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Meet the OAO Team


Cheryl Pedersen

Co-Founder | Sales & Product USA

In 2005, Cheryl introduced PoochieBells through her company, Poochie-Pets, creating a new segment in the pet industry dedicated to dog training doorbells. This innovation laid the foundation for her entrepreneurial journey, guided by the belief that pets make us better people. Motivated by this principle, Cheryl co-founded Only An Ocean, aiming to partner with brands that foster the human-pet bond and reflect this fundamental value. Her pivotal role in developing this new market niche with PoochieBells was recognized when she was named “A Pet Industry Leader – Woman of the Year” in 2015, highlighting her significant contribution to the pet industry.


Jolanda van der Basch

Co-Founder | Sales & Product Europe

Co-Founder | Sales & Product Europe Jolanda van der Basch Based in the Netherlands, Jolanda is the founder of Van Der Basch Trading. Leading the Van Der Basch Trading company, Jolanda personally scouts new pet products to introduce to markets in North America, Europe and beyond. Her product introductions have been awarded at several industry trade shows and she continues to be recognized as an industry icon for product recognition. As a Co-Founder of Only An Ocean, her ability to identify promising early stage products is crucial to OAO’s mission.


Arnie Freilich

Managing Partner | Finance

Arnie has over 40 years of senior leadership experience in both public and private companies. More than half of that time was spent as a management consultant focused on operational and functional excellence in marketing / sales / accounting and finance. He is the CEO of Financial Intelligence which provides specialized accounting, administration and data services to finance management of publicly-owned global and national companies. Arnie was also Chapter Chairman of Charleston SCORE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to business mentoring and education.


Donna Temple

Director of Logistics & Operations

After spending several years employed as a programmer and technical writer for the Department of Defense, Donna transitioned to a role as a chapter administrator at SCORE, a nonprofit committed to business mentoring and education. Donna’s meticulous approach to managing operations at Only An Ocean ensures efficiency, while her talent for streamlining processes proves invaluable to OAO and its collaborators.


Caroline Russ

Director of Sales & Business Development

After years of working in New York City’s Garment Center, Caroline made the big move to her favorite getaway destination, Charleston. With a background in Sales/Merchandising, Caroline has collaborated with major retailers and built brands along the way. Her experience working with leading manufacturers makes her a valuable asset to the OAO team!


Lydia Freilich

Client Services

Over the last 30 years, Lydia has held senior management positions in Facilities and Human Resources with international companies. In 1997, as a member of the original management team of Sephora USA, she facilitated communication with the French parent company to support the US launch. She became the Director of Facilities and Administration as Sephora grew to annual sales of $1 billion. Lydia provides client relations and human resources expertise to Only An Ocean in the US and Europe.


Sarah Pedersen

Director of Marketing

With a strong background in psychology and marketing, Sarah has been a valuable addition to the Only An Ocean team. As an expert in understanding consumer behavior and trends, Sarah effectively applies her skills to elevate OAO’s e-commerce and marketing strategies, ensuring they remain at the forefront of an ever-evolving online landscape. Her creativity and meticulous attention to detail play a crucial role in enabling OAO to confidently represent themselves and their business partners, driving the company’s success and growth.


Dylan Castro

Operations Coordinator

As our new Operations Coordinator Dylan has made an immediate splash. Employed at a well-known national pet boutique, Dylan quickly worked his way up to a management position. His knowledge of the pet product landscape, organization, and communication skills, along with a deep understanding of the retail perspective make him a significant asset for our retail partners and the Only An Ocean team!


Allison Levitt

Sales Account Specialists

Allison boasts over twenty years of experience in the pet industry, initially as a retailer before diving headfirst into the dog treat business with, Bare Bites. After a successful stint with Bare Bites, Allison is now making waves with Only An Ocean. But don’t let her love for pets fool you – Allison’s heart extends to humans too (yes, really!). When she’s not busy spoiling furry friends or enchanting customers, you can catch her belting out Springsteen hits like there’s no tomorrow.

With a motto as buoyant as “always have high hopes,” Allison proves that with determination and a little Springsteen magic, anything is paw-sible! 🐾