I Belong Series: Meet Michael, Manager, Merchandising Execution, Store Operations

We've been lucky to have Michael as part of the PetSmart pack for almost 5 years. Working within all levels within various departments, Michael has gotten to know #LifeAtPetSmart pretty well, and we were excited to learn more about why he enjoys working here so much. He's an all-around wonderful person with a great Belonging story to tell. Check out the below to see for yourself!


The Belonging Program’s “I Belong” Series harnesses the power of empathy through storytelling. This series is intended to give associates a greater sense of understanding, a bridge to gain new perspective, and a way to build connection to each other. To learn more about the “I Belong” Series or to submit your stories, associates can visit PetSmart's Belonging Fetch Page.



Meet Michael | Manager, Merchandising Execution, Store Operations


To “belong” at PetSmart means so much for me.


When I was seven years old, I developed a speech impediment and corresponding muscle dysfunction that has greatly impacted how I speak throughout my life. In elementary school, then middle school, then high school, I had to navigate countless awkward situations related to my impediment. Some people would look away as I “tried” to speak, some would laugh, some would cut me off. I never would fault these people, as it was their way of reacting to something that felt out of the norm for them. The worst, however, were those who would openly make fun of me. Some would mimic my stutter or try to goad me into an argument where my stutter would even be more pronounced. Especially when I was younger, these social conflicts were difficult for me to understand or react appropriately to.


In my adult life, the challenges have remained. I still have trouble conversing as freely as others, but I’ve learned to adapt. In fact, interpersonal communication and relationship building are two key areas where I’ve expended extra effort and focus on, as they are vital to the work I do at PetSmart.


As I reflect on my nearly five years with PetSmart, I continue to be amazed by my cross-functional partners, teammates, and leaders. In my current role, I frequently work with store teams, field leaders, and associates at all levels in various departments. There hasn’t been a single time where someone at PetSmart made me feel uncomfortable or inferior due to my impediment. I’ve been so fortunate to have leaders at PetSmart who not only make me feel like I belong but actually challenge me to stretch my perceived limitations. I have actively participated in Associate Resource Group leadership and continue to serve as a mentor for summer interns and the associate Talent Acceleration Program (TAP). Our core value of being United Together holds a near and dear place in my heart, and I am forever grateful for my warm and welcoming PetSmart family.