviewing dozens of men and women for my book "Do as I Say, Not as I Did:  Gaining Wisdom in Business through the Mistakes of Highly Successful People."  Fourteen of the 29 entrepreneurs profiled in my book are female, and the differences in their stories and experiences are profound.  As studies have shown that women are more relationship focused than our male counterparts, it is probably not surprising that our setbacks have almost universally resulted from being too trusting and naïve.  We put a high value on relationships so we don't always do thorough background checks and due diligence, especially if it involves a friend or family member.

But, because of our "higher-calling," our passion and persistence often overcome even the most tragic of adversities. From partners stealing huge amounts of money, to IRS woes, to lawsuits which meant sure bankruptcy, the amazing women in my book fought against huge odds and bounced back to become successful, productive, and profitable.  Lessons learned along the way have been profound, provocative, and life-changing.

Neither men nor women are exempted from the challenges of being an entrepreneur. While good ideas, hard work and even luck factor in to whether a business succeeds, I maintain that it is imperative that every entrepreneur - male or female - take the following tips to heart before taking the entrepreneurial plunge!

PARTNERS: One of the things about partners is that you will spend more time with them than a spouse.  Just like a marriage, everyone is giddy with joy and excitement going into the relationship - what could possibly go wrong?  While going into business with friends or relatives is very tempting, it sometimes leads to disaster. Just ask Dr Judith Briles.  Many years ago she went into partnership with a good friend - we'll call her Kerri - to build a hotel in California.  Unfortunately Kerri got caught up in the cocaine craze of the 80's.  To fund her habit, she doctored and forged invoices for bogus services to the tune of $450,000.

Neither the bank nor Judith were paying enough attention to the details.  Judith was suffering from the common "I'm so busy with other things and I'm sure everything is fine" syndrome that many business owners have.  Judith and Kerri both personally guaranteed the loan.  Kerri declared bankruptcy and stuck Judith with debts and litigation totaling more than $1million...which she eventually paid in full.

Her experience drove her back to school to earn her PhD with a special concentration on behavioral sciences.  She wanted to find out how she could have been so easily taken to the cleaners.  Her study on the subject led to one of her first books Do Women Undermine Women?

DUE DILIGENCE: Nothing takes the place of it.   Becoming an entrepreneur means learning to do doing ninety things at once - you're a multi-tasking fool. But you must delegate and outsource for growth to occur.  With that comes a responsibility to monitor and hold accountable the person you put in charge.  When that fails to happen, you might end up like Susan Jones Knape, owing the IRS hundreds of thousands in back taxes and penalties.  Susan is a beautiful, successful trailblazer --  an advertising executive who opened her own agency without knowing ANYTHING about finance or accounting. 

So she did what most smart people would do - she brought in an expert.  A CPA who had done similar financial management for other advertising agencies.  However, instead of learning something about finance so she could keep tabs on him, she turned the entire money side of the business over to "Mark" for the next two years. 

Oops!  With the potential acquisition of her agency just a few months away, Mark finally came clean.  The company had cash flow problems and he made the BRILLIANT decision to pay their media vendors instead of the IRS.  To the tune of $350,000.  Bad move. 

She immediately fired Mark and ended up working out a deal to get the IRS paid.

She had not checked Mark's references.  She just ASSUMED that because he had worked for other agencies he must be OK. She admits she was "just too busy for details like that (there's that syndrome again!).   Later she learned that Mark had a track record of financial fiascos at all those agencies that once so impressed her. Not spending that hour doing her homework cost her major bucks and tremendous heartache.  She was so moved by the repercussions of not knowing more about finances that she authored a book titled The Money Rule: 50 Ways Women Can Make More, Save More and Have More.  

OPTIONS:   They are NOT optional! Having options and choices in all areas of your life results in power, freedom, and peace. Mistakes happen when one is backed into a corner. Put your eggs in several baskets. That will result in maximizing your success and minimizing your stress.  I learned this the hard way when I contracted with an international manufacturer to make products for my former birdcage company, Avian Adventures.  He was the third one I had tried and I was relieved to finally find someone who could produce the quality and quantity of product I required.  Things were going so well that I didn't pay enough heed to my business associates warning to find a back-up supplier.  Two years into our relationship he got greedy and decided to sell my design to my much-larger competitor.  Not having a proven back-up supplier as an option cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars when I decided to stop buying from him. 

PASSION. Expertise about a business or industry doesn't mean you care about it. Women want their careers to give their life meaning.  It has been scientifically proven that having an emotional attachment to your business builds a stronger intellect, while drudgery actually weakens it. Being passionate about your business will allow you to persevere in ways you never thought possible.  If my business had been making paper clips instead of products for my passion in life, parrots, I would never have survived the ugly, nasty, and costly legal battle that my much larger competitor waged against me so he could put me out of business.

PLAY THE GAME of business and life with authenticity, persistence, and integrity. Sometimes you will score the goal-and sometimes you will get scored upon-but at least you are not sitting on the sidelines! You are on the field, playing your heart out, gaining experience, wisdom, and success.

# # #

 Carol Frank of Boulder, CO, is the founder of four companies in the pet industry. As a Managing Director at SDR Ventures Investment Bank, Carol leads the team in executing pet industry transactions including M&A, capital formation and strategic advisory services.  She is also the owner of BirdsEye Consulting, the consummate source for pet sector consulting expertise.

She can be reached at




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