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PORTLAND, Ore. (August 6, 2013)Women in the Pet Industry Network (WIPIN), the industry-leading organization focused on women entrepreneurs who want to grow their pet businesses, has selected 22 speakers for its The Start of Something Big! Conference & Awards Show, Aug. 23-25, 2013 in Portland. The networking group has also named the 25 finalists for its first annual Woman of the Year Award competition, and will be announcing the winners at a ceremony held in conjunction with the conference on Aug. 24.

Confirmed speakers include Mike Linville of Black Dog Studios, Kristen Levine of Fetching Communications &, Beke Lubeach of Dog Bone Marketing Solutions, Yvonne DiVita of BlogPaws, and Rose Hamilton of Pet360, among many others. In addition to the general and breakout sessions, The Start of Something Big! will also feature an expert panel discussion with some of the industry’s leading public relations and marketing professionals. The full list of speakers and their topics are available here.

The Woman of the Year Awards were designed to recognize the industry’s leading businesswomen in five different categories, including Solopreneur, Entrepreneur, Corporation, Advocate and Rising Star. A panel of four independent judges selected five finalists from each category, and one winner will be selected from each category and one overall Pet Industry Woman of the Year will be selected from the 25 finalists at this year’s show. The finalists in each category include:

Penny Johnson, Sturdi Products, Inc.
Wendy Shankin-Cohen, Dr. Harvey’s
Patti Moran, Pet Sitters International
Shannon Heggem, Shannon Heggem International
Amy Nichols, Dogtopia

Kristen Levine, Fetching Communications
Gila Kurtz, Dog Is Good, LLC
Rose Hamilton, Pet 360
Rebecca Rose, In Clover, Inc.
Teresa Murphy, Guinea Pig Cages/Market

Carol Bryant, BlogPaws
Darleen Wheelington, Wagin’ Tales
Virginia Hamilton, Canine Commandos of Brevard County Schools
Patricia Jones, Paws PR
Amy Cox, The Paws Cause

Rising Star
Stephanie Boone, Wondercide, LLC
Jane Harrell, Purina Pet Care
Beke Lubeach, Dog Bone Marketing Solutions
Cindy Dunston Quirk, Scout and Zoe’s
Natalie Robbins, Litter One

Vicki Rae Thorne, Earth Heart, Inc.
Christina Massie, Club K-9 Doggy Daycare
Michelle Gaylord, Dog Lover Gift Baskets and Eternal Paw Prints
Denise Fleck, Sunny-Dog Ink
Vicki Lynne Morgan, Animal Brands

Registration for The Start of Something Big! Conference & Awards Show is still open online at Registration for the three-day conference is $299 for members and $499 for non-members. Pet professionals can become a member of WIPIN for just $97 annually. Individuals who would like to join WIPIN and attend the conference can save $103.

Additionally, WIPIN member and conference speaker Robin Samora of Robin Samora Inc. is teaming up with WIPIN to offer three scholarships for women to attend this year’s show. Female pet professionals who would like to be considered for a scholarship are invited to submit a 300-word essay that highlights: their vision and how they see themselves making a difference in the pet industry; how their contribution will give back to the community; and the positive impact that their work will have on other women. Essays must be submitted to Robin(at)robinsamorainc(dot)com by 11:59pm EDT Sunday, Aug. 11. Scholarships cover admission to the event. Applicants are responsible for travel, accommodation and other expenses.

WIPIN is a membership networking organization providing a forum for women whose careers specialize in the pet industry. Headquartered near Portland, WIPIN includes representatives from the many career paths that exist within the pet industry, including groomers, kennels, pet store operators, trainers, breeders and animal welfare organizations.

For more information or to register for The Start of Something Big! Conference & Awards Show, please visit

About Women in the Pet Industry Network (WIPIN)
Established in 2010, and then acquired in 2012 by Shawna Schuh, the current president and Chief Pet Wrangler, WIPIN is headquartered near Portland, Ore., and serves a worldwide membership base of women in the pet industry. WIPIN helps entrepreneurial women grow their pet-focused businesses through unique networking opportunities, valuable business growth meetings and online resources. The Start of Something Big! Conference & Awards Show in August 2013 will bring women together to connect, network, and learn how to grow their pet-focused businesses. WIPIN is affiliated with Black Dog Education, Animal Wellness Magazine and With nearly 300 members, WIPIN is the premier networking organization for women in the pet industry, offering its members the opportunity to connect, share and learn from other likeminded professionals. Learn more about the benefits of becoming a member at For more information, please visit, or contact Schuh at 503-970-5774, 877-474-2962 or

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Media Contact:
Shawna Schuh

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