View Other APPA Professional Women's Network Issues Print this Newsletter Send this Newsletter to a Friend  |  September 24, 2014

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Professional Women Network Spotlight

Deb Wilson, Merchandise Manager of Pet Food Express

Sales & Marketing

Exploring Your Prospect's Secret Mind

For Your Business

How to command a virtual meeting room

Getting Involved

Pets in the Classroom

Professional Women Network Spotlight:

Deb Wilson, Merchandise Manager of Pet Food Express

Deb Wilson

Jamie Idzi of Yuppy Puppy

Deb Wilson sits down with APPA to talk about how she got started in the pet industry, what her challenges are, and where she sees herself in the future.

How did you get started in the pet industry?

I actually started out in retail and moved into distribution and sales in 1987 as the first person hired at then startup Animal Supply Co. Then I moved to a sales management job at a pet food manufacturer (Nutro) and then back to distribution (Animal Supply Co.). Next I moved to a manufacturer (FURminator) and then back to retail (Pet Food Express).

How did your previous experience help you get where you are today?

I think it helped immensely as I have had experience at all levels of the supply chain and fully understand the operational side from all three facets – retail, distribution and manufacturing. .

Do you think there are challenges specific to female business owners?

Yes, the pet industry like many other industries is male-dominated, but there are some great examples of women in leadership roles in the pet industry – Marie Moody – Stella & Chewys, Bobbi Panter – Bobbi Panter Shampoos, Rebecca Rose – In Clover to name a few. I think that all women in business need to work together, help support one another and encourage each other to reach our goals. .

Where do you see yourself and your business in the future?

As a lifelong pet industry member, I enjoy my current role and appreciate the people that I have the opportunity to work with. I am fulfilled knowing that I am making a difference. I am a passionate person, and as long as I am able to channel my passion into something that is productive and that I like doing, I will stay actively involved.

What advice do you have for newcomers to the industry?

There are many industry veterans who can provide a wealth of knowledge. Listen, ask lots of questions, and be open minded. Build a network of respected industry professionals – they can be the key to opening many doors. Find a mentor and make yourself available.


Sales & Marketing:

Exploring Your Prospect's Secret Mind

The best sales professionals are highly skilled at delving into their prospect's mind. By listening, asking questions, and researching well, these pros find out a variety of personal and professional information and use it to engage prospects in informed, intelligent, and highly persuasive conversations.

Click here to learn how social media can tell sellers quite a bit about their prospects, both personally and professionally.


For Your Business:

How to command a virtual meeting room

Face-to-face meetings are becoming the exception instead of the rule as sales teams and clients are spread throughout the U.S., and modern day tools make it simple to communicate virtually. While I believe that in person meetings are ideal, increasingly we are communicating – and leading – online. Knowing how to captivate and communicate to your virtual audience is an essential skill, yet I’m not aware of a “Virtual Communication 101” class available. If there was, I sure wish I had taken it! So how do you become the person worth listening to?


An attractive, professional photograph can make an incredibly strong impression. But to give yourself some character and personality, I also recommend a lifestyle photo or two of you being both human AND accomplished– perhaps crossing the finish line of a marathon.


People who use social media in the best way have a point of view. Are you passionate about reducing the number of homeless dogs and cats? If the story of who you are is clear, then your tweets, posts, and updates will be connected.


Because you aren’t in the same room as your audience, you can seem removed and difficult to connect with. Especially if your subject is dry, being engaged and chatty will give you the human component you need to keep the listener engaged.


Speak in shorter chunks than you normally do and check in more often. I am fortunate to get to moderate several webcasts each year for APPA, and I find it critical to keep the conversation lively and flowing between the presenter and me. No one wants to sit and listen to one person drone on for an hour. If your call is interactive, ask your listeners if they have any questions before moving ahead to the next subject.


Have you Googled yourself lately to make sure nothing negative comes up? I just did and discovered that there’s another Carol Frank who directed a movie called “Sorority House Massacre”! If something negative does come up, publish photos of yourself, thoroughly fill out your LinkedIn profile, and write some blog posts. That will push the negative stuff about you down the search engine results list.

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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 in the Classroom

We know that classroom pets enhance the learning environment, help kids be more empathetic toward animals and each other, and provide teachers with an effective way to reward students for good behavior. The Pets in the Classroom program, run by The Pet Care Trust with APPA’s support, has awarded more than 40,000 grants to teachers for a small animal, reptile, aquarium or bird for their classroom. 1.3 million children now have daily contact with a pet thanks to the program. With your support, the Pet Care Trust can keep this program thriving. If you are interested in learning more or donating to Pets in the Classroom, please visit A new school year has begun, and we don’t want to turn down any teacher requests for a classroom pet because of a lack of funding.

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