When Sandra Says Yes, A Site Is Reborn: GNFP

Mention the name Sandy and most New Yorkers know exactly what you mean and it ain’t pretty, as in Hurricane Sandy. Heck, most of the nation knows what that name means.  Mention the name Sandra and most folks think of Sandra Bullock. Not a bad reference. My Sandra is Sandra Fathi, wiz of the PR tech world and founder of Affect, known to me and my fellow PRSA-NY colleagues as a more recent past-president of the chapter.  So what does she have to do about Goodnewsforpets (GNFP)? Plenty! When I decided to revamp the site and could not find the time to manage it against client projects, I turned to the colleague I knew could not only get it done, but get it done far better than me with her team. Without her, this GNFP rebirth would not be possible. Several years ago when I was the recipient of the Kansas City Business Journal Kauffman Women Who Mean Business Award I was reminded it was our turn to pay it back to other women leaders, to mentor. There’s no mentoring here. It’s reverse mentoring. Sandra is a PR business woman leader extraordinaire.

They’ll be more thanks to spread around in this celebratory month. While I’ve been front and center, great teams are the key to success. In 2000, GDM News was born with me(G), my special three time hire employee Amy Davis(D) with her University of Missouri School of Magazine Journalism degree, and my special two-time hire employee Shelli Manning(M), solid work ethic bar none. My brother Matthew O’Hare joined us in Las Vegas at Western Veterinary Conference as we launched the site with a virtual newsroom and Steve Dale’s debut column about  pet dumps. The late Mordecai Siegal joined us a year later. Julie Lux later joined us as the first editor. There have been so many more partners and wonderful clients along the way and we are grateful to be able to showcase dozens of important topics over a 14 year period. I will be writing more about them here as we celebrate our rebirth this month.

In the meantime, fast forward to today.  We are celebrating the rebirth of GNFP at BlogPaws May 8-10 in Las Vegas.  We are grateful that the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists is with us with a new Helping People Help Their Pets column, co-editor Steve Dale will be signing  Decoding Your Dog books at our BlogPaws Booth #14.  Ceva Animal Health has a new campaign, Why Wait for the Bite? and is sponsoring a BlogPaws session with Steve Dale Friday, May 9 3:45-5:15 PM. Finally, we are celebrating the GNFP rebirth at BlogPaws with a special raffle of an Elena Kreigner necklace and sponsorship of Pawject Runway to benefit pet shelters.  It’s a rebirth a time for new ideas, new partners, new avenues to explore. Now on to BlogPaws and the Celebration!

Keeping Up With the Karens

Lately there’s a lot of Karens in my professional life.  To be clear, one Karyn, two Karens, and one Carin. Keeping up with them is inspiring. When I write their full names you will know immediately why.

The first Karyn is Karyn Gavzer, now a practice management consultant who has worked with industry, associations and veterinary practices for 20 years. I think of Karyn every February during Pet Dental Health Month as she was partner extraordinaire and director of marketing for the American Veterinary Medical Association as we created “Pets Need Dental, Care Too!” with the American Veterinary Dental Society and Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. We worked together on the strategic planning of the Catalyst Summit which led to the formation of the Catalyst Council. We will soon be working together yet again. Karyn has her MBA and is one of fewer than 400 certified veterinary hospital managers (CVPM) in North America.

The next Karen is easy.  As I wrote in my last blog post, Dr. Karen Bradley is a woman who has taken action within the veterinary profession in six short months and a featured guest column interviewee. Dr. Bradley is the newly installed President of the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative (WVLDI).

The other Karen is Dr. Karen Padgett, Chief Operations Officer of Ceva Animal Health, who I’ve  also been honored to know while she was at Hill’s and now again at Ceva.  I haven’t written about  Dr. Padgett a lot. Like Karen Bradley, it’s never about her, it’s never about being a woman, it’s about the work at hand.  But this is my blog and she is a woman, she is a veterinarian, and she is valued by both industry and the veterinary profession.  She’s just got the right mix going on.  And like the women profiled in my last post, she’s surely not done yet. Facebook COO’s Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In  examines why women’s progress in leadership roles has not moved forward. This Karen not only has, she’s representing Ceva as the first industry sponsor of WVLDI.

And finally there’s Carin. Carin Giovanni is the dynamo Western Veterinary Conference Marketing Director who has accommodated every request I’ve made to help plan to cover the conference, get the word out about the WVLDI event, and more.  This is my 19th Western Veterinary Conference and thanks to the conference leadership including Manolita Moore, the Chief Operating Officer, I have always felt especially welcome. I haven’t met Carin personally yet, but when I do, I will not only thank her, but sing her praises all around.  Keeping up with the Karens?  You bet they’re awe-inspiring. And a few more examples of women leaders in the veterinary profession.

