March 22-24, 2023
Orange County Convention Center
Orlando, FL
American Pet Products Association (APPA) Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA)

Global Pet Expo Academy Speaker Bios

Suzanne M. Boy, Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A.

Suzanne Boy is an employment lawyer who is passionate about assisting her clients with all aspects of  employment  law and HR-related issues. Suzanne regularly assists her clients  with employee handbooks; wage/hour audits; supervisory training; and employee termination, leave, and disciplinary issues, and she strives to help clients proactively and cost-effectively resolve workplace issues. When litigation cannot be avoided, Suzanne represents her clients in all types of employment litigation. She frequently speaks to business and professional groups on various employment matters, and serves as the lead writer of the firm’s employment law blog.

Phil Chang, Hubba

Hubba’s resident Retail Expert. Phil’s been around the block when it comes to all things retail with experience at companies like  Johnson  &  Johnson, Unilever, Pfizer and Target. He’s done everything from being a sales guy to a buyer to global franchiser. From price points and margins, to the best products in any industry—he’s the guy you go to when you’re looking for answers on retail industry trends and analytics, what the industry is thinking about today, tomorrow and a year from now.

Tom Crossman, Tom Crossman Creative

Tom Crossman has been a successful store designer for much of the last 10 years, designing for the big guys  and the little guys including Dollywood, London Fog, Joe Boxer, LEGOLAND, and visual projects for many of the big film studios, including projects for Star Wars and Barbie. His clients hire him not just for his design skills, but also because he knows the business side of retail. His 30-year retail career has encompassed sales, buying and store management, as well as leading seminars at theme parks, and speaking at NY Toy Fair. Tom previous worked at FAO Schwarz  as Creative Director for the 42-store chain, Toys R Us  as Marketing VP in charge of in-store visuals, as well as Macy’s Buyer and Department Manager and Disney Store- Store Manager.

Candace D'Agnolo, Pet Boss Nation

A pet industry veteran of 15 years (retail, wholesale, doggy daycare, grooming, training, dog walking), Candace  has  successfully translated her passion for pets  into multiple million-dollar businesses  (including  a  retail store sold to Marcus  Lemonis and Bentley’s Pet Stuff. Yes, THAT Marcus Lemonis!). She’s conquered cash flow, tackled team issues, traveled the world while business ran like clockwork at home, and created a PET BOSS lifestyle instead of working like a   dog in her business. But it wasn’t always that way! She’s turned obstacles into opportunities and created step-by- step systems for every facet of pet businesses unique challenges so you can skip the struggle and achieve your goals. Whether you’re working 70-hour weeks with no paycheck, stuck with stale inventory you just can’t move, wondering where your customers are and why your employees have forgotten you’re the boss, Candace can help you turn it all around. Pet Boss Nation is a coaching and consulting community bringing profits to pet businesses!

Jane Harrell, 'Cause Digital Marketing

Jane’s passion for helping pet businesses and focused understanding of the online pet-owner space has earned her a reputation for innovation, expertise and proven results with businesses like Discovery Communications (Petfinder), Purina and IDEXX Laboratories. As President of ‘cause Digital Marketing, a boutique, data-driven digital marketing  firm  for  pet  businesses,  Jane  leverages  her 16 years in the pet industry and 10+ in digital marketing to lead digital strategy and implementation from the ground-up, creating tangible financial results. Jane’s entrepreneurial spirit mixes with her hands-on digital expertise to uniquely qualify her as  a  leader  who not only envisions and creates strategy, but    brings together and leads teams that  get it done.

Nancy Hassel, American Pet Professionals

Nancy Hassel is the founder and President of American Pet Professionals, an award winning business-networking and educational organization for the pet industry since 2009. A Public Relations specialist for the pet industry, Nancy works with pet companies in many aspects of PR, event planning, media relations and training for pet professionals. Nancy is also a speaker at various pet industry conferences, a writer for pet trade and consumer magazines, blogger and photographer,  and was a TV producer and production coordinator for 10+ years. Nancy also created a Responsible Dog Ownership program and taught over 2,500 pet parents in a 5-year period. Nancy resides on Long Island, NY and is the proud pet parent of Cody, a rescued American Pit Bull Terrier.

