President & CEO -American Pet Products Association
Location: Stamford, Connecticut
Type: Full Time
Required Education: 4 Year Degree
The mission of the American Pet Products Association (APPA) is to promote responsible pet care and advance the pet products industry. Founded in 1958, APPA is the leading trade association in the pet industry comprised of 1,000 pet product manufacturers, their representatives, importers, and livestock suppliers. Its membership is diverse, representing both large corporations and growing businesses worldwide. APPA provides a wealth of services and programs designed to help its members grow and prosper. Among its key offerings are the following:
Global Pet Expo – The premier industry event presented by APPA and the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA) attended by independent retailers, distributors, mass-market buyers, and other qualified professionals. In 2020 the show had 350,000sq.ft. of paid exhibit space and more than 15,000 attendees.
Government & Regulatory Affairs - APPA has an established Government and Regulatory Affairs Department whose activities are directed towards the advancement of its members and the pet industry through member cooperation and advocacy. The department monitors and addresses key legislation and regulations, serves as a liaison between members and government officials on specific issues, and assists members in complying with Federal and state requirements. APPA also provides a comprehensive Products & the Law Library online, which includes summaries of current bills and proposed regulations.
Market Research - Since 1988, the association has published the APPA National Pet Owner’s Survey, the industry's most comprehensive consumer research study of demographics, buying habits and other traits of owners of dogs, cats, fish, birds, reptiles, small animals, and equine. Published every other year, the National Pet Owners Survey is the premier resource of its kind providing in-depth data on consumer behavior, product and service consumption, and lifestyle and media habits.
Additionally, APPA publishes the National Pet Market Opportunity Study, which focuses on non-pet owners in order to identify market opportunities and barriers to pet ownership, as well as its most recent APPA Generational Report that examines pet ownership by generation to identify trends, changes, and new opportunities in the pet products market.
Supporting the Industry. Leading the Way - As the pet industry’s leading association, APPA has worked to grow and support the industry in many ways beyond the direct services the association provides its members and retailers through Global Pet Expo. APPA has played a chief role in driving and developing significant programs designed to strengthen the industry, increase pet ownership, and build awareness of the joys and health benefits of pet ownership.
Some of the organizations that APPA supports include the following:
Pets Add Life - APPA’s Pets Add Life (PAL) program was launched in 2005 as a public service announcement effort and has since grown into a highly impactful social media campaign garnering millions of followers and impressions. PAL has become one of the leading voices for promoting the joys and benefits of pet ownership, growing responsible pet ownership and educating pet owners and potential pet owners on the proper care of companion animals. Through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Tik Tok, active and engaged PAL fans and followers are able to help spread our message to millions of their peers.
Over the years, PAL has featured several award-winning, shareable, timely video campaigns that have received hundreds of millions of views. The PAL website serves as a one-stop-shop to watch these engaging pet videos, take quizzes, and find adoptable pets across the nation via Petfinder.
Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) - In 2010 APPA took the lead in uniting the industry to form a new organization dedicated to gathering, funding, and sharing the scientific research that demonstrates the positive health impacts of companion animals on people. Since its inception, HABRI has served as a rallying point for a growing assembly of companies ranging from manufacturers, distributors and retailers to veterinarians and animal health organizations, all with the common goal of scientifically validating that pets are good for human health and promoting the human-animal bond.
HABRI is the leading resource for scientific research and information on the emotional, psychological, and physical interactions of people, animals, and the environment. Since its formation in 2010, HABRI has created the world’s largest online library of human-animal interaction science, HABRI Central, and has funded more than $3 million in innovative research projects. HABRI Central has become a powerful tool utilized by academics and research scientists to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals. www.HABRI.org
HABRI Pet Giving Network - The HABRI Pet Giving Network is a collaboration between HABRI and Greater Good Charities to connect pet care companies with companion animals in need of supplies and other resources. It provides a fast and effective way to mobilize the pet care community to respond to natural disasters and to ensure that pets in need receive the care they deserve.
Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation - Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation’s (ARF) core mission is the rescue of dogs and cats who have run out of time at public shelters, giving them a second chance at life. ARF couples this focus with innovative programs strengthening the human-animal bond for children, seniors, veterans, and people in disadvantaged circumstances. Through ARF, people experience the unconditional love and acceptance of dogs and cats to fulfill a mission of People Rescuing Animals ... Animals Rescuing People®.
In 2018, APPA pledged $1 million over the next four years to support expansion of ARF’s Pets and Vets program – pairing shelter dogs with veterans coping with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, anxiety, and other service-related challenges. ARF then guides the veteran and dog through a one-year training program, free of charge, to become psychiatric service dog teams.