What A Guy: Dr. Pidgeon Retires from WVC

Say it isn’t so! Beloved, respected and universally admired veterinary leader, Guy Pidgeon, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM), is leaving his latest post as chief executive officer of the Western Veterinary Conference. Pidgeon was named chief executive officer emeritus and officially retires in June 2013 as David Little transitions into his new role as chief executive officer.

While I am thrilled for David as he embarks on this new role, I look forward to seeing what is next for Guy. So spectacular in everything he touches, yet so modest you can hear a pin drop when he gives his opinion (not like this New Yorker, for sure), I can’t miss an opportunity to applaud how much Guy has done for every aspect of the profession.

My first encounter with Guy came as Hill’s Pet Nutrition launched Prescription Diet canine t/d, a dental diet for dogs.  Guy was my “go to” when we created and helped launch “Pets Need Dental Care, Too!” on behalf of Hill’s Pet Nutrition, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Dental Society.  Patient, considerate and always willing to help guide us through the nuances of organized veterinary medicine, Guy and his stellar research counterpart, Dan Richardson, DVM, DACVS, are two of the first veterinarians I met and how I came to embrace working with the veterinary profession.  How lucky could I get!

Prior to accepting the position on the WVC’s executive Staff, Guy was CEO of the Animal Medical Center in New York City and was elected President of the Center’s Board of Trustees. During this period he also served on the AVMA Executive Board. He joined Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. as Associate Director of Veterinary Affairs and was later promoted to Director of that department. His career has also included a 12-year term on the faculty at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.

He has also served as chair of the Board of Regents of the American Veterinary College of Internal Medicine.  Recipient of multiple awards for teaching and previously recognized as Veterinarian of the Year by the New York City Veterinary Medical Society, Guy also received the inaugural Spirit of Excellence Award from Veterinary Specialists in Private Practice (VSIPP).

In addition to these big announced awards, Guy has received many silent accolades from admirers throughout the veterinary profession.

Guy, on behalf of all those silent and now singing admirers, we so look forward to your next hurrah. Whatever it is, it will be spectacular in your own way.  Well done.

Western Vet And Jen’s Pumpkin: Shared Concerns


Western Veterinary Conference Entrance

The Western Veterinary Conference is in full swing through tomorrow yet I can’t help thinking about Jennifer and Pumpkin, our latest profiled goodnewsforpets.com 10th Anniversary iPad winners.   That’s because Jennifer chose to donate to the ASPCA to help other pets, yet faced unique challenges of her own.  With all the emerging issues and one of the leading points of discussion —  why pet owners are visiting the veterinarian less often.

Bayer Animal Health, Brakke Consulting and the National Commission on Veterinary Economics (NCVEI), in a recent study, identified six root causes:
— the economic impact of the recession; fragmentation of veterinary services; consumers substituting Internet research for office visits; feline resistance; perception among pet owners that regular medical check-ups are not needed and the cost of care.
Several of these factors played into Jennifer’s experience, yet she ultimately adopted Pumpkin, a shelter cat, and knowning Jennifer will seek the level of veterinary care she can for her cat.  Several other winners had the same challenges.  Sure all these issues are on the table, but of most concern is that pet owners feel regular pet check ups are unneccessary.  Watch for more dialogue and hopefully ACTION about this topic from the veterinary profession — ALOT more.

Hill's Pet Nutrition Weight Reduction Kit

Also new at the conference was a new Product Showcase, and front and center was Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc.’s Weight Reduction Kit, available through veterinarians.  An article in The Wall Street Journal “Personal Section” created some buzz.  The article cited yet another study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention with Banfield Pet Hospital.  Interesting stuff and more to come!

Another interesting topic back on the horizon is the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)’s impending release of updated vaccine guidelines.  The last canine guidelines were updated in 2006.   The organization releases guidelines on a wide variety of topics to help guide the latest best practices in veterinary medicine.  We don’t have an exact date as while they are compiled by experts in the field, they are now ensuring citations of the scientific literature to back up claims are in order.  The original guidelines which led from annual to every three year vaccinations created quite a stir in both the veterinary profession and for pet owners.  The categories of “core” and “noncore” were hotly debated.  the concept is there are certain vaccines (core) that all pets should receive and then other vaccines (noncore) depending on the pet and where they live.  Stay tuned for this one as well.   As much as I’ve learned about Jennifer as a caring pet owner, she and other pet lovers will be watching each and every one of these issues.