I am still reflecting on the weekend I spent up in Portland Oregon (August 23-25) with over 80 women who participated in the Women In the Pet Industry Network’s inaugural conference- The Start of Something Big. This program impacted me personally and professionally in such a positive way.

Every woman I encountered shared the same core elements of entrepreneur-ism:

  • drive and commitment,

  • willingness to do the things that are not “sexy or glamorous”,

  • a focus on well-considered goals,

  • passion for what they do,

  • desire to make a difference,

  • a commitment to create something that is their own, and

  • the recognition that running a small business is not a full time job, it’s an “all the time” job.  .

The singular thread though that wove together so many women was personal outreach. As we gathered for the opening program, I looked around at so many unknown faces. I wondered who I would meet and who I would connect with. Little did I know that the visionary for this professional network, Shawna Schuh, would create an environment that allowed for each and every one of us to interact personally throughout the weekend.



I discovered so many amazing women as I listened to their stories and learned how they each took an idea they about which they had passion and turned it into a business. I discovered that as business owners, we all shared similar experiences – from moments of success down to moments of outright frustration. I gathered new ideas filled with fresh, innovative ways to continue to build our Dog is Good business. Most importantly though, I made new friends, strengthened existing relationships, and was inspired beyond words. I was humbled to be in the company of so many amazing women. They opened their hearts and minds, extended open arms to help each other in any way possible, and connected to build a solid foundation for a network organization so much needed in the pet industry.

We are often so busy working on and in our businesses it’s difficult to take time away from the plans and task lists. But stepping away to recharge is one of the most important and productive things one can do for their business, and industry networking is a great way to recharge. Busy people should also take care of themselves both physically and mentally. For me, the weekend spent at the WIPIN conference was invaluable. It resulted in a paradigm shift that will greatly impact my business, my family life, and my relationships.

Thank you to Shawna, all the people who helped make it happen, and to all the fabulous women who made such a difference in my life this weekend.