Five Questions: Meet W.F. Young CEO & President Jaime McKinley

By Pet Age Staff//March 1, 2024//

Five Questions: Meet W.F. Young CEO & President Jaime McKinley

By: Pet Age Staff//March 1, 2024//

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Last year, W.F. Young, parent company of Absorbine and The Missing Link and other animal health brands, appointed Jaime McKinley to chief executive officer (CEO), in addition to her position as president, which is a role that she has held since 2021. During her executive role at the company, McKinley has led five acquisitions, two industry partnerships and aided in the development and launch of more than 25 new animal health products.

Pet Age recently contacted McKinley to learn more about how she has helped transform W.F. Young since she originally joined the company in 1992 as brand manager.


How have you changed (as a person but also in terms of pet care knowledge) since joining W.F. Young in 1992?

W.F. Young is a 132-year-old, family-owned global leader in animal health and wellness products dedicated to helping animals thrive. I have had the great fortune of spending most of my career dedicated to finding a better way to care for animals and making the most trusted products in the world for horses and dogs. When I joined the company over 30 years ago, there were no women leaders in the company, and few in the industry in general. However, early in the company’s history, W.F. Young was led by its founder, Mary Ida Young for over many decades. As a fifth-generation Young family member, I have embraced her legacy and the power that women have to lead a team of brilliant and talented people through a shared vision of commitment to care. Fulfilling that vision has broadened the breadth and depth of the relationships we sustain with all of our partners and has helped to drive our growth in the pet industry.


What business values have been important to you as you’ve led W.F. Young over the years?

During my time, I have cultivated a caring and equitable culture to empower creativity, continuous improvement, and speed to market to foster break-through new products. My passion for innovation and growth has created an environment that attracts and retains employees who share the vision of providing the best possible products for our customers and partners, all while maintaining the personal touches of a family-owned business. Our success is built around prioritizing a healthy workplace culture fostered by our C.A.R.E. values of Collaboration, Accountability, Respect and Enthusiasm. We believe that if we take good care of each other then we become better caregivers of animals.


How would you describe leading a company that oversees multiple highly respected health brands?

Pioneering innovative solutions to give animals the best quality of life possible has been our core focus since our company started in 1892 and has allowed us to develop a legacy of trust with consumers. I have a deep gratitude for the opportunity to honor that trust through all of our exceptional brands. While our legacy and heritage are unique in the animal health industry, what is most important is where we’re going. Our vision is to be the most trusted name in animal care and that empowers us to constantly strive to be better, do better and care more. While we stand on the years of experience and our unwavering commitment to quality, we must also be forward thinking about the role that innovation plays in providing better solutions for our customers and for pets. We’ve been committed to that for a long time, and we will be for generations into the future.


If you had the power to change one aspect of the pet industry, what would it be?

If I had the power to solve one issue that impacts pets, it would be to increase access to veterinary care and health products that help owners take the best care possible of their pets. Many pet owners are challenged by the rising cost and declining availability of quality health care for their animals. It is so important to stay focused and connected to our consumers and they are telling us that it is getting harder to provide for all of their pets’ health needs. As a family business, we believe pets are family and should have access to care for a long and healthy life and by working with our partners across the pet industry we can solve this issue and help pets across the globe stay healthy and happy with their families.


What is the one thing about your favorite pet that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face?

Without a doubt, it is the joy and devotion Noah shares with me when I return home. When I come through the door, Noah is so excited that he wiggles and weaves throughout my legs. The unconditional love lights me up and we have focused time to say hello and reconnect. Noah loves coming to work with me several times a month where he receives lots of belly rubs and treats.