The nomination period for Pet Age’s 2017 Women of Influence Awards, which look for women leaders who are influential in the pet manufacturing or servicing industry, recently closed. Now, all the entries will be going to a panel of three judges—Laura (Jones) Lang from Jones Natural Chews, LLC; companion animal behavior and training expert Andrea Arden; and Rebecca Tomala of Matrix Partners—to review and select the winners. Honorees will be announced later this month. Here is a little bit about each judge:
Laura (Jones) Lang
Lang is the president of Jones Naturals, LLC in Rockford, IL. She has been with the company for 29 years. The company has been manufacturing USA natural dog chews and treats since 1987. “When it comes to our product, we’re very picky, very selective,” Lang told Pet Age back in December. “We offer meat treats and natural body parts, which will always have a place on the shelf. Our products are what dogs have always wanted in nature. We strive for consistency in quality. We have a reputation, which is based on feedback from consumers, and that’s ‘quality.’”
Arden is a nationally recognized expert on companion animal behavior and training. She is a frequent guest on numerous national shows, including “The Today Show,” “Live with Kelly,” “The Stephen Colbert Report” and “20/20.” Andrea can also be seen on Animal Planet’s shows “Dogs101,” “Cats101,” “Pets101,” “America’s Cutest Dog” and “America’s Cutest Cat.” She was the trainer for “Underdog to Wonderdog,” FX’s Emmy award-winning “The Pet Department,” and is the author of “Barron’s Dog Training Bible,” “Dog-Friendly Dog Training,” “Train Your Dog the Lazy Way” and “The Little Book of Dog Tricks.”
Arden serves on the board of directors of Pets for Patriots, which advocates for the permanent placement of adult dogs and cats with every available and willing military family in the U.S. as well as the board of directors of The Animal Legal Defense Fund, which fights to protect the lives and interests of animals through the legal system.
As the director of Andrea Arden Dog Training, she and her team of experienced and compassionate behavior experts help people develop better relationships with their canine companions using a humane, positive and scientifically sound approach.
Tomala serves as vice president and account supervisor at Matrix Partners, an award-winning brand strategy and communications firm specializing in pet product advertising, public relations, design and strategy. She earned her Master’s degree in advertising and public relations from DePaul University.
Through her role at Matrix, Tomala has helped lead the way for a portfolio of success. She’s created and orchestrated numerous integrated brand-building and marketing campaigns for dozens of pet product manufacturers and service organizations. Her passion is pet nutrition, and she loves creating award-winning pet food brands.
A life-long companion animal advocate, she was recently selected to serve on the Chicago Canine Rescue’s board of directors and is a current member of the Women in the Pet Industry Network. As a proud parent of three rescue pets, Tomala spreads the word about animal welfare every chance she gets.
In 2015, Tomala was selected by an independent panel of judges to receive a 2015 Forty Under 40 award from Pet Age magazine. The award, which is presented annually, recognizes the up-and-coming movers and shakers in the pet industry that possess significant decision making authority.