Betsy Feaster will leverage the leadership experience she gained in the Air Force and at Exxon to propel the brand forward in her new role.
Following a long career ranging from the Air Force to senior leadership at ExxonMobil and multi-unit franchise ownership, Betsy Feaster has recently been named as the new CEO of Dog Training Elite. Making the leap from franchise owner to CEO may have been unexpected for Feaster, but given her long history of leadership and passion for dog training, it’s a move that made sense for everyone.
The dog training franchise is known for supporting owners in creating strong relationships and providing reliable training for their pets. They have over 300 locations across the nation and provide a variety of training methods that are customizable to each client and their pet.
An Unexpected Career Turn
After six years living and working abroad, Feaster came home to the U.S. and shortly after became a franchisee with Dog Training Elite, opening her first location in Louisiana. After just one year, she bought more territories in the greater Philadelphia area, quickly increasing the number of her territories to 16 in total.
While Feaster was initially attracted to Dog Training Elite because of her love for animals and passion for dog training, she has remained loyal to the brand because of her all around positive experience with the people she works with.
“We had so much fun. We really enjoyed meeting the prior leadership staff; we got along well with everyone, and we really understood the business,” said Feaster. “About a year after we bought our first territory, things were going well, and we decided to buy territories in the greater Philadelphia area.”
When the former CEO chose to sell their ownership, Feaster, as a member of the board, was involved in seeking new leadership. Despite her background, she did not consider taking on the role until her team put her name forward. Her teammates were convinced by Feaster’s experience and general business acumen and suggested she step into the CEO role herself.
While Feaster felt loyal to Dog Training Elite, she never imagined herself as CEO of any business. However, this leadership role with Dog Training Elite felt different and more tempting.
“This company changed my life,” she said. “I went from being incredibly stressed at Exxon to doing something I love every day. The folks here make me happy, and I’m much happier here both as a franchisee and a member of the leadership team.”
Passion Behind the Brand
Feaster is not the only person who is seeing how special the brand is. This year, the franchise received a great deal of recognition, being ranked No. 521 on the 2023 Inc. 5000 list, No. 226 on Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 ranking, No. 12 on their Fastest Growing Franchises list, and number one on their Best of the Best, Dog Training list.
Dog Training Elite feels passionate about dogs and ensures the trainers hired by the brand share this passion. They strive to become a positive force within the local community, and as service dogs become more visible in public spaces and in our communities, service dog training programs offered by Dog Training Elite have also become more popular and provide an excellent source of income for Dog Training Elite owners.
An Inside Perspective
As a Dog Training Elite franchisee, Feaster brings valuable experience and an insider perspective to the role.
“I think having a franchise owner in this position is helpful for engagement with the franchisees,” she said. “The same issues that they have, I have. I can understand where they’re coming from and balance the needs of local owners with the needs of the overarching business. The engagement is healthy, and feedback has already been positive.”
Her goal is ambitious but attainable: to become the largest dog training franchise with the smallest number of owners. This goal is only made possible by the strength of the business model and the franchisees’ genuine passion for the brand.
Looking to the Future
Dog Training Elite is looking to continue its growth, with a focus on territories in California. The state has a high demand for reliable dog training, having experienced a high number of lawsuits surrounding poorly trained dogs. There is room for over 140 territories, making the state an ideal opportunity for expansion.
Franchisees with Dog Training Elite can operate a minimum of three units, as the brand has found that people tend to be most successful with this model, and can select from an owner-operator or semi-absentee business model.
Feaster looks forward to continued growth for the brand and the opportunity to partner with passionate local owners to provide reliable dog training that is sure to serve the community well.