HABRI’s Board of Trustees is comprised of an impressive group of dedicated leaders from the animal health and pet care communities. HABRI is grateful for the commitment, dedication and vision of the HABRI Board of Trustees, all of who work tirelessly to advance the HABRI mission for a healthier, more pet-friendly society.
Board of Trustees
J. Michael McFarland, DVM, DABVPEVP and Group President of Accelerated Growth Businesses, ZoetisChair
Dr. Mike McFarland received his undergraduate degree in Animal Science from Texas A&M University in 1980 and his DVM from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M in 1985. He is board certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. Before joining Pfizer Animal Health (now Zoetis), he was a companion animal veterinary clinician for 15 years, including 5 years as the Medical Director for one of the country’s first after-hours emergency practices in Dallas, Texas.
Mike started his career with Pfizer Animal Health in January 2000 as an Area Veterinarian in Texas and was given positions of increasing responsibility over the next several years. In 2010, Mike then served as the Group Director for Veterinary Medical Services. He was the Senior Medical Advisor on the US Operations Leadership Team, Chair of the US Veterinary Leadership Team and responsible for Veterinary Medical Information & Product Support (Drug Safety) as well as US Academic and Professional Affairs. His efforts were instrumental in establishing the multi-million dollar Pfizer Animal Health Veterinary Student Scholarship Award.
Mike is currently EVP and Group President of Accelerated Growth Business at Zoetis.
Mike serves on the board of directors for American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization. He is also one of the Founders, and currently Vice President of the board of trustees, for the Human Animal Bond Research Institute. He was honored as an Outstanding Alumnus of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University in 2012 and received the National Humanitarian Medal from American Humane in 2016.
Susanne KogutExecutive Director, Petco FoundationVice Chair
Susanne Kogut has been the Petco Foundation Executive Director since June 2013. Before joining the Foundation, she served as the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA Executive Director, where she transformed the open-admission SPCA into an award-winning, nationally recognized lifesaving model. Prior to that, Susanne held several positions at Capital One Financial Corporation and was an attorney with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Brown & Wood. Susanne shares her home her with five dogs and a variety of different foster pets.
Steve King, CAEPresident & CEO, American Pet Products Association
Steve King took over the helm as President & CEO of the American Pet Products Association (APPA) in 2019. In his role, King works in collaboration with APPA members, the APPA Board of Directors, staff and other associations to align industry goals that further the interests and success of the pet care community. He oversees all Association operations and is responsible for growing support for APPA’s Pets Add Life (PAL) initiative, as well as other organizations including Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) Pets and Vets Program, the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), Bird Enjoyment and Advantage Koalition (BEAK), and the Pet Care Trust. King also serves as the Association’s spokesperson, reporting on the industry spending figures and trends in the pet care community, and speaking to the pet industry’s most comprehensive research study, the APPA’s National Pet Owners Survey.
Prior to joining APPA, King served as president of the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA) from 1990 to 2018. During his time at PIDA, King played a key role in spearheading the effort to combine the former APPMA Show and the PIDA PETS Show to form what is now the premier industry event, Global Pet Expo. Additionally, King was integral in forming the Pet Industry Leadership Summit, an annual event for the industry’s leading voices and emerging thought leaders. He was also co-founder of King Management Group, a full-service management firm to trade and professional associations, and owned the firm from 2012 until it sold in 2020. In addition, King served as Executive Director from 2009-2018 for The Pet Care Trust, a non-profit foundation that promotes pets and education by sponsoring the Pets in the Classroom grant program. Since its inception in 2011, the program has provided more than 175,000 classrooms in the U.S. and Canada with small animals, aquarium fish and reptiles as an aid to education and to promote the joy of pet ownership.
In 1994, King earned the American Society of Association Executive’s (ASAE) Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation and has been recertified every three years since that time. King was honored as Pet Industry Executive of the Year by Pet Business in 2016, and is also a past recipient of Pet Age’s prestigious ICON Award.
King obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. He continued his education and earned his Juris Doctor from George Washington University School of Law. He serves as a board member for Pet Partners and HABRI. King is past President of the Maryland Society of Association Executives (MSAE), is past Chairman of the Association Education Alliance (AEA), and past Chairman of the Small Business Legislative Council (SBLC).
Carrie DeverellVice President, Global Science Corporate Affairs, Mars Petcare
Carrie Deverell is Vice President, Global Science Corporate Affairs at Mars Petcare. Since joining Mars Petcare in 2018 Carrie has created a scientific advocacy & communications function aimed at helping pet owners, veterinarians and other pet professionals better understand scientific and technological advances in pet care that bring insights and learnings to support Mars Petcare’s purpose: A Better World For Pets.
Previously Carrie lead global communications and advocacy for major biotech and pharma companies such as Amgen in California, AstraZeneca in the UK and Roche in Switzerland. Carrie also held policy communications positions for the British Government, at the Department of Trade & Industry, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Cabinet Office; and for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in Toronto, Canada.
Janet Donlin, DVMExecutive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, AVMA
Dr. Donlin was Chief Executive Officer of AVMA Professional Liability Insurance Trust (AVMA PLIT) since April 2013. Dr. Donlin’s hiring marks her return to the AVMA for which she first started working in 1991 as an assistant director in what was then the AVMA Scientific Activities Division.
Over the course of the next 17 years, she served as an Interim Division Director, Associate Executive Vice President and Assistant Executive Vice President at American Veterinary Medical Association. From 2000 to 2001, Dr. Donlin served at AVMA as interim Chief Executive Officer of the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues, where she oversaw the establishment of the commission as a nonprofit organization.
From August 2007 to March 2013, Dr. Donlin served as Chief Veterinary Officer of the Global Veterinary Business Channel of Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. There she provided veterinary insights to drive development of innovative products and services to meet the evolving needs of the veterinary profession and pet owners.
Dr. Donlin has professional membership in several associations, including AVMA, the American Animal Hospital Association, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association, the American Society of Association Executives, and the American Association of Corporate and Public Practice Veterinarians. She was a board member of the American Association of Corporate and Public Service Veterinarians. She was a Trustee of the AVMA’s Group Health Life Insurance Trust (now AVMA Life).
She is a licensed veterinarian in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Dr. Donlin is the first veterinarian to earn the Certified Association Executive credential from the American Society of Association Executives.
She received both her DVM and her Bachelor of Science degree in medical technology from the University of Minnesota. She is also a graduate of the veterinary technician program at the Medical Institute of Minnesota.
Vic MasonPresident, WPA
Vic Mason has a 40-year tenure in the pet industry. Mason served as CEO and co-founder of Replenish Pet. Previously, he was director of business development and key accounts at Veterinary Service, a large West Coast distributor servicing the animal health industry. Mason has been a WPA board member since 2010 most recently serving as chairman.
Heidi SirotaChief Pet Officer, Nationwide
Heidi Sirota serves as Nationwide’s Chief Pet Officer, leading the nation’s first and largest provider of pet insurance in its quest to protect 1 million pets. She joined Nationwide in 2018 as vice president of marketing for the Retirement Plans business and led an expansion of its capabilities and markets.
Before joining Nationwide, Heidi transformed consumer experiences in health care. As UnitedHealth Group’s Optum Bank vice president of marketing, she pioneered the retailization of health savings accounts, and as a marketing executive at Aetna and ConnectiCare she introduced new, engaging ways for consumers to shop for health insurance and get care.
Heidi started her career in commercial bank operations, then moved into investment and insurance marketing leadership at The Phoenix Companies. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Loyola Marymount University and completed executive education from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Marcie WhichardVice President of Professional & Community Relations, NAVC
Marcie Whichard has been in retail corporate management for over 30 years. She was most recently the Vice President, Industry and Public Affairs for Petco Animal Supplies, Inc. A seasoned professional with broad U.S. and global experience, including internal & external corporate communications, community outreach, crisis management, message development, brand management, advocacy, ally development, and budget accountability. Specializing in the areas of industry and public affairs, branding, government affairs and issues management.
