Career Profile: Beckie Peskin- Senior Equine Brand Manager at Merial
Career coaches always say that if you have a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. Those who love horses often want to find a career that not only supports their equine lifestyle, but is also connected to that lifestyle. However, how many jobs are really out there in the horse industry? Is it just trainers, vets, and farriers? The answer is a resounding, “No!” The more the industry continues to develop, the more jobs there are in sectors many people don’t know exist, let alone have considered.
At Pleasurehorse.com, we want to bring to light some of these great careers in the industry and the people who shape them which is why we will be showcasing various Career Profiles from time to time, starting with our first profile on Beckie Peskin, Senior Equine Brand Manger at Merial.
Beckie is no stranger to the horse industry and has a successful AQHA Amateur career. She also works for one of the largest and most renowned animal health companies in the world which allows her to put her longtime knowledge of the horse industry to use in her professional life.
We talked to Beckie to find out more about her role, how she got to where she is today, where she sees it going, and how it fits in with her equine lifestyle.
Name: Beckie Peskin
Current Title/Company: Senior Equine Brand Manager at Merial
Education: BS in Agricultural Sciences from The Pennsylvania State University
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I live in Roswell, GA (right outside of Atlanta) with my husband Kevin and daughter Ella Peskin (and our corgi Sienna). I have shown since I was old enough to sit up there by myself. I grew up in Pennsylvania on a small farm with my horses in my back yard. I’ve had QH’s for a long time, but only after years of begging was able to convince my mom to let me try AQHA shows my last year as a youth. I fell in love and never stopped, although I show a lot less now due to work and family commitments.
What is an overall summary of your current position?
I manage the marketing and product management for all of the equine business for Merial. This includes everything from forecasting sales and supply to marketing and promotional activities.
What made you decide to go into the equine pharmaceutical business and how did you break into the market?
I worked in a physician’s office during college and was the key point of contact for those reps. I thought that it would be amazing to mix that with my love of animals and try to get into the animal pharmaceutical business. I was VERY lucky that one of my family’s good friends was also the local veterinarian (Tammy Eichstadt – she and her daughters show AQHA hunter events)….her Merial rep walked into her office asking if she knew anyone who would be interested in a fill-in role for him. I spent 6.5 years as a companion animal rep and then came into the equine marketing group.
What is a regular day like for you?
Oh boy, it can range greatly. In the office, it’s a lot of meetings with everyone from the supply planners, to packaging folks, to our ad agency. Some days it could be working on a business development project (projecting sales for a product we are evaluating for purchase), some days it could be presenting a strategic plan for our products to upper management. Every now and then, they let me out of the building and I get to attend a gastroscopy event or trainer summit or ride with a rep making calls.
What are the most exciting aspects of your job?
Knowing that the products we make can truly make a big difference in the performance and well-being of horses. I love the times when I can talk directly to trainers or horse owners about issues they are having with their horses and then later (after they’ve treated, etc.) about improvements they’ve seen.
How does your job affect your ability to ride and show? Are you currently showing and if so, what events?
Well, it has definitely limited my showing compared to when I was out in the field. BUT, I also can sometimes combine work and showing, so it’s all a give and take. I show the amateur all-around events – although I have a more green horse right now so we’re really just starting to add more events. I have had horses with Robin and Jenny Frid for many years, but recently brought mine back to GA so I could get to ride more (since I’m showing less).
You’ve been at Merial for 15 years. How has have your responsibilities changed since you began working there? What challenges and opportunities keep you excited about your job?
I started as a sales rep for the companion animal business – calling on Small Animal veterinarians – now I am in a marketing/brand management role so dealing more with the overall strategy for the products. I think my favorite challenge and our biggest opportunity is to show the value proposition of our products vs other options available AND vs other more “fun” things horse owners may want to buy! Safe and effective medications aren’t nearly as cool as a new saddle or a new pair of boots – but they can certainly be a bigger factor on your success in the show pen!
For youth who are just beginning their college careers, or even college students who are still looking for their career path with horses, what advice would you give them?
Really explore what is out there. I talk to a lot of kids who love horses, so they think “I want to be a horse trainer” because they don’t realize how many other options there are. Let’s face it, most of us aren’t talented enough to train horses! We are much better amateurs. There are so many other options out there – nutrition companies, pharmaceutical companies, equipment/advertising, etc. Just ask around. Talk to your vet, your tack store, your feed store – see what is out there and then go talk to folks in those professions.