Carmen has been part of the PetSmart pack for almost three years now. Her experience in both the HR department and now in the Distribution Centers has made a very positive impact on #LifeAtPetSmart. Check out the below to learn more about her story and adorable sidekick, Dunkin!
Tell us a bit about your PetSmart journey—where did you start, where are you now, and how did you get there?
Carmen: I started with PetSmart almost 3 years ago (which is crazy lol it feels like longer) on the TAC team as a Recruiter. I came on to help support IT but within a year or so took on Merchandising (Buying, Product Development & Sourcing, and MP&A). I’ve always been a tech recruiter so when I was asked to support Merch, I was a bit intimidated, but it ended up being a great learning opportunity for me. There’s so much that goes into getting our products to our pet parents and it was awesome to help bring on people to help further drive our mission and merch strategy.
While recruiting was fun and impactful for me, I knew I wanted to do more but wasn’t sure of exactly what. In my exploration of “what’s next” I learned a lot about the HRBP function from my mentor and it felt like a perfect fit. I talked to my manager about adding the HRBP role to my development plan in January of 2020 and set my expectations for me to get there in like 2-3 years. 5 months later I learned about the Associate HRBP role at DC12 and boom, here I am lol. I knew nothing about the DC or Supply Chain so that was scary at first, but I’m blessed to be able to join an awesome team who helped me get acclimated to the DC life. I’ve been in this role now for 8-months and it’s been a whirlwind of problem solving and moving fast but there’s literally no place I would rather be every day.
Tell us about your pets!
Carmen: Honestly, I was not a pet person for most of my life (judge me, it’s cool 😊) but my heart softened at my previous job where my best friend and coworker was a Sheepadoodle named Sparky. She was the best! When I joined PetSmart I knew I wanted to get a dog but I was being very picky, then I found Hunter who I later renamed Dunkin. The rescue described him as a Chihuahua pug but on his first vet visit, they told me there’s no way he’s a pug so they declared him a Chihuahua lab. The DNA test proved, that was a lie (kudos to you if you read that in a Maury Povich voice). He’s a Pug, Dachshund, Boxer, Belgian Malinois mix. He had a rough start in life but he literally lives everyday like it’s his last. Like his mother, he meets no stranger and loves food more than the average person.
What do you enjoy about your #LifeAtPetSmart?
Carmen: I love my life at PetSmart because I truly feel like I can be my authentic self at work. When I turned 30, authenticity shot up on my values list and I appreciate the emphasis we place on belonging here at PetSmart. I spent a good chunk of my working career trying to become this image of what I thought I needed to be in order to be successful, but I learned that being myself is enough. This doesn’t mean that there’s not room to grow or that I don’t value personal development. Instead I should just focus on being the best version of myself that I can be.
Any favorite stories or moments from over the years at PetSmart that you’d like to share?
I really enjoy being a part of the PetSmart Associate Resource Group, MOSAIC, leadership team. That’s literally my work fam and I’m grateful that I was able to continue to be the events lead after accepting my role at the DC. The work we do is so impactful and I love collaborating with them.
Finally, supporting our associates at the DC has been momentous in itself. I joined smack dab in the middle of COVID, mandated overtime, and unprecedented volume. Seeing the team show up every day and the leaders support them, fuels me every day to do my best and complain less. Our DC associates rock and I’m honored to be apart of this team.