Previously Marcie was the Vice President for Animal Care, Education and Compliance. In this capacity she provided the overall leadership and strategy for all animal care issues and concerns, developed and executed strategies to improve and maintain consistency in the care, health and sale of animals and implemented standards for the company in conjunction with animal welfare standards and regulatory requirements. She facilitated the Independent Animal Care Advisory Council made up of world renowned experts in animal health, welfare and ethics. Marcie also led Petco’s Think Adoption First initiative to find loving homes for adoptable animals.
Prior to leading the animal care initiatives at Petco, Marcie was the Vice President of Operations for the West Coast with P&L responsibility for $870M in annual sales revenue from 300 retail units. In this role she co-developed company business imperatives to align with company strategy. She also planned and executed new store openings and remodels, including analysis of new markets, selection of real estate, and forecasting sales and budgets.
Robert L. VeterePresident & CEO, American Pet Products Association (2002-2019)Board Member Emeritus
Bob Vetere was the President and CEO of the American Pet Products Association and served as President of the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI). Vetere has lead several pet industry wide initiatives including the formation of HABRI, the Pet Leadership Council (PLC) to strengthen and advance the pet industry and Pets Add Life (PAL), a national social media campaign promoting responsible pet ownership. In his many roles, Vetere has made his mark in the industry and is often featured as spokesperson with guest columns in publications including Pet Business and Pet Product News and television appearances on such acclaimed shows as CNNFN, ABC’s World News Tonight, and CNBC. He has also been quoted in leading print outlets including USA Today and The Wall Street Journal. He is also author of the book From Wags to Riches: How Dogs Teach Us to Succeed in Business & Life.
Responsible for APPA, HABRI, PLC and PAL, Vetere aligns industry goals and works in collaboration with members, Board of Directors, staff and other industry associations to support and further the interests and success of the pet industry.
Before joining APPA over a decade ago, Bob served as senior vice president, administration, general counsel and secretary at Oil-Dri Corporation of America, a publicly traded $175 million international developer, manufacturer and marketer of brand name and private label products for pets, fluids purification and agriculture. Bob’s management responsibilities encompassed the areas of human resources, facilities management, law, environmental health and safety, product compliance, payroll, corporate safety, permitting and government relations. His achievements at Oil-Dri range from restructuring the Law and Human Resource departments to successfully negotiating a new labor contract with the United Steelworkers Union.
Prior to his position at Oil-Dri, Bob spent 25 years at First Brands Corporation, a $1.2 billion publicly traded manufacturer and marketer of consumer products, including GLAD Wrap and Bags, Prestone Anti-Freeze, and Scoop Away and Jonny Cat Pet Litter. While at First Brands Corporation, Bob held a number of positions including associate general counsel/director of government relations, senior corporate counsel, corporate director of professional development and senior corporate staff engineer.
Bob earned a Juris Doctor from Seton Hall School of Law, an M.B.A. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a B.S. in Management Science, also from R.P.I.
He is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, the New Jersey State Bar Association, and the American Society of Association Executives.
Bob and his wife Brenda reside in South Windsor and Stamford, Connecticut. In his free time, Bob enjoys catching Giants football games with his two sons.
Steven Feldman is the President of the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI). His mission is to advance the science that demonstrates the positive roles that pets and other animals play in the integrated health of individuals, families and communities.
Steven is an experienced public affairs advocate who has worked in the areas of wildlife conservation, animal welfare, healthcare and education. Prior to joining HABRI, Steve served as senior vice president for external affairs for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. He also worked at Powell Tate, a leading public affairs firm, and as a staff member in the United States Senate.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs and a Master’s Degree in Political Management from the George Washington University.