View Other APPA Professional Women's Network Issues Print this Newsletter Send this Newsletter to a Friend  |  November 14, 2012

Greetings! Here is the next edition of the APPA's Professional Women's Network quarterly e-newsletter.

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 everyone achieve greater success.

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

Manufacturer Spotlight: Heather Govea

Following your Passion

Retailer Spotlight: Olga Zabelinskaya

An Interview with the award-winning groomer and owner of Elite Pet Spa & Boutique

Upcoming Events

New Webcast! Thursday, November 15, 2012

Save the Date for a Special Networking Event at Global Pet Expo 2013!

Sales & Marketing

For Your Business

Keeping Employees Motivated in Tight Times

Getting Involved

Pets Add Life (PAL) Children's Pet Poetry Contest

Manufacturer Spotlight: Heather Govea:

Following your Passion

Contributed by:
Heather Govea
Senior VP
Natural Balance Pet Foods

A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” – John Maxwell, Author and Speaker

Passion is difficult to quantify, but it undeniably lives within each of us. It is the distinguishing difference between what makes you good and what makes you great. For me, it has always been animals and the joy they bring. After rescuing a sick kitten at the age of 7, (much to my parents surprise), I knew early on that pets were my passion. Smitten at a young age, I knew what my life’s calling was, deciding that the best way to harness my energy was to become a Veterinarian. Upon completing my Bachelors Degree, I faced the ultra competitive world of post-grad veterinary school and met the harsh reality of less than 2% gaining admission into our state school, with worse odds out of state. After two years of applying, I had to accept the reality of a passion with no outlet. I made a conscious choice stay in the pet industry in one form or another, because I knew my passion would not be complete unless I had somewhere to funnel it.

Passion will never limit you. In my story, it has paid off time and time again. It paid off as I worked in the pet distribution channel, eventually transitioning into what was a small company named Natural Balance Pet Food in 2001. With the privilege of partnering with retailers, we worked at bettering pets’ lives through better nutrition. That same passion took me from an entry-level sales person, to the Director of the West Coast, to twelve years later in my current role as Senior Vice-President of two divisions, Independent Sales and Corporate Marketing. The key factor with every promotion and new level of responsibility lies in the passion I have approached it with. There are other smarter, more talented people than me. But the key to my success has always lied in the passion that I have for pets, the love I have for Natural Balance Pet Food and the lengths I will go to better pets and retailers’ lives by being a part of an honest, transparent company that produces solutions with results.

I encourage you to examine where your passion lies – in each of us lies something that ignites us like gas to a flame. Especially as women, we are confronted with a world where we must constantly juggle priorities. Each day there are tasks and projects that drive us to do more, families pulling us every which way, and it is easy lose touch with what fulfills us. Don’t forget to bring yourself back to the place where you identify and feed your passion. It is that very thing within you that drives you to get up every morning and do better. Harnessing your passion is the very thing that will fulfill you, drive you and keep you content. If you are in a position where your passion is not met, find a way to get back to it. Make your passion a priority, trust me you will never regret it.


Retailer Spotlight: Olga Zabelinskaya:

An Interview with the award-winning groomer and owner of Elite Pet Spa & Boutique

How did you get started in the pet industry/What motivated you to open your pet business?
I always shared my life with animals and when I came to the US from Russia, it wasn't a question of what to do. I met a few breeders with amazing dogs and cats and started to learn how to style their pets. I loved to watch dog shows and was curious how dogs can look so beautiful. Then I got a grooming magazine with competition pictures and DVDs. After a few days of watching it I decided to groom dogs like my grooming idols do.

I worked as a groomer in three different local grooming shops in the beginning and I did not like how they operated their businesses. Dogs were there for the whole day without breaks, barking and howling in cages, grooming wasn’t done to perfection, owners wanted me to shave most dogs instead of doing proper grooming, etc. So in 2004, I decided to open my own salon with real spa services and a boutique for pets.

What do you do to make yourself and your business stand out?
I always do proper grooming for dogs. I offer hand stripping, scissoring, show grooming and “spa” packages. I hire the best groomers around and always listen to customers. Our staff is very well-educated in all aspects of grooming and nutrition.

Our boutique is unique. We sell natural treats, grooming products and hand-made dog clothes. Most of our products are made in the USA.

I also own “Elite PAWtique” dog designer studio where I design and made my own line of formal and every day pet apparel.

Do you think there are challenges specific to women business owners?
I am from Russia, a country where women traditionally weren’t involved in business and men ruled. And the pet industry wasn't even a business at all until the late 90s. So, I tend to prefer women owned and operated businesses. I think they are more real and welcoming.

