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Highlights from NY Toy Fair – Part 2 – WIT Emeritus Inductees

WIT Emeritus Members Inducted at 2017 Wonder Women Gala

We celebrated Women’s History Month a little early on February 19 at the 13th Annual Wonder Women Gala, as WIT co-founder Susan Matsumoto, and past president Joan Luks introduced our first inductees to the WIT Emeritus Program.

Left to right: Judy Shackelford, Erin Libby, Carol Spencer, Shirley Henschel, Claire Marschak Maureen and Laurie Trotto, Laurie Schacht

The WIT Emeritus Program was established in 2016 by WIT and its founders Anne Pitrone and Susan Matsumoto, to pay tribute to women who are pioneering leaders in the industry and trailblazers of toys, and to highlight and preserve the indelible mark they’ve made.

The Program includes the establishment of The WIT Collection at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY. With the enthusiastic support of Chris Bensch, Vice President for Collections at the Strong, and his passionate team, our Emeritus members’ work will be preserved in history, including their drawings, prototypes, production samples, digital assets and important notes and papers.

We applaud these 2017 inductees for their outstanding leadership as well as their incredible bodies of work as executives, designers, inventors, producers and entrepreneurs.


Carol Spencer (Doll & Doll Fashion Designer) – For over 35 years, Carol built her career at Mattel as their premiere fashion designer for Barbie – taking her from the early 1960’s through the evolving decades that established Barbie as a fashion icon. Carol also launched the prestigious Barbie collector doll line and created the Kelly doll line.

Claire Marschak (Inventor) –  Building on a career that started with a senior-year internship at Fisher Price Toys, Claire returned after graduation to work on infant, toddler and girls’ toys. She eventually launched her inventing firm specializing in infant and preschool concepts for clients like Fisher-Price, Today’s Kids, Playskool, Little Tikes, Lamaze, and Tomy.

Erin Libby (Sculptor/Doll Designer) – Erin started her career at Mattel where she was Manager of Doll Characterization working on and guiding through such projects as faces on all dolls, plus Liddle Kiddles, Sudsy, and Malibu Barbie. She then established her design firm, The Erin Works, working on major doll projects like Cabbage Patch Kids, Puff-a-Lumps, and Baby So Beautiful. (Not present at the Gala.)

Judy Shackelford (Toy Executive/Inventor) – Judy is a toy industry trailblazer both within the corporate toy world and as an inventor. She was the first female Vice-President at Mattel and became the highest ranking woman in a Fortune 500 toy company as Executive Vice-President Worldwide Marketing and Product Development at Mattel.  As CEO of J. Shackelford Associates, LLC, she was notable for the first introduction of electronically interactive smart dolls like Amazing Amy, Amazing Ally, Amazing Babies, and Amazing Amanda for Playmates. (Not present at the Gala.)

Laurie Schacht (Publishing) – Laurie is President and Chief Toy Officer at Adventure Publishing Group. With more than 25 years in the toy industry, Laurie and Adventure Publishing Group have reported on the toy industry through their publications – The Toy Book, The Licensing Book, and The Toy Insider – keeping readers up-to-date on all toy and licensing industry breaking news and deals.

Maureen & Laureen Trotto (Inventors) – After teaching at FIT for six years and inventing Sectaurs: Warriors of Symbion for Coleco and Boglins, Maureen joined her sister Laureen in a life-long dream of working together and, along with Duane Langenwalter, formed Thin Air. Over the past 35 years, their combined forces invented and hold patents on many toy concepts including Shoezies, Bead Blast Barbie, Tea Time with Me Belle, Total Meltdown, Sing Along with Mickey and many more.

Shirley Henschel (Licensing) – One of licensing’s pioneers, Shirley started her career in licensing major auto racing drivers including Stirling Moss. Later, for Marden-Kane, Inc. she represented Edward Gorey and well-known comic strip characters including Little Orphan Annie, Brenda Starr, Gasoline Alley and others. In 1979, Shirley started her company, Alaska Momma, Inc. whose licenses included the Norfin Trolls, Willie Wonka’s “Nerds” characters, Mel Odum’s “Gene” Doll, and many others. (Not present at the Gala.)



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