ToyNews Women of the Year 2017: Part four

Niamh Sherwin- Barry, The Irish Fairy Door Company

After launching The Irish Fairy Door Company back in 2013, Sherwin-Barry and her team has expanded the brand to encompass a variety of items, from colourful wall art, accessories and storybooks, as well as fairy doors.

Marie Shields, Lottie Dolls

Shields’ committed efforts and hard work for the Lottie Dolls brand ensures that its message reaches all the right people. She is instrumental to the brand’s PR activities, and has spearheaded some new campaigns and approaches for the brand this year.

Lauren Shipman, Posh Paws

Described as ‘a true champion of plush’, Shipman has proven to be instrumental to Posh Paws’ expansion. Having joined the firm over three years ago, Shipman boasts extensive experience within the marketing sector and is also known as being ‘amazingly friendly, open and down to earth’.

Lesley Singleton, Playtime PR

Last year’s ToyNews Women of the Year winner, Singleton has been kept busy over the past year growing her business, Playtime PR. Having secured numerous new clients, from Esdevium and Lottie Dolls to Posh Paws and BBC Worldwide, Singleton’s position this year is well deserved.

Lisa Smyth, Smyths Toys Superstores

Smyth kickstarted her career at the toy retailer back in 2009 where she gained the position as a junior buyer. Soon after Smyth gained a promotion to buyer and then to her current role. Her business knowledge is also second to none, thanks to her Batchelor’s Degree in Business Studies.

Judith Stark, Halilit

Stark joins this year’s listing as a trailblazer in a male-dominated world. Having first joined the company in her 20s, after the business was formed by her father, Stark has gone on to be a prestigious member in the team, taking on the position as both owner and MD of Halilit.

Victoria Starr, Little Tikes

Starr has gone on to become an integral part of the toy brand, after joining just two years ago. During her time with Little Tikes, Starr has played a fundamental role in the development of the digital strategy, and has since managed various new campaigns to help boost the brand.

Sarah Sutcliffe, Little Citizens Boutique

Known for going the extra mile and offering faultless customer service, Sutcliffe is no stranger to staying late in store to ensure every customer finds the right gift. Based with the toy retailer in Northern Ireland, all customers like to seek help from the firm’s customer service guru.

Julia Swan, MI PR Global

Bringing over eight years of experience to her role, Swan boasts extensive knowledge of the toy and licensing sector. After joining the firm in 2015, director of public relations, Swan, has spearheaded successful campaigns across large brands, most notably, Alpha Animation’s Infinity Nado.

Melissa Symonds, The NPD Group

Symonds has been with The NPD Group since 2008, working with retailers, manufacturers and licensors in both the UK and European toy markets, utilising her knowledge of the history of toys, solid data interpretation and analytical skills, and understanding of core business issues.

Jess Tadmor, Panini UK

At Panini, Tadmor has risen up through the ranks of the marketing department and now heads up the team, which has delivered spectacular growth over recent World Cup and Euro tournaments. She has delivered PR campaigns that have helped to make Panini a household name.

Kerry Tarrant, Alpha Animation

A recent addition to the Alpha Animation team, Tarrant has spent the majority of her career in the toy industry, boasting stints at Woolworths, Flair and Vivid. One of her highlights while at Vivid was a collaborative campaign focussing around the re-launch of Thunderbirds in 2015.

Kay Thompson, Winning Moves

Since joining Winning Moves, just over two years ago, Thompson has helped transform the UK retail sales team. Having expanded the team from two to six national account managers, she has provided the tools and structure to allow Winning Moves to increase turnover by over 50 per cent.

Jacqui Tobias, Moose Toys

The brains behind Shopkins and Little Live Pets, Tobias is a figurehead of the toy space, Moose’s co-director and co-owner has played a key role in making Shopkins its biggest brand in 20 years. Last year, Tobias scooped the Women in Toys Wonder Woman in Toys Designer/Inventor award.

Frédérique Tutt, The NPD Group

As toys global industry analyst, Tutt has over 18 years’ experience of helping companies across the toys sector drive business growth by providing strategic insights and fact-based consultancy. Tutt is the go-to woman for all your stats and figures.

Linzi Walker, Argos

Known as the ‘buying powerhouse at Argos’, Walker began her career within the retail giant back in 2005 as a senior buyer. She has since been named trading manager for toys and nursery, knowing what makes a great seller and championing great product.

Mary Watson, Orchard Toys

Her contribution to the toy industry over the years has earned Watson a place on this year’s listing. The export sales manager’s most notable achievements include the international development of the brand. She is also a safe bet on the industry golf day.

Mary Wood, Vivid

Wood joined Vivid in 2013, having previously held roles at Mattel, Zapf and HTI, providing her with a wealth of toy industry experience. “Positive and determined, Wood always makes time for her team and suppliers, making her a highly respected member of both Vivid and the toy industry as a whole.”

Lucy Wynn-Jones, Worlds Apart

During her time at toy firm Worlds Apart, Wynn- Jones has held the position as marketing manager and most recently head of licensing. Wynn–Jones has also been responsible for developing and growing the firm’s UK and international licensing programme over the past 15 years.

Charlotte Yates, Spin Master

Senior brand manager, Yates began her time at Spin Master seven years ago and has worked her way up within the marketing department. Her most recent launch, Hatchimals, won Toy of the Year 2016, where she played an instrumental role to the brand’s success.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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