“There is nothing more gratifying than listening to pet parent’s stories, including how they came to adopt their pets … We may not be able to find a home for every pet who needs one, but I’m sure going to try.”
Mike Schultheis has been inspiring the teams at local PetSmart stores for more than 13 years. He’s come full circle. Before signing on at PetSmart, he visited a few stores during a PetSmart Charities’ National Adoption Week and was convinced joining PetSmart was the next best step in his career. Empowering the staff and leadership in stores to perform optimally for pet parents has been gratifying. While he’s served in several key leadership roles over the years with PetSmart, including District Manager, Vice President of Store Operations and field roles including Regional and Area Vice President, he’s most connected in the work he does at the intersection of pets and people.
Prior to joining PetSmart, Mike honed his skills in retail management at Kmart and Office Depot, a departure from his original plan. He started with a degree in Marketing but found more compelling opportunities in retail business.
When the opportunity at PetSmart became available, the company’s mission, vision and values resonated. The commitment to do, “Anything for Pets,” he says is consistently tied back to business decisions and conduct. The most magical part of the business he says, takes place when the passion of the store associates meets those of pet parents. His role takes him across the country, influencing the execution of stores’ adherence to PetSmart’s high standards and ensuring the home office meets the needs of pet parents, associates and store leaders. He finds it most rewarding to develop talent and strong teams that drive change and innovation.
Realizing the opportunities at stores to increase pet adoptions led him to join the Board of Directors of PetSmart Charities. Now he leverages his connections to the field teams to strengthen their relationships with local animal welfare partners by making meaningful connections for collaboration during National Adoption Weeks, especially.
with Mike Schultheis
Why do you think pets are important in the lives of people?
I believe that pets are important in the lives of people for many reasons. It starts with unconditional love. Pets are amazing companions that are always there to listen and to hang out with – and all they want is simply love in return. Our pets are there for us and help to reduce stress and loneliness and improve our mental health. The benefits go on and on, but the most important is just what I started with — unconditional love. We can always use a little more of that.
How has your pet (or a previous pet) changed your life?
The pets in my life have changed me for sure. From a very early age I began to understand the value of patience and routines when it came to pet parenting. First, training creates positive behavioral changes in both of us, culminating in an amazing bond. The need for routines is essential and developing routines around feeding, walking, and playing really help build loving trust.
What makes you most excited about working with PetSmart Charities?
I am most excited about working with PetSmart Charities because I am so aligned with the vision and values of the organization. “A world where communities unite in support of pets together with their families,” inspires me. Understanding why pets are surrendered and assisting pet parents with the resources they need to keep pets in their homes — and families together — motivates me.