Post by BlogPaws Co-founder Yvonne DiVita
I was sitting forward in my chair, last Friday, August 14, eagerly awaiting the big announcement. The room was silent. The lights were dimmed. The collective group of women in the pet industry had their eyes focused on Lorien Clemens, Woman of the Year 2014. She smiled. She took a breath. She called for Jake to bring the envelope…
If you’re not familiar with Women in the Pet Industry Network you’re living under a rock. The woman behind the organization, the true powerhouse, is Shawna Schuh, a woman of power and distinction. When I first learned of this organization, several years ago, it had a simple online presence. I wasn’t drawn to it. I didn’t see it as a necessity in my life as a woman in this growing, exciting industry focused on pets. I gave it a shrug and moved on.
Not long after, Shawna contacted me. She had heard about BlogPaws and wanted to talk. I am always open to partnerships and learning, so of course I said yes! Am I ever glad I did!
“I love what you’re doing,” she said. Her enthusiasm reached across the miles of phone lines and exploded fireworks in my ear. Seriously.
“Thanks, “I said, a bit curious. She wasn’t a blogger, so I was uncertain of what we could do together. “I’d love to hear more about WIPIN.”
Shawna talked for a few minutes. She did more than tell me what she was doing with WIPIN, a new purchase of hers. She described ways we could work together.
“Let’s face it,” she said, “we’re both women, most of our membership is women and women ROCK!”
Okay, maybe she didn’t say it exactly that way. It was years ago, I’m telling you. I don’t have that good of a memory! But I do know that we clicked. Our personalities came through loud and clear. We both were about sharing, caring, and collaborating. Shawna wanted women in business, in pets, to soar. I wanted bloggers, who were eager to learn and improve their work online, to soar. Together, we decided we could make a difference.
Since then, BlogPaws has taken off like a super-charged hot air balloon. We are on fire, folks! We have all the color, the heat, the rise of a hot air balloon – and we are soaring to the stars. Each of our bloggers is a star, and each of our brands want to connect with those stars. The brands are the fire beneath us, sometimes. The desire to work together, to improve the health and welfare of pets – WOW – it doesn’t get better than that!
And WIPIN – that organization is heated up to explode! Shawna has grown it tremendously, with her verve, vigor, vim and her vision. She envisioned women who are strong leaders working together, helping each other out, being there when they’re needed…and her vision is alive with action, inspiration, and accomplishment…today. You just ask any of the women who belong to WIPIN what they think, and you’ll get an earful… an excited, loud, marvelous earful… not to mention, the laughter. We laugh a lot at WIPIN.
(who went to the jewelry exchange pawty? was that fun or what?)
Here’s my point, there are a lot of organizations out there to be part of. There are business groups you should absolutely join and participate in (don’t join if you’re not going to participate!). And there are places you should be, both online and offline, that will help you grow your business and improve your work online.
But, there is no where else you can go as a woman and feel secure, challenged, fulfilled, excited, uplifted, embraced, accomplished…and so many more things, all at once. It’s a business setting. It’s a place not only to learn but to share. It’s a place where your talents are revealed and where the entire group wants your success as badly as you do. It’s a focus on you as a woman, your business in the pet industry, and your complete well-being.
That’s how I felt last weekend, at the WIPIN 2015 Conference. It’s what I heard, over and over from everyone else there.
It’s why I was on the edge of my seat waiting for Lorien Clemens, the 2014 Pet Industry Woman of the Year to announce the Woman of the Year 2015 …
And it’s why, when MY name was called, I was startled into … silence.
Me? Woman of the Year? How could that be, when so many other finalists were amazing and outstanding and superb!
I’m one week in as Woman of the Year in the Pet Industry and I can tell you this – it’s astonishing how much power this brings with it! Oh, I’m not talking about getting a table at a fancy restaurant, I’m talking about looking in the mirror and saying, “You’re Woman of the Year – You ROCK!” I’m grinning right now writing it!
I work hard at what I do. Chloe DiVita of DiVita Speaks, who rose and spoke after I stumbled through my thank yous, would tell you how “humble” I am and how I inspired her, my daughter… and I thank her for that. Because hearing her say it, makes it more real for me. I appreciate every one of my bloggers, and the incredible women of WIPIN, because they lift me up with their laughter, their words, their collaboration and their … let’s admit it… their femaleness. We women are different than men, and when we work together, as we do in BlogPaws and in WIPIN, WOW… the things we get done are AMAZING!
I’m proud to be the Woman of the Year 2015, in the Pet Industry. I’m proud to call Shawna Schuh, who created this honor, my friend. I will share this experience over the coming months… and I hope I’ve shown all of you (men, too, we appreciate the men in our lives!), that WIPIN is a business organization you need to be part of, today, tomorrow and forever. Because YOU could be next year’s Woman of the Year. And the power I feel could be yours.
What are you waiting for? (p.s. YES… it comes with a tiara…and so many other wonderful prizes!)