Rapid Expansion Leads Heart + Paw to Name Its First CMO, CGO and VP of Operations

Rapid Expansion Leads Heart + Paw to Name Its First CMO, CGO and VP of Operations

PHILADELPHIA, PA (February 8, 2022) –  Heart + Paw, one of the fastest growing veterinary care, grooming, and dog daycare center groups in the country, announces key appointments to its leadership team to support its accelerating growth. Julia Geffner is appointed chief marketing officer; Andrew DeFino, former vice president of development, is promoted to chief growth officer; and Dr. Mary Peacock, DVM, one of Heart + Paw’s earliest employees, is promoted to vice president of operations. In these new roles, Geffner, DeFino, and Peacock will lead and change the face of pet care through Heart + Paw centers and partner hospitals. Geffner and DeFino will report directly to Heart + Paw CEO Dave Lasus, and Peacock will report to Dr. George Melillo, CVO and co-founder.


Press New Staff

Left to right: Andrew DeFino, CGO, Dr. Mary Peacock, VP of Operations, Julia Geffner, CMO


In 2021, Heart + Paw grew from 10 to 23 locations, covering nine states from Tennessee to Rhode Island, with nine current locations in the Philadelphia region, where Heart + Paw is based. The company anticipates nearly doubling locations by the end of 2022. 

“The tremendous growth we experienced in 2021 set the stage for expanding the leadership team to execute our 2022 plans,” said David Lasus, CEO of Heart + Paw. “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.” 

Julia Geffner, as Heart + Paw’s first-ever CMO, will focus on elevating the Heart + Paw branded experience, enhancing marketing capabilities and digital presence, and partnering with the pet care centers to drive local community-level engagement. Geffner comes to Heart + Paw with extensive experience in the pet care industry, having served as CMO for Best Friends Pet Care. Previously she led marketing and customer experience teams for world-class brands including Wyndham Worldwide, Starwood Hotels, and Barnes & Noble.

“Our pets are our family members. We understand each pet and pet parent’s needs are unique and require care that goes above and beyond the rest,” says Geffner. “I’m excited to continue my work in the pet care industry and make a positive impact on Heart + Paw’s growth.”

Andrew DeFino, as Heart + Paw’s CGO, will lead acquisitions, partnerships, de novo development and strategic growth initiatives. DeFino joined Heart + Paw in 2018 as vice president of business development, combining his strategic and financial business expertise with his passion for empowering small businesses owners. Prior to joining Heart + Paw, Andrew worked at Veterinary Practice Partners (VPP) as the director of partnership development and as a mutual fund manager at BlackRock and Kalmar Investments.

Dr. Mary Peacock is a graduate of the Royal Veterinary College and has more than a decade of experience in veterinary medicine, first as a doctor in general practice and emergency medicine, then as a leader with extensive multi-unit management and operational experience. She is passionate about team development, community involvement, and continuing education for her team to be able to utilize the most current practices and procedures in veterinary medicine. Previously the senior director of operations, Dr. Peacock will be leading operations for all Heart + Paw branded and partner centers, focused on creating a positive environment for all team members to thrive, while delivering the best quality care.

Central to Heart + Paw’s mission is the dedicated team of veterinarians and team members who maintain the highest quality of care for Heart + Paw’s patients, led by Dr. George Melillo. Dr. Melillo is often described as the “heart” of Heart + Paw – committed to the health, wealth and mental well-being of those that serve this community. “Heart + Paw was founded in order to deliver low-stress veterinary care to those in need. We treat pets and pet parents like family, in a way that no one else does,” says Dr. Melillo. 

Heart + Paw recently implemented a Doctor Rewards Program as part of a key initiative to address critical industry-wide issues in veterinary medicine including the need for higher wages, bolstering tenured longevity, and providing tools aimed at addressing compassion fatigue. With its rapid growth, there are currently a number of open veterinary and non-veterinary positions available at Heart + Paw locations, with some locations offering sign-on bonuses, depending on the role. Visit the Heart + Paw career page for more information.

Recent Posts

staff member with dog in hydrotherapy chamber

What Methods Do Veterinarians Use to Keep Up With Medical Advancements?

How do veterinarians keep up with the rapid changes in the veterinary industry? Dr. Pitt weighs in...

Read More

Award-Winning Heart + Paw Veterinary, Grooming and Daycare Centers Announce Co-Ownership Program

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 10, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Heart + Paw, an innovative multi-service pet care company leading the future of veterinary…

Read More
Fox 5 In Ballstone Quarter

FOX 5 FIELD TRIP: Heart + Paw in Ballston Quarter

Good Day DC went on location at Heart + Paw Ballston Quarter to interview Julia Rosenburg and...

Read More
Marias Mutts And Stuff Logo

Keeping Your Pets Safe On Halloween!

Give a listen and keep your pets happy and healthy. Happy Halloween!

Read More
1200px Reader's Digest Logo.svg

Dr. George Melillo in Reader’s Digest

Dr. George Melillo chats with Reader's Digest on the best food for your dog.

Read More

About Us

Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.

We'd Love to Meet Your Four-Legged Friends

Find out how the friendly veterinary team at your local Heart + Paw can help your pets live longer, healthier lives by searching for a location near you.