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Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment Announces New Leadership and Board Members to Drive Impactful Change

New York, December 11, 2023 — Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WiT), the industry’s preeminent voice for the advancement of women, is proud to announce the appointment of a new Chairwoman of the Board and the addition of four accomplished leaders to its Board of Directors. These changes mark a significant milestone as WiT continues its mission to empower, advance, and advocate for women in the toy, consumer products, licensing and entertainment industries.

As of January 1, 2024, Ehi Oviasu-Kahn, will assume the role of Chairwoman of the Board, succeeding Janice Ross, whose term as President concludes on December 31, 2023. As an attorney, artist, and visionary founder of Little Art, Ehi has a track record of building coalitions with policy leaders, stakeholders, and nonprofit organizations, bringing a wealth of experience and unique perspective to the position, and is poised to lead WiT into its next chapter of growth and impact.

Joining Ehi in steering WiT’s trajectory are four newly appointed board members, each serving a three-year term. With their exceptional leadership, wealth of experience and commitment to WiT’s vision and values, they are poised to play a pivotal role in further shaping the strategic direction and driving the mission of the organization.

The new board members are (L-R):

  1. Aneisha Vieira, Global Brand Director, ZURU

  2. DeeDee Wright-Ward, Founder & CEO, Purpose Toys LLC

  3. Gena Lavallee, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Make It Real

  4. Julien Sharp, General Manager, U.S., Asmodee

In addition, WiT is pleased to announce the reelection of four current board members to serve a second term:

  1. Amy Thompson, EVP & Chief People Officer, Mattel

  2. Kristi Wasmer, Senior Sales Executive

  3. Michelle Weber, EVP, Toy'n Around

  4. Shawn Smith, Founder, Shawn Smith Communications

As Janice Ross steps down from her role as President, she shares these words:  “It has been a profound honor to serve as WiT President over the past four years. I’m proud of the remarkable progress we’ve achieved together, and excited for the continued impact of this incredible organization under Ehi’s dynamic leadership. The incoming board, along with the reelected members, brings a wealth of talent and diversity that will undoubtedly propel the organization to unprecedented heights.”

WiT's Board of Directors collectively plays a crucial role in guiding the organization's strategic direction and actively shaping programs to empower women in the industry. With this strengthened leadership team, WiT is positioned to make an even greater transformative impact, solidifying its position as a catalyst and change agent for women working in, or seeking to work in the toy, consumer products, licensing and entertainment industries.

To learn about WiT’s Board of Directors, 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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