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12th Annual Wonder Women Awards Gala to Honor Innovators in Toy, Licensing and Entertainment Industries

Game Changer Stylist Micaela Erlanger and Positive Body Image Advocate and Supermodel EMME to Present WIT’s Game Changer Award to Mattel; WIT Announces 2016 Nominees

New York City, February 9, 2016 – Women in Toys, Licensing and Entertainment (WIT) will honor a dozen impactful women business leaders, its founders, and more than 50 remarkable Finalists at the 12th Annual Wonder Women Awards Gala, Celebrating 25 Years of Women in Toys. From the largest global companies such as Mattel, Hasbro, Walmart, Disney, Nickelodeon and more, to hot start-ups like EQtainment and Ozobot, more than 500 industry leaders will gather Sunday for the event.

WIT will honor its founders, Anne Pitrone and Susan Matsumoto with a Founders Award, and present Mattel with its 2016 Game Changer Award for the evolution of its Barbie brand. The award will be presented by fashion and celebrity stylist Micaela Erlanger, and globally recognized advocate for positive body image and self-esteem supermodel EMME. With the recent expansion of the Barbie Fashionistas, the new dolls reflect a broader view of beauty, giving girls infinitely more ways to tell their stories and spark their imaginations. Today’s Barbie is truly more reflective of the world girls see around them.

“Celebrating 25 years of WIT and seeing the growth of this organization globally makes this year’s Gala incredibly special,” said Genna Rosenberg, Vice-Chair, WIT Executive Committee and Chair of the Wonder Women Gala. “We are very proud to be able to honor an amazing, creative and extraordinary group of women, and are thrilled to welcome Micaela Erlanger and EMME to join us in presenting Mattel’s Game Changer Award.”

2016 Wonder Women Awards Finalists Are:

Amie Zukowski, Product Designer at GoldieBlox
Gretchen Forrest, Vice President of Girls Design & Development at Hasbro
Beth Hageman, Staff Designer, Fisher-Price at Mattel
Jacqui Tobias, Director and Head of Girls Product Development at Moose Toys
Golbarg Bashi, President at Golbarg Bashi LLC
Jill Wilfert, Vice President of Inbound Licensing & Entertainment at The LEGO Group
Grace Hawthorne, Founder and CEO at Paper Punk
Nomi Vela, Director of Product Development, Hardlines at Disney
Samantha Martin, CEO at Props in a Box

Dianne Bellchambers, Business Manager at Moose Toys
Marissa Mansolillo, Senior Manager of Global Publishing at Hasbro
Divya Dalal, Director of Licensing, Lucasfilm, Hardlines at Disney
Pamela Kaufman, Chief Marketing Officer and President of Consumer Products at Nickelodeon
Joan Grasso, Vice President of Licensing North America at Entertainment One

Anita Choy, General Manager at Moose Toys
Laura Zebersky, Co-Owner and Chief Commercial Officer at Jazwares
Catherine Demas, Global Business Lead and Vice President of Preschool & Girls Design at Spin Master
Martha Sneider, Founder at Logo Loops LLC
Erica Zubriski, Vice President of Sales of Mattel
Reisa Schwartzman, Founder and President at Griddly Games
Iris Solomon, National Sales Manager at SMART Toys & Games
Stephanie Hunts, Co-Owner and Inventor at Magformers LLC
Jenny Stern, Co-Founder at Diggin

Anouk Zisa, Vice President of Marketing at Ozobot (Evollve, Inc.)
Kristina Duncan, Vice President of Global Marketing Communications at Mattel
Donna Moore, Advertising Director at aNb Media &
Lisa Whitaker, Senior Vice President of Marketing at JAKKS Pacific
Kimberly Willis Boyd, Vice President of U.S. Marketing, Gaming & Partner Brands at Hasbro

Public Relations
Michelle Chidoni, Senior Director of Global Brand Communications at Mattel
Tara Tucker, Vice President of Global Marketing Communications at Spin Master
Sheena Stephens, Vice President at MWW

Rising Star
Cassie Slane, Co-Founder and CEO at Dreamland Fairy
Laurie Peterson, Founder and CEO at Build & Imagine Toys
Cristina Liquori, Senior Manager of Customer Development for Amazon at The LEGO Group
Molly Cox, Vice President of Retail Development & Hardlines at Nickelodeon
Jaime Wolanski, Account Manager at The Wilko Group
Nyssa Harris, Inventor and Designer at Naryssa’s Dolls
Katie Jarvis, Owner and Creative Director at Boy Story LLC 

Sara Sakowitz, Founder and CEO at Blue Moon Box
Krissa Watry, Co-Founder and CEO at Dynepic, Inc. 

Sofia Dickens, Founder and CEO at EQtainment
Krista Berger, Director of Global Brand Marketing, MEGA Kids & Preschool at Mattel
Tami Murphy, Marketing Manager at Haywire Group
Laura Guilbault, Director of Global Brand Strategy and Marketing, Disney Princess and Frozen at Hasbro
Yelitsa Jean-Charles, Founder and Creative Director at Healthy Roots

Social Influencer
Heather Lopez, Owner at Bloggin’ Mamas
Melissa & Gracie Hunter, Mommy & Gracie Show, Founder of Family Video Network
Melanie Notkin, Founder at Savvy Auntie
Natalie Diaz, Founder and CEO at Twiniversity

Social Responsibility
Joan Lawrence, Senior Vice President of Standards & Regulatory Affairs at TIA
Sylvia Medina, Founder and Creator at Green Kids Club
Retailer Lynsey Clark, Associate Buyer at Zulily
Gena Lavallee, Senior Buyer at Toys R Us
Anne Marie Kehoe, Vice President of Toys at Walmart

WIT will also present a Wonder Girl Award to Syndey and Toni Lowe, two young toymaking entrepreneurs and the creators of Poketti pocket plush.

The WIT Foundation grants scholarships to students enrolled in undergraduate programs in toy design, engineering, entrepreneurial studies and other industry-related programs. This year’s recipients are currently enrolled in programs at Stanford, FIT, OTIS, OCAD University and Wharton.

Sponsors for the event include Mattel, Disney Consumer Products, Hasbro, Nickelodeon, Moose Toys, Bandai Foundation, Wicked Cool Toys, Skyrocket, Funrise, Lego, The Bridge, Universal, Waba Fun, Pamson, Entertainment One, UBM, The Licensing Expo, Brandberry, GennComm, NPD, The Toy Industry Association, TTPM, Toy News, Toy Book, The Product Greenhouse and Fiction LA.

While the awards dinner is WIT’s annual signature event, the organization provides professional women in the industry year-round opportunities to connect, collaborate and build relationships with one another, plus unique opportunities and powerful leadership tools to grow their businesses and careers. Learn more about the 2016 Wonder Women nominees on WIT’s Facebook Page or online at


Founded in 1991, Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WIT) / The WIT Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to advance women through leadership, networking and educational opportunities. WIT serves and supports women at all stages of their careers, from entrepreneurs and startups to seasoned industry veterans. The WIT Foundation grants scholarships to deserving students enrolled in industry-related undergraduate programs. WIT has 25 chapters throughout the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong, France, the UK and Australia, with liaisons in Finland, Germany, India and Lebanon.

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