March is Women’s History Month, and Women’s History is always a topic of conversation at BISSELL. We are honored to say that Anna Bissell was one of the first female CEOs in America. We are very proud of Anna and all she was able to accomplish with the company and beyond.
In early years Anna was very much a part of the BISSELL success story. Alongside her husband, Melville, Anna was involved in the daily operations and growth of the company. She was their salesperson, their investor, and head of supply chain. Taking over BISSELL after her husband passed away, Anna supported the business as CEO and later she became chairman of the board. She helped the company go international, introduced many progressive labor relations policies, was very philanthropic in her community serving on many boards and was an active mother to 5 children. Anna’s photos flank our halls and her legacy remains strong within our building. And every March it’s a fun trip down memory lane to discuss Anna. For more information on Anna, read here.
While we are on the topic of progressive women, we thought it would be the perfect time to discuss how inspired we are, of not only Anna, but Cathy Bissell too. Cathy is following in Anna’s footsteps, driving home that the spirit of philanthropy is of the utmost importance to our business.
Cathy has been involved in the growth of BISSELL since her husband and CEO, Mark, started working for the company in 1985. They often talked together about how to grow the business, and Cathy was full of ideas. As an animal lover and someone who knows how to clean, Cathy pushed the idea that pets and cleaning go hand-in-hand. She helped turn BISSELL into the pet brand we are today: focused on engineering products that make cleaning easier for pet parents. Cathy also advocates integrating pets into our office, such as bringing dogs to work, a special PetSpot working area dedicated to pets and their owners, and many other fun dog themed events throughout the year.
In 2011 Cathy founded the BISSELL Pet Foundation (BPF), with the goal of ending pet homelessness and finding a loving home for every pet. Since its inception, BPF has awarded millions of dollars to animal welfare organizations nationwide, helping to reduce the number of pets in shelters and rescues through adoption, spay and neuter programs, microchipping and foster care. In 2017, BISSELL donated over $1 million to BPF to help pets in need.
We are proud to add our stories to the conversation about women during this special month.