Lyssa McGowan
A CEO’s perspective

Lyssa McGowanAs a young girl growing up in the 1970’s and 80’s I had a thirst to prove what I was capable of and a hunger to succeed. But gendered adjectives like bossy, pushy, and arrogant (not strong, capable and confident) aimed to put me back in my (woman’s) place. This was an era when women had to be more macho than the guys just to get a place at the table. I knew I would have to get there in spite of being a woman.

As a young woman at work in the 90’s and 00’s I of course had my share of nasty “me too” moments, but society also shifted. I was lucky to have great and generous mentors of both sexes who reached down to pull me up. Women in leadership forums, gender diversity targets, networking sessions all helped me find my way. I felt very strongly that I had an obligation to lead because I was a woman. But that is a pretty narrow platform on which to stand, and a lot of pressure to heap on your own shoulders.

Today, I feel I can lead simply and authentically as a woman, informed of course by being female, but not defined or constrained by it. I am grateful every day that I live in a time in history and a place in geography where that is true: for billions of women around the world it remains a fierce and distant dream.

My own journey has fuelled a passion for diversity and inclusion in all its wonderful forms. I love to bring teams together including people from all walks of life, understanding that everyone has had their own journey and their unique struggles. Forging a path forward together is a beautiful human endeavour, and it makes for a better business!

At Pets we have brilliant women, men, minority ethnic, LGBT, neuro-diverse , less- able, young and old vets, groomers and retail colleagues from right across the UK. Our strength is in our diversity and the way we work together to bring the best products, services and advice to guide the nation’s pet lovers to take the best care of their cats, dogs, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, fish, snakes, chickens, monitor lizards…..

That’s because we are all united by a common purpose: to create a better world for pets and the people who love them.

February 2024