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Women in the Pet Industry Network Announces Annual Awards

Posted: August 19, 2014, 3:55 p.m. EDT

Five businesswomen earn top honors at the organization’s 2014 conference and awards event.

Women in the Pet Industry Network (WIPIN), the Portland, Ore.-based organization dedicated to women who own pet businesses, held its second annual conference Aug. 14-16, where attendees joined like-minded individuals to make new contacts, share business advice, learn valuable seminar take-aways on social media, marketing and more, and, in the spirit of the event’s theme, grow.


During the All About Growth conference’s main event on Aug. 15, the Woman of the Year awards, for which more than 50 nominations were submitted, honors were given in five categories, including Solopreneur, Entrepreneur, Corporation, Advocate and Rising Star, and one woman was named Woman of the Year. Winners were selected by a panel of four independent judges.


Lorien Clemens, winner of the 2014 Woman of the Year Award and the Corporate Award, is director of marketing for PetHub Inc. in Issaquah, Wash., which started in November 2010 as a high-tech, user-friendly system to get lost pets home fast and safe, according to the company.

Pictured left to right: Solopreneur Robin Bennett, Advocate Teresa Rhyne, Woman of the Year Lorien Clemens, Rising Star Amber Kirsten-Smit and Entrepreneur Sylvia Wilson.

"Being recognized by a group of peers like this is so amazing,” said Clemens. "I think most significant to me is what people said to me after I received the award—how something I’ve said or done has helped or influenced them along the way. I’m really excited about what being Woman of the Year means for PetHub. It will provide another platform to help get the message out about lost pet prevention and getting lost pets home, so they don’t end up in shelters.”


As Woman of the Year, Clemens received a valuable award package worth thousands of dollars in training and exposure that includes one full year of media and executive coaching with WIPIN president Shawna Schuh, certified speaking professional and executive coach; a mobile or mobile-responsive website developed by Mary Miller of GoodDog Marketing; exposure in pet industry media outlets throughout the year; the cover feature on the Winter Winners’ Top Women in the Pet Industry Magazine; appearances and recognition at pet industry events; the chance to walk the runway at the NY Pet Fashion Show just before the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York in February 2015; serving as keynote speaker at the 2015 Women in the Pet Industry Conference and Awards Show; and more.


Sylvia Wilson, founder and COO of Bark Busters of North America in Escondido, Calif., won the Entrepreneur category.


In 1989, Wilson left a job working in an Australian animal shelter to start Bark Busters, which since has trained more than one million dogs and is the world’s largest home dog training company, with affiliates not only in Australia, but also the U.S., the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Spain.


Teresa Rhyne, an author and speaker from Riverside, Calif., took home the Advocate category award.

About Women in the Pet Industry Network

Established in 2010 and acquired in 2012 by Shawna Schuh, president, Women in the Pet Industry Network (WIPIN), headquartered near Portland, Ore., serves a worldwide membership of women in the pet industry. Since 2012, WIPIN has grown to more than 450 members, and the 2014 conference attendance increased 30 percent from 2013, according to Schuh. WIPIN helps entrepreneurial women grow their pet-focused businesses through networking opportunities, business growth seminars and online resources. Learn more about WIPIN at  


Rhyne chronicled how she and her beloved beagle beat cancer, and the memoir, "The Dog Lived (and So Will I)” became a New York Times best-seller. Her second book, due out soon, led to her becoming a strong advocate for the rescue of beagles and other lab animals used for product testing.


Amber Kirsten-Smit, co-founder and president of Furlocity Inc. in San Diego, won the Rising Star award.


Likening Furlocity to Travelocity or Expedia, Kirsten-Smit provides a comprehensive website that allows pet owners to instantly find, review, compare and book trusted pet accommodations and pet care services 24/7/365.

Robin Bennett, dog trainer, author and owner of RB Consulting in Stafford, Va., won the Solopreneur award.


Bennett founded and ran the largest dog daycare business in Virginia for 18 years, co-founded a publishing company and, most recently, established a joint venture called The Dog Gurus.


"The pet industry is filled with remarkable females,” said Schuh. "The five winners of the Pet Industry Woman of the Year are an excellent example of innovation, inspiration and hard work. It’s exciting to lift up amazing women who are doing good work for pets and their people.


"It’s not unusual to find high-achieving women inside the pet industry—it’s filled with them. What is unusual is when women from all categories of the industry stand up and say, ‘Well done!’ no matter what area of the pet industry a woman works in.”



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