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Samantha Hedges

Samantha Hedges

Pro Business Manager Australia & New Zealand

“Combining passion and career”

After 16 successful years growing the Royal Canin business in New Zealand I relocated to Melbourne in 2013 to manage the Professional Business Unit for Australia and New Zealand – managing the breeder, kennel and cattery, government agency and shelter business for Australia and New Zealand.

I am passionate about my work at Royal Canin and one of the reasons is that I have experienced the benefits of feeding it first hand for over 20 years. Royal Canin has enabled me to combine my passion with my career, as I have been breeding and showing winning Dobermanns for almost 30 years. I have represented New Zealand at Crufts and my dogs have won many “Best in Show” awards in NZ and Australia, as well as winning Dog and Puppy of the Year, and five of them becoming Grand Champions.

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Michelle Elliott

PRO Relationship and Territory Manager New Zealand

As a young girl growing up I always wanted to dedicate my life to helping animals, so when it came time to leave school and go to university I knew I only wanted to study one thing. In 2008 I graduated a Bachelor of Applied Science Majoring in Animal Welfare and Management My career history includes veterinary nursing, pet store management, zoo keeping, and account management in pet nutrition. In 2017 I was selected for my role with Royal Canin. I really enjoy my job because it allows me to combine my career and my passion whilst working for a global leader in pet nutrition. When I am not at work I enjoy being at home in my little house by the beach and spending time with my family which include my partner and son, our 4 cats and our dog Marley.


Jess Harris

Trade Marketing Manager Pro Business Australia & New Zealand

Growing up I always had a passion for animals, with cats, dogs, pigs, horses, sheep, birds, rats, the list goes on! After finishing high school I completed a Certificate in Veterinary Nursing before changing path and doing a Bachelor of Business Management. I made the move across the ditch from Christchurch NZ, to Melbourne in 2008 and after several marketing roles was lucky enough to join the amazing Royal Canin® family in early 2017 combining my passion for animals and my career. In Melbourne my home is ruled by Eddie my cat and the remainder of my time by Darryl my horse.

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Jen Kim

PRO Channel Administrator NZ

I grew up always having a house full of animals such as rabbits, frogs, fish, dogs and even hamsters. Naturally, I developed huge interest in animals so I completed by Bachelor of Science majoring in Biology and Psychology. I worked in human sciences for a while and decided to join Royal Canin in October 2017 to pursue my passion and love for animals.


Cass Cooper

Event & Sponsorship Coordinator Pro Business Australia & New Zealand

I grew up on a farm south of Christchurch, New Zealand, before relocating to Melbourne from in 2014 after completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Media Studies and Communications and a Graduate Diploma in Event Management. I worked in Corporate and Conference Management for four years before joining Royal Canin at the beginning of 2017. I have two dogs of my own and am so excited to be able to combine my passion for dogs and cats with my role at Royal Canin. 


Michele Ristuccia

Michele Ristuccia

Administrator Pro Business Australia & New Zealand

I started showing and breeding Pedigree cats under the Miamber prefix over 20 years ago, and even though I started out with Burmese I am best known for my Burmillas and Mandalay, two very little known breeds and both developed from Burmese. I have been honored with recognition for my work by show wins not only for my own cats but for those really lovely examples of the breed in Europe and New Zealand which have been bred down from my cats. In recent years I have sent Burmillas to the USA where they became one of the fastest tracked breeds for recognition in CFA, shortly followed by recognition in TICA, now they are truly an internationally recognized breed, I am a passionate experimental breeder who enjoys the challenge of developing a true breeding, healthy , beautiful well-tempered companion cat. As if the cat breeding and showing wasn't enough I became an All Shorthair judge some years ago and spend quite a few weekends of the year travelling and judging at Cat shows in Australia and New Zealand.

Dogs are a relatively new adventure for me, when I met the Griffon Bruxellois at a dog show I decided that I couldn't be without one. I am now owned by two smooth red Griffons. Breeding healthy animals with a few as possible genetic issues is very important to me, and equally important is supporting that health with a great diet. Employment with Royal Canin gives me the opportunity to communicate the benefits of feeding a great diet to breeders and pet owners alike.