Where do you see yourself and your business in the future?
I have a dream to open my pet studio/boutique/grooming spa in NYC where I can provide royal services at affordable prices. I also want to have an "emergency" mobile grooming salon to be able to help shelter and rescue animals after disasters like hurricane Sandy in NY and NJ.

What advice do you have for newcomers to the industry?
Be confident. Be strong. Learn, learn, learn before you open your business and especially after you open your business. Go to as many educational seminars as you can afford to attend. Ask for help. People are more friendly and helpful than you think. Be patient. Be helpful. Be successful. Good luck.

Olga is a Nationally and Internationally Certified Master Groomer. She has groomed competitively throughout the U.S. since 2003 and has multiple "Best in Show" and "Best All-Around Groomer" wins as well as 2 prestigious "Winners Circle Champion" titles. Olga was born in Russia where she had a Master Degree in Engineering and finished law school. After her family moved to the U.S. Olga found a job in a grooming business. In 5 years, starting as a self taught newbie she became a Groom Team USA member in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Olga owns and operates two grooming salons in New Jersey, "Elite pet Spa & Boutique" and "Grooming Gallery". Her grooming experience includes styling dogs for prestigious Westminster and Eucanuba dog shows and celebrity customers.


Upcoming Events:

New Webcast! Thursday, November 15, 2012

Creative Compensation – How to Motivate, Retain and Attract Employees Even If You Have Limited Financial Resources

Sponsored by The APPA Professional Women’s Network

Date: November 15

Time: 2:00 PM ET/11:00 AM PT

Presented by: Bryan Williamson, Compensation Consultant

Moderated by: Carol Frank, Managing Director, SDR Ventures

Are you looking for ways to reward your employees that goes beyond basic salary and bonus? Especially in these tough economic times, it is more important than ever to look for new ways to keep employees happy, motivated, and engaged.

By participating in this relevant and empowering webcast you will learn:

  • Why you should consider using creative compensation
  • How to encourage your employees to do more with little or no extra money
  • Why some popular ways to reward employees are de-motivating
  • How to make your workplace more fun and engaging

Click here to register today!


Save the Date for a Special Networking Event at Global Pet Expo 2013!

Please join us for a very special networking event on Friday morning, February 22 at Global Pet Expo 2013. You will enjoy a complimentary full breakfast and presentation from a surprise guest speaker, BEFORE the Show. Stay tuned for more exciting details!


Sales & Marketing:

Whether you are looking for information on dealing with an angry customer or training a new sales rep, visit the Selling Power website for easy to read articles to help you with your challenges in sales.


For Your Business:

Keeping Employees Motivated in Tight Times

Are you finding it difficult to keep your employees motivated?  Do you feel that your people’s morale has been reaching new lows?  If so, you’re not alone.  Amongst the many challenges of a tough economy, most managers find one of the hardest is keeping their employees motivated and spirits up.  While this can always be difficult, it is especially true with revenues down, tighter budgets and everyone having to do more with less.  Often managers are working with a smaller staff because minimizing costs has resulted in a reduction in force or not filling openings when people leave.  So it is even more important in these times to keep your employees recognized, motivated and engaged. 

But there are many ways that managers can keep their people motivated that don’t involve simply handing out more cash.  Some require making a sizeable investment of time and money and can be quite sophisticated.  Other methods are very economical, more fundamental and are still very effective, providing great value.  One thing that became very evident during my 20 years managing employees – they are all motivated by different things. Then there’s the fact that while some motivational practices can be very effective, there are many that can actually demotivate employees. 

APPA’s November 15th  webcast “Creative Compensation” will present the top ways to positively motivate your employees with little or no money.  It will explain what the most important ingredient is in motivating your employees.  It will teach the key considerations in creating effective ways to motivate your employees.  It will go through the details of nine different methods to motivate your people and lift their spirits.  The webcast will also provide an opportunity for participants to ask questions of the presenter, Bryan Williamson, a seasoned compensation professional. 

Join us on November 15th, 2:00 PM EST for APPA’s webcast on Creative Compensation for an interesting and enlightening discussion that will help you get more out of your employees and get more for your employees, all without barely touching the bank.

# # #

Bryan Williamson is a compensation consultant with over twenty years of experience creating innovative all-employee compensation solutions.  He been a consultant for Mercer Human Resources Consulting, Towers Watson as well as several other firms.  He has worked on creative compensation solutions for Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Center for Disease Control, Compaq, Houston Independent School District, McNeil Labs, Salomon Brothers and USAA Federal Savings Bank, among others. Bryan can be reached at 


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

Getting Involved:

Pets Add Life (PAL) Children's Pet Poetry Contest

Enter your child in the 5th Annual Pets Add Life Children's Pet Poetry Contest!

Kids in grades 3rd – 8th can write a poem about their favorite pet and win prizes.  For more details please visit  Deadline for all entries is Thursday, January 31, 2013.

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