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

Global Pet Expo Academy Seminar Speakers




Bill Bookout 


Dana Brooks

Amy Castro

Phil Chang

Candace D'Agnolo


Nancy Hassel


Dan Jablons 

Curt Jacques

Amy Kerr

Dr. Susan Little


Leel Michelle

Chris Miller

Tom Shay

Lynn Switanowski

Kenny Vannuci





Bill Bookout, National Animal Supplement Council (NASC)

Bill Bookout is president of the National Animal Supplement Council and a leading industry voice for animal supplements, including cannabis and cannabis derivative products. Mr. Bookout holds a BS in physical sciences from University of Wyoming and an MBA from the Pepperdine University Presidents and Key Executives MBA program. He was selected in 2017 for a Colorado Department of Agriculture committee exploring viable pathways for inclusion of hemp in animal feed. He testified in May 2019 at the FDA’s public hearing on CBD. Mr. Bookout currently leads NASC’s efforts to define responsible and viable pathways forward for these products in a very rapidly growing and dynamic environment.

Dana Brooks, Pet Food Institute (PFI)

Dana Brooks serves as president and CEO of the Pet Food Institute (PFI), the national trade association representing 98 percent of pet food and treats manufactured in the U.S. Dana has worked in government relations for nearly 18 years representing a range of agricultural interests. Her resume includes director of government relations for Elanco Animal Health, senior vice president of government relations at the National Milk Producers Federation, and director of public policy at the American Farm Bureau Federation. Prior to joining PFI, Dana was the senior director of government relations at Land O’Lakes, Inc., where she focused on state governments and industry relations. She was recently nominated as a Woman of Influence for the pet industry in January 2019 and will be recognized in Pet Age magazine this spring. Dana also serves on the board of directors for Pet Partners, the nation’s largest nonprofit registering animals with their human handlers as therapy animal teams.

Amy Castro, Triad Communications, LLC

Amy Castro is a communication, hiring, and customer service expert with 20+ years’ experience helping businesses increase productivity, decrease conflict, and improve customer service. She helps retailers tackle difficult issues like hiring the right employees for their teams, training them to provide “Best in Show” service, and getting teams to work together! She also helps business owners and managers coach and lead their teams to optimal performance. Amy has written two books and hundreds of articles in her areas of expertise and she’s a monthly management section contributor to Pet Age magazine. She also holds a master’s degree in Communications.

Phil Chang, Retail Phil

As a retail industry expert and co-host of “This Commerce Life” podcast, Phil tracks emerging trends and insights that may impact businesses engaged in commerce. With 20 years of experience under his belt, Phil helps brands and retailers adapt to the new realities of retail and the next generation of commerce. With three kids, he’s more familiar with Gen Z than he’d care to admit. A frequent speaker at industry events in Canada and the US, across multiple verticals, you’ll find him searching for unique local businesses everywhere he goes.

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. 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-bystep systems for every facet of pet businesses unique challenges so you can skip the struggle and achieve your goals.

Nancy Hassel, American Pet Professionals

Nancy Hassel is the founder and president of American Pet Professionals, an awardwinning business-networking and educational organization for the pet industry since 2009. She has led over 100 in-person educational networking events, seminars, fundraisers and online events for pet industry professionals. A Public Relations specialist for the pet industry, Nancy works with pet companies in many aspects of PR, event planning, media relations and training. 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.

Dan Jablons, Retail Sales Guys Inc.

Dan Jablons worked in retail while attending Ohio State University. He has worked with retailers such as Walmart, Target, JC Penney, Donna Karan, Jimmy Choo, Charles David, Diesel, Oakley, Tumi, and many others. He did his first work in retail at a leading point-ofsale provider, providing merchandising help to retailers large and small, and internet marketing consulting. In addition to his vast retail background, Dan performed with comedy troupes across the USA, and recently appeared on Curb Your Enthusiasm. He brings his unique, funny style to deliver funny and engaging educational sessions that audiences love. 

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.

Amy Kerr, SPINS, LLC

Amy Kerr is SPINS’ director of business development in their pet division. Amy has a wealth of experience having spent the last 13 years in the pet industry. In her current role, Amy helps pet specialty retailers innovate, differentiate, and drive shopper loyalty. Prior to SPINS, Amy was instrumental at The Bramton Company, growing both the OUT! international brand in retail as well as the Simple Solution and Bags on Board brands with specialty pet retailers. She also served as a director of national accounts at PETEDGE where she managed relationships with key brick-and-mortar and e-commerce customers - while playing a pivotal role in sales, marketing and product development.

Susan Little, DVM, DABVP (Feline)

Dr. Susan Little received her BSc from Dalhousie University (Nova Scotia, Canada) and her DVM from the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has been in feline practice since 1990 and achieved board certification in Feline Practice in 1997. She is part owner of two feline specialty practices in Ottawa, Canada. She is a past president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and the Winn Feline Foundation. She is currently an International Council for Veterinary Assessments board member. She is a peer reviewer for veterinary journals as well as the author of many journal articles. Dr. Little is the recipient of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association Small Animal Practitioner Award (2010), the NAVC Small Animal Speaker of the Year Award (2013), and the International Society of Feline Medicine/Hill’s Pet Nutrition Award for outstanding contributions to feline medicine (2013). She is the editor and co-author of two textbooks: The Cat – Clinical Medicine and Management (2012) and August’s Consultations in Feline Internal Medicine, Volume 7 (2015).

Leel Michelle, Bow Wow Beauty Shoppe

Bow Wow Dog Bakery, founded by Leel Michelle in 2006, is an award-winning retro pet grooming salon, pet boutique, and dog bakery in San Diego, CA. Bow Wow Dog Bakery is also home to the international grooming apparel brand, Retro Stylist Wear. Following a career in corporate retail management and corporate amusement park management, Leel was inspired by her pint size Chihuahua, Frida, and Standard Poodle, Mumsie to create brands that utilized her skills, creativity, and passion to build memorable businesses catering to pets and their pet parents. Leel also enjoys giving back to the pet industry with trade show speaking engagements, creating published print and online content as well as consulting with pet store owners and groomers to add and improve their retail merchandising and grooming salons.

Chris Miller, Pacific Store Designs

Chris Miller, president of Pacific Store Designs, has been active in the design and development of the retail pet industry for the past 35+ years. Pacific Store Designs offers retailers design services, fixtures sales, custom cabinetry, vented custom animal enclosures, licensed general contracting, architectural Services all 50 US states through permit procurement, professional installations, merchandising assistance, and educational seminar presentations/training. His expertise ranges from business planning, costing and budgeting, sales projections, and payback analysis return on investments. Chris has designed well over 3,500 retail stores worldwide.

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 Award for editorial excellence in business media. He has earned the Certified Speaking Professional distinction, which has been attained by 8% percent of speakers worldwide.

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.

Kenny Vannucci, Cardan Marketing & Consulting Services

Has worked in the retail industry for 39 years in various roles and categories. After 26 years with London Drugs, he ventured out on his own to help small businesses and small-time entrepreneurs that were in the CPG (consumer packaged goods) space. Known in the retailer community as a “Champion of the Small Brand,” enabled him to make the leap. Today, he helps small companies become more successful by identifying where to focus to build the most value for their brands. When not working with small retailers, small manufacturers, small food and haba distributors and the entrepreneurs within the food and health and beauty categories, he co-hosts “This Commerce Life” podcasts with Phil Chang, Retail Phil.