As a female-founded company, Stella & Chewy’s is proud to support women making a pawsitive impact in our industry. From entrepreneurs to veterinarians and everything in between, women have paved the way for intelligent conversations, deeper connections, and meaningful work in the pet space. Join us in celebrating Women’s History Month as we highlight just a few of the strong women making a difference for pets and pet parents around the world.
Tori Mistick | Influencer & Entrepreneur, Wear Wag Repeat
Social media influencer, entrepreneur, and founder of Wear Wag Repeat, Tori Mistick started a blog to document her two favorite things– style and dogs! When she founded her business about 10 years ago, her social media posts were all about her own personal style with her dogs making cameos from time to time. She quickly discovered that her dog content got a lot more engagement than the style content, and the rest was history! She is now a dog influencer along with her two chocolate Labradors Burt and Lucy. She has since started teaching online courses about digital marketing for the pet industry, and she truly believes that pet people are the best people. This industry is full of kind, generous and creative individuals, which is why Tori has never looked back. So what’s it like in her line of work?
“I think most people have no clue how much work goes into being a pet influencer. It might come as a surprise that I often test products for several weeks before documenting how my dogs like them. It’s a big responsibility to recommend pet products because people are going to use these with their fur babies! I make sure everything I share with my audience is safe, fun and Labrador-approved! Sometimes that requires extra research and even consulting experts before I publish a post.”
Most of Tori’s job is dedicated to shining a light on women in the pet industry and the women who are amazing moms to their pets. She loves to celebrate the joy that pet parents get from their pets, and she thinks it’s really important to share that with the world. She feels that sharing the joy between a woman and her dogs makes a positive difference in the world, and she feels the same way about working with Stella & Chewy’s.
“I love working with Stella & Chewy’s because our values are so aligned! I love that it’s a female-founded company based on the desire to give our dogs a better quality of life. Stella & Chewy’s also generously donates to many pet causes throughout the year, especially during Senior Pet Adoption Month. Since I have two senior dogs, this really resonates with me.”
When asked what advice she would give to women looking to break into the pet industry, Tori recommended, “If you want to get involved in the pet industry, I would start with networking and asking lots of questions. In my experience, pet people are generous and happy to lend their expertise. The reason that I originally pivoted my blog from style to dogs is because of the amazing pet bloggers I met in the early days. They offered advice and a community that encouraged me to grow my business.”
Dr. Rebecca Feiring | Fear-Free Veterinarian, Happy at Home Veterinary Care
For as long as she can remember, animals have always been Dr. Rebecca Feiring’s best friends. And by the time she could walk, she knew she wanted to be a Veterinarian. “My father was a doctor, and combining the love of medicine that I got from him along with my innate love of animals made the career choice an obvious one.”
Her love for animals continues to this day in her mission as a Fear-Free Veterinarian at Happy at Home Veterinary Care. Her role as a Fear-Free Veterinarian is to ensure that the environment for the pet, pet parent, technicians, and other staff is as stress-free as possible. This enables everyone to have a much more positive experience at the Vet, especially the animals.
Her absolute favorite part of her day? “Getting to spend all day every day with my favorite creatures and the people who Iove them! The magic of the human-animal bond and the connection that people have with their pets never ceases to amaze me and it’s a privilege to get to observe that every single day and keep my patients healthy so they can enjoy a long and happy life with their humans.”
Dr. Feiring’s love for pets doesn’t end at work, as she has three pets, all rescues and as she says, “[they are] all incredibly loved and spoiled.” She has a cat named Zorro, a dog named Rayne, and a horse named Ladybug. “All three came to me having narrowly escaped death and have amazed me with their resilience and ability to teach me something new every day. They remind me why my profession is so important and how much our pets enrich our lives, and they also reinforce my commitment to animal rescue.”
Jennyssa Gonzalez | FSQA Tech, Stella & Chewy’s
For almost nine years, Jennyssa Gonzalenz has worked at Stella & Chewy’s as a Food Safety & Quality Assurance Technician (FSQA Tech). When the opportunity came to join Stella & Chewy’s and make an impact on what was a smaller company at the time, she couldn’t pass it up. “I have always been part of the food industry, and when an amazing opportunity arose I joined Stella & Chewy’s in 2014. I had a Yorkie (named Yojeylin) at the time and she was a big part of my family. That was a big reason I joined the team.”
In her almost decade of tenure at Stella & Chewy’s, she’s continued to stay inspired by the dedication we have for keeping our pets healthy. “In this time, what has inspired me to continue in the pet industry, has been the massive impact that our work does to folk and their pets around the world. Watching the process of and the growth of the company has been a joy, and getting to be part of that has been nothing if not fulfilling.” And when it comes to staying inspired as a woman, “At Stella & Chewy’s I see many women in positions of power and this continually inspires me to work hard and know that even though I am a woman, I can strive for excellence.” Though Jennyssa currently has no pets after Yojeylin passed in July of 2022, she attributes her pup’s 11 years of life to Stella & Chewy’s. She (Yojeylin) was closest to my son, but seeing her be happy and healthy for all those years on Stella & Chewy’s food, gave me confidence in my work.”
Natalie Hoskins | Executive Director, Elmbrook Humane Society
Natalie Hoskins, Executive Director of Elmbrook Humane Society, always knew she wanted to be in the pet industry, but wasn’t exactly sure what path was for her. Once she found the right fit at Elmbrook Humane Society, it was meant to be. “I have always loved being around animals and grew up wanting to become a veterinarian. While in college, I got a job at a pet store and learned about different career opportunities working with animals including animal welfare. In 2009, I responded to a job posting in Craigslist for an Animal Caregiver at Elmbrook Humane Society and never left! Although the work has its challenges, getting to make a difference in the lives of animals every day is what keeps me in the industry.”
