WIT Recognizes Industry Innovators at Annual Award Gala
Mattel Honored with Game Changer Award; Hasbro, SpinMaster, Moose Toys and Walmart Top Winners
New York City – February 15, 2016 – More than 500 executives in toys, licensing and entertainment gathered Sunday night to honor women leaders at the 12th Annual Wonder Women Awards Gala, Celebrating 25 Years of Women in Toys in New York City. The event, hosted by leading global organization for professional women in the toy, licensing and children’s entertainment industry, Women in Toys (WIT), awarded 12 distinguished winners from over 50 nominees from around the world.
Among the Wonder Women Gala Award Winners, WIT presented awards to special honorees that included the:
Founders Award to Anne Pitrone and Susan Matsumoto who created WIT 25 years ago. Started in a restaurant over the quarter century, the professional group has grown to service thousands of professionals from around the globe at more than 50 events annually.
Game Changer Award to Mattel for the evolution of its Barbie brand with the recent expansion of the Barbie Fashionistas. The award was presented by fashion and celebrity stylist Micaela Erlanger, and globally recognized advocate for positive body image and self-esteem supermodel EMME.
Wonder Girl Award to Sydney and Toni Loew, two young toy making entrepreneurs and the creators of Poketti pocket plush.
Wonder Women Awards Gala Winners:
Manufacturer, Cat Demas, Vice President & Global Business Head, Preschool Girls Spin Master
Rising Star, Laura Guilbault, Director of Product & Marketing Strategy for Disney Princess and Frozen, Hasbro
Public Relations, Tara Tucker, Vice President of Global Marketing Communications, Spin Master Designer / Inventor, Jacqui Tobias, Director and Head of Girls Product Development, Moose Toys Licensing & Entertainment, Joan Grasso, Vice President of Licensing North America, Entertainment One Marketing, Kimberly Willis Boyd, Vice President of U.S. Marketing, Gaming & Partner Brands, Hasbro
Social Responsibility, Joan Lawrence, Senior V.P. of Standards & Regulatory Affairs, Toy Industry Association
Social Influencer, Melissa & Gracie Hunter, Mommy & Gracie Show / Family Video Network
Retailer, Anne Marie Kehoe, Vice President of Toys, Walmart
“Congratulations to this year’s winners, honorees and nominees,” said Genna Rosenberg, Principal at GennComm and Co-Chair of the Wonder Women Awards Dinner. “All of them are leaders and amazing, creative resources of this industry, and we are so proud and honored to be able to recognize them here tonight.”
The Dinner also served as a celebration of WIT’s continued commitment to women’s empowerment by recognizing the organizations strategic relationship with Walmart for the WIT|Walmart Global Women’s Empowerment Initiative, and to support the industry’s youngest members and future leaders, as the WIT Foundation awarded 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 d.school, 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 WomenInToys.com.
ABOUT WOMEN IN TOYS, LICENSING & ENTERTAINMENT
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.