Curt Jacques, West Lebanon Feed & Supply

Curt Jacques is the Owner and President of West Lebanon Feed & Supply, recognized as one of the most highly- awarded independent retail/ wholesale businesses in the industry. He is also the founder of Retail Mechanics Business Consulting Services, and has nearly 40 years of experience in sales and marketing in the pet/animal/agriculture arena. Combining years of practical knowledge from his tenure as a leading sales executive with a national pet and animal consumables manufacturer, along with his experience on  the “other side of the fence” as an independent retailer,   Curt provides a unique perspective that has inspired countless others to follow their passion and achieve extraordinary success. Due to his perpetually forward- thinking approach and (occasionally unorthodox) entrepreneurial drive, Curt has become renowned among his  peers as a game-changer in the industry.

Lori Kleiman, HR Topics

Lori Kleiman has more than 25 years of experience advising companies on  HR issues. She has  deep  experience  working in family business, creating an entrepreneurial venture and running a division of a  fortune 500  organization.  Lori  founded a boutique HR consulting firm acquired  by  Arthur  J. Gallagher & Co. in 2007. Lori continued with Gallagher to lead the HR consulting practice until 2013, when she left for her next venture, HR Topics. HR topics bring HR   to small business in a way that is relevant, actionable and manageable. Lori has a master’s degree in human resources, is SPHR and SHRM-SCP certified and a member of the National Speakers Association.

Anne Obarski, Merchandise Concepts

As a customer service strategist, Anne works with companies to develop and deliver innovative ways to keep customers coming back and spreading the word about their service experience every step of the way. Anne believes that customer service isn’t about the transaction,  its’ about transforming customer relationships into a contagious experience...worth spreading. Her interactive keynotes and workshops help challenge leaders, create more effective sales teams and improve performance at each and every customer service touchpoint. Anne works with small to mid- sized businesses and professional associations.

Tom Shay, Profits Plus Solutions

Tom Shay is a fourth-generation small business owner. His teachings provide the “nuts and bolts” necessary to improve the operation and profitability of  the business. Tom has authored thirteen books on small business management and a college textbook on small business accounting  and  business  planning.  Having  written over 400 columns in 75 trade publications, he has been nominated three times for the Jesse H. Neal for editorial excellence in business media. He has earned the Certified Speaking Professional distinction, which has been attained by 8% percent of speakers worldwide.

Ben Smith, Callahan Creek

Ben Smith is Director of Social and Emerging Media at Callahan Creek. As a community of thinkers and makers, Callahan Creek provides full-service marketing support to brands across the U.S., and focuses on rejuvenating brand health, sales and profitability. Ben works with a diverse range of consumer brands to integrate social media into all aspects of daily operation, from developing strategy and process, to providing employee training, to guiding community management and other tactical executions. His clients include major brands in the companion animal and pet pharmaceutical space. He also works extensively with emerging media and technologies, exploring and evaluating key trends that impact consumer brand relationships and guiding brands to adopt new consumer-facing technologies. Ben has hosted more than 100 social media and technology- related conferences, and regularly speaks to diverse audiences at conferences and trade events across the U.S.

J. Nichole Smith, Working with Dog

Nichole has been engaging  with pet businesses for over 10 years. Her approach to keynotes, break-out sessions and workshops alike, is an emphasis on  honesty, humor and action. As an author, photographer, designer, marketing strategist and serial entrepreneur, Nichole’s insights into the mixed-up worlds of creativity, self-employment and marketing are comprehensive and unparalleled in the pet industry. Her abilities to  connect with her audience, consistently deliver ‘ah-ha’ moments and leave us empowered to take on the world, are a delight to behold. Her results-driven presentations center around a dogged approach to marketing, stories from a fascinating decade as a petpreneur and generous helpings of road-tested  strategies  for  achieving  scary goals, taking big leaps, earning serious money and building a dream life. Nichole was also selected as a “40 Under 40” Influencer by  Pet  Age.

Lynn Switanowski, Creative Business Consulting Group

Lynn Switanowski-Barrett is the Founder and President of CBCG a Boston, MA based Retail Consulting  firm.  With more than 29 years retail industry experience, CBCG partners with retailers and manufacturers to create and implement profit improving programs including inventory management, social media marketing and sales strategies. CBCG helps retail businesses of all size understand the business opportunities created by changing consumer trends and helps business owners learn to harness the power of new media and marketing tools to connect with today’s “wired” consumers. Lynn speaks frequently at retail trade shows across North America and teaches retail marketing and branding at several colleges in the  Boston area. She began her career at as a buyer at Federated Department stores.