Pet Care Trust & Pets in the Classroom - APPA has long been a sponsor of the Pet Care Trust whose mission is to promote public understanding of the joys and benefits of pets through education, support, and interaction, primarily through the Pets in the Classroom grant program.
To date, Pets in the Classroom has issued over 171,000 grants to teachers, and nearly 7 million children have experienced the joys and benefits of pet care since the program’s inception.
Teachers with classroom pets, which ranged from guinea pigs to small reptiles, saw significantly greater increases in overall social skills, including every subscale of the social skills measure (communication, cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, engagement, and self-control); social competence; and academic reading competence.
Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) - APPA has long been a supporter of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council’s work to represent the experience and expertise of the responsible pet care community to legislative, regulatory, and governing bodies. PIJAC monitors over 1,500 pieces of legislation involving pets and pet ownership at the local, state, and national level annually, engaging with lawmakers and regulators to protect and promote the ability of pet businesses to provide products, services and healthy animals to pet owners and caretakers.
The President & Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) will be an inspirational leader and advocate for APPA’s mission to advance the interests of the American pet products industry. They will be passionate about pets and their well-being. In partnership with the Board of Directors, staff, and other key stakeholders, the CEO will lead the development and implementation of a fresh strategic direction to support the industry’s growth and success. Building upon the momentum of the industry, they will ensure a robust value proposition for members including differentiated products and services of greatest priority to the membership. They will build the organization’s capacity and staff structure to effectively implement APPA’s priorities. The CEO will foster an innovative and collaborative culture that embraces excellence, customer service and results. Specifically, the CEO is responsible for the following:
Strategic Vision. In conjunction with the Board, facilitates and drives the development and successful implementation of APPA’s strategic and operational plans to ensure priority goals and objectives are achieved. Provides inspirational leadership, enabling the organization to innovate, grow, and increase impact across the American pet products community.
Board Relations. Builds and maintains trusting, transparent, and collaborative relationships with the Board. Engages the Board as appropriate for strategic guidance and insights to meet the evolving needs of the pet products industry. Informs the Board regularly on progress toward key strategic milestones.
Organizational and Staff Leadership. Attracts, engages, develops, and retains a talented diverse team of professionals to achieve excellence in APPA’s objectives. Fosters a culture of excellent customer service, innovation, collaboration, and results.
Fiscal Management. Develops and ensures a balanced budget annually that is aligned to the strategic goals and planned investments of the organization. Communicates regularly and transparently with the Board on performance to approved annual plan.
Service Delivery and Revenue Generation. Ensures a robust value proposition for members through development and delivery of best-in-class events and programs, publications, research, advocacy, and services. Continuously assesses offerings to ensure value and relevancy to the membership. Anticipates future needs and proactively innovates to meet those requirements. Leverages marketing data to make informed decisions on priorities and targeted investments.
External Affairs and Strategic Communications. Strengthens and extends APPA’s brand equity nationally to support the organization’s awareness among target audiences. Serves as a principal spokesperson in all venues. Orchestrates the development of a strategic communications plan to amplify the visibility of APPA’s initiatives. Communicates a strong value proposition to members, creating a compelling agenda that attracts, engages, and sustains strategic involvement of senior leaders in the industry. Leverages technology to communicate and engage with members effectively and efficiently.
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS
The ideal candidate will possess executive-level leadership skills and credibility to advance APPA’s mission and effectively develop and implement a visionary strategic plan for the organization. They will have demonstrated an exceptional track record for innovative leadership and change management with an organization of similar scale and complexity. They will possess executive gravitas and influence skills, essential for garnering the trust and engagement of the Board of Directors, membership, staff, and key stakeholders. They have served in executive leadership positions with staff leadership responsibility, leading teams through period of change and transformation. Most importantly, they must possess a passion for pets and their well-being.
Specific experience and qualifications also will include:
A strong commitment to advancing the mission and interests of the APPA.
Experience attracting, developing, and retaining strong talent, and building and managing a high-performing team in a results-oriented and fast-paced environment.
Outstanding relationship building and networking skills, key to forging and sustaining positive alliances and partnerships aligned with the critical interests of APPA. Personally accessible and proactive in engaging diverse stakeholders.
Stellar interpersonal and communications skills, with experience serving as a spokesperson and advocate for their organization. An active listener, who provides stewardship and servant leadership.
An out-of-the-box critical thinker who stays focused on latest news and trends in order to identify key themes and issues that will help membership adapt to and embrace dynamic shifts impacting the industry.
Strong business and financial acumen including strategic planning, services development, fiscal management, marketing, branding, and advocacy.
Understands the digital environment and how brands communicate with consumers. Embraces digital tools and analytics to engage the industry effectively.
Effective at dealing with ambiguity, with the agility to pivot as appropriate to address the evolving needs of the membership.
Association leadership experience is a strong plus.