Debbie, VP of Services, has been part of the PetSmart team for nearly 8 years and has held several different roles. Check out the below for some of her insight!
Tell us a bit about your PetSmart journey – where did you start, where are you now, and how did you get there?
Debbie: I started at PetSmart over 7 years ago on the Marketing team as the Director of Brand Marketing – I came to PetSmart from Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, where I held a variety of General Management/Marketing roles on brands such as Pringles and Iams.
During my time at PetSmart, I’ve held a variety of roles within Customer Experience, with responsibility for media buying, brand marketing, public relations, social media, national promotions, and PetSmart Charities marketing, to name a few. I then took a role as the Senior Director of the Salon business in Services as a way to broaden my skill set beyond marketing at PetSmart. After a brief time in that role, I was promoted to VP of Proprietary Brands (a role that leveraged a lot of my pre-PetSmart skills and experience) and was proud to play a role in launching a number of new brands and major brand refreshes, the biggest being a complete innovation and packaging reboot on Simply Nourish. I then received an opportunity to move back to lead the Services department as the VP, a role I have held for the past two years. Services is such an interesting business to be a part of – it takes a blend of customer service, operations and innovation to drive the business and allows a unique ability to partner closely with the field, PHO/CHO cross-functional partners, and our associates. It’s a relationships business and is truly at the heart of differentiation for PetSmart.
Why do you enjoy your #LifeAtPetSmart?
Debbie: I love my life at PetSmart because of the passion I have for people and pets - I have two dogs myself – Piper and Bennett. I truly love this industry and feel so lucky to connect my career to not only a personal passion point but also to be able to help support the strengthening of the bond between pets and their parents. My favorite parts are spending time with our amazing associates who are incredibly energizing and inspiring as they create lasting relationships with our pet parents every day, as well as hearing pet parent feedback from our voice of the customer tools to hear how we make are making a difference in the well-being of their pets.
Why should folks looking to grow their career choose PetSmart?
Debbie: PetSmart is a great place to grow your career! We walk the walk when it comes to belonging and bringing diverse experiences to bear to solve business challenges. I have personally experienced leaders who are willing to support my career by recognizing my transferable skills that enabled me to work in various departments, something that’s not always common at some companies where you might be a bit more ‘set’ in a given career track / department. On a day in and day out basis, you will also have the opportunity to work with incredibly talented and passionate people who want to see you succeed and from whom you will learn a ton!
Any favorite stories or moments from over the years at PetSmart that you’d like to share?
Debbie: I will never forget the lengths the associates in the building went to when an associate’s pet Syrian Hamster escaped its habitat. It sounds silly, but also demonstrates just how much our associates love pets. Flyers up around the floor, folks searching meeting rooms, update emails on the progress to the folks who sat nearby – in the end, he was found safe and sound thanks to the whole floor pitching in and keeping an eye out. 😊
Another would be reading stories from pet parents whose pets lives were basically saved by the actions taken by our associates – whether it’s a hands on pet assessment in our salon uncovering a new lump/bump that was discovered in the nick of time for the vet to treat it, to our pet trainers helping save the lives of pets with challenging behavioral needs from being returned to shelters, to our hotel associates delivering our industry-leading “Ultimate Experience” doggie day camp curriculum (including blowing bubbles and reading to pets!).