During her time at the humane society, she’s even adopted four pets of her own. “I have three cats and one dog. Nightwing (9 years), Lt. Dan (7 years), and Stormageddon (6 years) are our cats (all adopted from EBHS). Gubbins is our dog (1 year) and adopted from a local rescue.” Natalie wants people to know that though being an Animal Caregiver is incredibly rewarding, there are highs and lows like any job.
“I don’t think a lot of people completely understand what working at an animal shelter is really like. It’s tough work both mentally and physically (for some positions) and can be difficult to relax at the end of the day. Our work is never done and in some capacity we always have to be on because there are lives depending on us doing our jobs well. We work with limited resources and make the best of what we have.” Her team works hard to ensure that all animals can find a forever home, but unfortunately, some days are much harder than others. “When we do our best to help an animal in need and we are not successful, it takes a toll on the entire staff. Although we know it is part of the job, it never gets easier.” Natalie attributes her ability to take every day one day at a time to staying calm under pressure and not letting her emotions take over the ability to be there for people on a hard day.
But with the hard days, also come the good. Every day at the Elmbrook Humane Society is different and as Natalie says “no two days are remotely the same”. Natalie’s favorite part of the job? “Adoption follow-ups! I love hearing how animals are doing in their forever homes. It makes all of the hard work worth it.”
In her 14 years as a woman leader at the Elmbrook Humane Society, it’s her coworkers and other colleagues in the pet industry that keep her going. She loves that she is able to count on them to push her through the hard moments and let her rest when needed.
Her advice on getting started in the industry? “Volunteer at a local shelter or rescue. There are tons of different positions and opportunities to try out in a volunteer capacity to gain experience and help out a great cause in the process. It can be a tough industry to get into without professional experience or training and volunteering can really make a difference…in more ways than one.”
Adreanne Tesene | Owner, Two Bostons
Adreanne Tesene owns and operates six Two Bostons store locations in the state of Illinois, so she knows a thing or two about what it takes to run a successful business. As challenging as some days may be, she loves knowing that what she and her team members do daily improves the lives of pets and their people. Most of Two Bostons’ leadership team is made up of women, and Adreanne is hugely motivated by helping guide their development and growth.
“There is still a strong bias against women when it comes to negotiating in the business world. Women need to be empowered to address these issues and ask for the respect they deserve. This comes with experience and training. Take these steps seriously and you will be taken seriously.”
Adreanne founded the business in dedication to its namesake– her Boston Terriers. Her first two Bostons were adopted with multiple health issues, and she struggled to find answers for how to help them. At the time, there weren’t stores like Two Bostons around, and Adreanne knew other pet parents needed guidance just like she did. So, she decided Two Bostons was going to be the place where confused pet parents could come for fun and education.
“Hands down, my favorite part of my job is that, ultimately, I am in charge of Two Bostons. If I don’t like what’s happening, guess what? I have the control to change it. This is an important life lesson for everyone to understand– If you don’t like what’s happening around you, take charge and make great changes.”
One key to the way Adreanne runs her business is that she is constantly focusing on planning for success, whether that is success for her team, her community, an upcoming event, or devising a plan for a pet who isn’t eating well. She likes to keep her eyes on what she can control, which is even more important when living in a world of so many unknowns.
Today Adreanne is pet parent to two Boston Terriers named Beamer and Sassafras as well as two cats named Beast and Disco. Having four pets with different needs gives her many opportunities to find the best solutions to issues, including aging, allergies, and finding the best toys for playful cats or dogs who are losing their sight. This personal experience gives Two Bostons the reputation that they don’t offer anything in their stores Adreanne wouldn’t give to her own pets at home. Two Bostons has gained community trust, which means the world to Adreanne.
When asked what advice she’d pass down to women in business, Adreanne said, “Whatever industry you decide to go into, make sure you truly enjoy it. It’s cliché, but life is too precious to do something you don’t sincerely enjoy. Take some time and figure out what lights you up and then do it!”
Marie Moody | Founder, Stella & Chewy’s
Last but certainly not least, we’re proud to shine a spotlight on the woman who made Stella & Chewy’s possible. As the founder of Stella & Chewy’s, Marie Moody knows what it means to be a female powerhouse in the pet industry. Looking back on her time with Stella & Chewy’s, Marie has fond memories during the beginning years when everything was difficult and there wasn’t time to ponder direction or strategy. It was all about the will to stay alive as a business, and she believes that tenacity and a genuine love for animals helped her the most in her career.
“As the years go on, I realize how I mark time by the various pets I’ve had. Stella & Chewy were my inspiration, and they were both there during the building/founding/’will this be a business?’ stage. Tummy (my 14-year-old dog) came along eight years in. I had just opened the Muskego manufacturing plant and my son, Charlie, was four. Now Tummy is 14 and Charlie is 18. Tummy is at the end of his life, and, for me, he marks the time I spent as a single mother balancing building the business with investors as well as watching my son grow up. I also have a three-year old “pandemic pup”, Moose, who is a Velcro dog and will become a marker of the time I become an empty nester.”
Marie loves when she sees the lines between “pet” and “family member” blurred. After all, dogs and cats are family members that provide their pet parents with unlimited love, and it’s inspiring to be in an industry that works tirelessly to reciprocate that love and wellness.
When asked what advice she’d give to other women looking to break into the pet industry, Marie said, “Because women purchase the majority of pet foods for their families, we inherently have a better understanding of what the consumer is looking for. My advice would be to not underestimate this understanding.”
Celebrating Women Every Day
Whether you’re a woman working in the pet industry or not, take some time to celebrate the dog moms, the cat ladies, and women from every walk of life today and every day. From all of us at Stella & Chewy’s, Happy International Women’s Day and Happy Women’s History Month!
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