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Speakers Announced for Women In Toys Empowerment Day

Toy Industry Organization Opens Rolodex to Female-owned Start-ups and Entrepreneurs

NEW YORK, NY, September 10, 2015 - Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WIT) is proud to announce its slate of speakers who will participate in the 2015 WIT Empowerment Day on Monday, October 5 at 10:00 AM, on the eve of Fall Toy Preview® at Dallas Market Center.

Co-chaired by industry veterans Nancy Zwiers of Funosophy, Inc. and Deb de Sherbinin of KidSmart, WIT Empowerment Day provides unprecedented access to a powerhouse of industry experts and mentors who will help women in the toy, game, licensing and entertainment industries grow their business or bring their product concept to market.

A partial list of this year’s speakers follows, and the full speaker roster can be found by clicking here.
• Mark Cuban (Keynote) - Owner of Dallas Mavericks, Chairman and CEO of AXStv, and celebrity “Shark” on ABC-TV’s Shark Tank, joined by Shark Tank winner Bettina Chen, co-founder of Roominate.
• Ann Marie Kehoe - Vice President Toys, Walmart
• Rich Mazel - Director of Global Toy Acquisition, Hasbro
• Neal Cohen - Small Business Ombudsman, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
• Elizabeth Dougherty - Director of Inventor Education, Outreach and Recognition, Office of Innovation Development, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

“We’re thrilled to have Mark Cuban kick things off with his visionary advice and enthusiastic energy, said Ashley Mady, WIT President and founder of Brandberry. “Our expert speakers will keep it going strong with a power-packed day of industry insider tips and know-how that can’t be found anywhere else.”

Six Power Panels will provide attendees with expert advice on licensing, manufacturing, brand-building, selling to Walmart, crowdsourcing, financing their business and more. Participants will have exclusive access to Walmart buyers and Hasbro’s Inventor Relations team. Qualified 51%-women-owned businesses will have the opportunity to pitch their products directly to Walmart buyers onsite. For more information about WIT Empowerment Day, please click here.

This is the fourth year WIT has collaborated with Walmart on this event. Walmart has committed to sourcing $20 billion for its U.S. business from women-owned businesses over five years, as part of its Women’s Global Economic Empowerment Initiative.

WIT Empowerment Day is a free event, and is open to all of its members. Mark Cuban’s morning keynote will be open to all registered Fall Toy Preview guests and exhibitors, both WIT members and non-members. WIT membership is open to men and women; for more information, please click here.

All WIT Empowerment Day attendees, including those only attending Mark Cuban’s keynote, must register in advance by completing the Empowerment Day Registration Form. Attendees wishing to participate in Walmart pitch sessions must complete the Walmart Pitch Application portion of the form.

Immediately following WIT Empowerment Day is WIT’s Cocktails & Connections evening event, where Empowerment Day participants and all trade guests and exhibitors of Fall Toy Preview are invited for a fun night of socializing, drinks and hors d’oeuvres from 5:30-8:30 PM at Hall of Nations in the main floor lobby of Dallas Market Center. This event is generously sponsored by Hasbro, and all are welcome to attend. Ticket price includes two drink tickets and heavy hors d’oeuvres. For more information and to purchase tickets in advance, please click here.

For additional information, please visit


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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