WIPIN Selects Women of the Year Nominees

Pet Age Staff//June 15, 2015//

WIPIN Selects Women of the Year Nominees

Pet Age Staff //June 15, 2015//

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Twenty five women making successful careers in the pet industry will soon be making their way toward the red carpet for the annual award ceremony that recognizes their vital role in serving pets and pet owners.

They are the finalists in the Pet Industry Woman of the Year Award competition established three years ago by Women in the Pet Industry Network (WIPIN). This year’s contest drew 55 nominations from across the United States and Canada.

Award categories include Solopreneur, Entrepreneur, Corporate, Advocate and Rising Star. There are five finalists in each category, and one of those will reign as the overall Pet Industry Woman of the Year for 2015. All winners will be named August 14, 2015 at the Women in the Pet Industry Conference and Awards Show in Portland, Ore.

The 2015 panel of judges included an executive who has a record of success with Fortune 100 companies; a director of marketing for a major technology company; a COO of an architecture firm; and a successful owner of an agency business.

The 2015 finalists are:


  • Carol Bryant, founder/pet blogger/petpreneur/PR pro, Fidose of Reality / Wigglebutt Warriors. Forty Fort, Penn.
  • Jenny Dwyer, co-owner/president of operations & marketing, Mutt Nose Best, Bangor, Maine
  • Virginia Hamilton, founder, Canine Commandos of Brevard County Schools, Melbourne, Fla.
  • Sylva Kelegian, author, “God Spelled Backwards: The Journey of an Actress into the World of Dog Rescue,”  Burbank, Calif.
  • Lola Michelin, director of education, Northwest School of Animal Massage, Vashon, Wash.



  • Amy Cox, founder, The Paws Cause and The Shot Spot, McKinney, Texas
  • Jan Flanagan, president, K9 Tailshakers, Frankfurt, Ill.
  • Kristen Levine, founder/CEO/president, Kristen Levine Pet Living, Tarpon Springs, Fla.
  • Melissa Monaghan, general manager, The Dog Eaze Inn, Woodbridge, Va.
  • Beth Stultz, marketing & communications manager, Pet Sitters International, King, N.C.



  • Mary Beth Albright, owner, Happy Camper Doggy Day Camp & Sleep Over, Clearwater, Fla.
  • Stephanie Boone, founder & CEO, Wondercide, Austin, Texas
  • Amanda Hessel, vice president marketing & sales, Smart Animal Training Systems, Indianapolis.
  • Mary Oquendo, owner, Hands and Paws-Reiki for All, Danbury, Conn.
  • Deborah Turner, president, Dean Insurance Agency, Inc., Altamonte Springs, Fla.


Rising Star

  • Chloe DiVita, director of programs and events, BlogPaws, Broomfield, Colo.
  • Yvonne DiVita, co-founder & CEO, BlogPaws, Thornton, Colo.
  • Leah Hatley & Justine Schuurman, co-owners, The Family Dog, Morristown, N.J.
  • Dorothy Hunter, CEO & founder, Paw’s Natural Pet Emporium and Bizaccountability, Richland, Wash.
  • Jennifer Williams, owner & consultant, Pet Talk Media, Seattle, Wash.


Solopreneur Finalists

  • Lisa Brambilla, CEO & creator of BioUrn, My Eternal Family Tree & BioUrn4Pets, Yorba Linda, Calif.
  • Lauren Darr, founder, International Association of Pet Fashion Professionals, Park Ridge, Ill.
  • Alissa Gander, owner, Peace. Love. Paws, Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
  • Robbi Hess, owner, All Words Matter, Albion, N.Y.
  • Mona Straub, owner, Just Fur Fun, Boca Raton, Fla.


“The Pet Industry Women of the Year Awards were designed to recognize the amazing women who dedicate their time and talents to improving the lives of all pets – dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses and exotics – and their parents/guardians,” said Shawna Schuh, president of WIPIN. “The awards are a celebration of women who are living their dream of helping animals in big ways. Their passion also shows in their devotion to helping other pet industry women. It is exciting to honor women of such high caliber who have a genuine calling to make the pet industry stronger.”

The Pet Industry Woman of the Year will receive a valuable award package worth thousands of dollars in training and exposure that will include:


  • A full year of media and executive coaching with WIPIN President Shawna Schuh, a certified speaking professional and executive coach;
  • Being showcased on the cover of Top Women in the Pet Industry Magazine;
  • Being featured as a guest expert during a WIPIN monthly growth call for members;
  • Making appearances and gaining recognition at pet industry events;
  • Stepping into the role of opening speaker at the 2016 Women in the Pet Industry Conference and Awards Show.


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