Heart + Paw expands leadership team


These latest appointments support the company’s accelerating growth.

Heart + Paw appointed Julia Geffner to chief marketing officer (CMO); Andrew DeFino, to chief growth officer (CGO); and Mary Peacock, DVM, to vice president of operations.

"The tremendous growth we experienced in 2021 set the stage for expanding the leadership team to execute our 2022 plans," stated David Lasus, CEO of Heart + Paw, in a company release. "Heart + Paw is the only pet care company that is both building branded multi-service de novo locations as well as acquiring and optimizing partner veterinary hospitals deeply rooted within their communities.”

“We are pleased to have a CMO of Julia's caliber join the team, and with the promotions of both Andrew and Mary, we are well-positioned to continue innovating and leading the immersive pet care experience,” he continued.

Julia Geffner, Heart + Paw CMO (All images photo courtesy of Heart + Paw).

Julia Geffner, Heart + Paw CMO (All images photo courtesy of Heart + Paw).

In their new roles, the trio will lead and transform the face of pet care through Heart + Paw centers and partner hospitals. Geffner and DeFino will report directly to Heart + Paw CEO Dave Lasus, while Peacock will report to George Melillo, VMD, chief veterinary officer and co-founder, according to the release.

Andrew DeFino, Heart + Paw CGO.

Andrew DeFino, Heart + Paw CGO.

Julia Geffner, as Heart + Paws first-ever CMO, will prioritize advancing the Heart + Paw branded experience, improving marketing capabilities and digital presence, and collaborating with the pet care centers to encourage local community-level engagement. Geffner offers Heart + Paw her considerable experience in the pet care industry, having served as CMO for Best Friends Pet Care. She also has led marketing and customer experience teams for world-class brands (ie, Wyndham Worldwide, Starwood Hotels, and Barnes & Noble).

Mary Peacock, DVM, Heart + Paw VP of operations.

Mary Peacock, DVM, Heart + Paw VP of operations.

Andrew DeFino, who joined Heart + Paw in 2018 as vice president of business development, will lead acquisitions, partnerships, de novo development, and strategic growth initiatives in his new role as CGO. Before joining the Heart + Paw team, DeFino worked at Veterinary Practice Partners as the director of partnership development and as a mutual fund manager at BlackRock and Kalmar Investments.

Peacock, one of Heart + Paw’s earliest employees and previously the senior director of operations, is a graduate of the Royal Veterinary College and has over a decade of experience in veterinary medicine. She initially served as a veterinarian in general practice and emergency medicine. She then became a leader with significant multi-unit management and operational experience. Her interests include team development, community involvement, and continuing education for implementing modern practices. Peacock will be leading operations for all Heart + Paw branded and partner centers and prioritizing fostering a positive environment for all team members to succeed while offering high-quality care.

Last year, Heart + Paw expanded from 10 to 23 locations, spanning 9 states from Tennessee to Rhode Island, with 9 current locations in the Philadelphia area. The company aims to nearly double its locations by the end of 2022.


Rapid expansion leads Heart + Paw to name its first CMO, CGO and VP of operations, further positioning its leadership team to support continued growth in 2022. News release. Heart + Paw. February 8, 2022. Accessed February 10, 2022. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/rapid-expansion-leads-heart--paw-to-name-its-first-cmo-cgo-and-vp-of-operations-further-positioning-its-leadership-team-to-support-continued-growth-in-2022-301477136.html

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