ToyNews Women of the Year: Part three

Charlotte Howarth, MV Sports

As product manager at the sports and leisure goods distributor, Howarth plays a fundamental role within the team. With over three years spent at the company, Howarth’s knowledge of MV Sports’ products in second to none, with a work ethic to back it all up.

Majen Immink, BTHA

Going from Toy Fair PR manager to her current role as Toy Fair head of operations and sales, in just a few years, Immink’s unflappable nature ensures all operations surrounding Toy Fair are completed year in year out.

Holly James, Peepo Communications

James began her career in the toy industry as part of the in-house PR team at Mattel. In 2014 she founded Peepo Communications and current industry clients include K’nex and Kiddiewinkles, alongside other heavyweight consumer brands such as Ted Baker.

Beth Jobber, Bladez Toyz

Jobber’s passion for the products she sells at Bladez hasn’t gone unnoticed, as she has held a notable position within the team for the past four years. As key account manager,Jobber has played an important role within the firm having secured listings for many new accounts.

Rachel Jones, Character Options

Jones has been a brand manager at Character Options for the last six years, where she has been instrumental to the success of a number of brands, including Peppa Pig. During her tenure, she has been responsible for the creation of all marketing materials in the UK.

Nadia Khaldi, Generation Media

After joining the company over four years ago, Khaldi has gone on to become a specialist in her field and has been fortunate to study and work across various different media platforms, proving associate director, Khaldi’s positioning is well deserved this year.

Lisa Lancaster, The Magic Box Toyshop

From wooden toys to jigsaw puzzles, Lancaster knows everything there needs to be known about a variety of toys. Known for her appreciation of the importance of toys to kids, she has owned the store for more than three years.

Christine Lawson, Eduk8

Lawson founded Eduk8 in 2002 as she was passionate about providing high quality educational toys that helped all children, regardless of ability, learn through play. Since launch, she has been successful in securing Eduk8’s position as a leading supplier to the educational markets.

Charlie Le Rougetel, Big Top PR

No stranger to the industry, Le Rougetel is a well-known face within the PR sector having worked on events such as Toy Fair and Dream Toys. After going it alone in 2014 with the launch of her own business, she has been praised for her tenacious attitude and efforts within the sector.

Gillian Logan, Skinny Sketcher

Director and creator, Logan has been described as ‘flying the flag for women toy inventors’ following the success of Skinny Sketcher since its launch two years ago. Not only is she the creative genius behind Skinny Sketcher, she is also a practising architect and mum of two.

Vicki Marler-Hausen, Bladez Toyz

After joining Bladez Toyz in September 2016 to head up the marketing department, she has been described as ‘a great PR and marketing manager to work with due to her professional efficiency and passion for her brands, hence her success in the toy industry’.

Hayley McAuley, Cartamundi

Approachable, informed and effective, McAuley boasts wide experience in the toy industry working for big players including Vivid, Flair and now Cartamundi where she heads up the UK sales, marketing and consumer products business.

Nicola Mellor, MGA Entertainment

Throughout the year, senior brand manager, Mellor has championed the toy firm’s hit toy ranges including Num Noms and the most recent addition, L.O.L Surpirse! She has been instrumental to the growth of the toy brand, leading an unboxing event with Toys AndMe at London’s Westfield.

Rena Nathanson, Bananagrams

Inventor and CEO, Nathanson is a familiar face in the games industry. She continues to evolve the brand with new games on the horizon and has been described as ‘sociable, friendly, supportive and a great example of a champion of women in the toy sector’ by her peers.

Rebecca Naish The Entertainer

With a degree in marketing under her belt, The Entertainer’s head of marketing and licensing, Naish is a strong member within the toy retailer, where she has managed the marketing calendar and sought out TV media plans.

Lee-Anne Neale, KD UK

Described as an ‘experienced, highly motivated and dynamic sales director’ Neale boasts over 16 years’ experience of account development and management in the gift, toy, nursery and outdoor categories.

Christine Nicholls, Golden Bear

Combining passion, dedication and a love for the industry, and as the vice chairman and director of product development, Nicholls is a great role model for women in the business, making her a worthy nomination in the listing.

Anita Nutchey, Hasbro

Nutchey handles Hasbro’s brands including Equestria Girls, Littlest Pet Shop, Play-Doh, DohVinci, FurReal Friends, Furby and Trolls. In particular, she has been commended for the amazing work she has done building the My Little Pony brand across multiple media channels.

Ane Olesen, Wire PR

As an MD of her own business and a mother of two, it’s non-stop for Olesen who boasts 20 years’ experience having worked in senior agency and in-house PR roles, and more recently in her own business dealing with trade and consumer media in a variety of sectors.

Louise O’Shea, License to PR

Having founded License to PR back in 2007, O’Shea has gone on to become a respected leader in the industry known for her ‘forensic knowledge of licensing’. One peer stated: “Time and time again she has offered a clear way forward to companies embarking on a PR campaign for the first time.

Yuki Otsuka, Epoch

During her time at Epoch as marketing manager, Otsuka has reignited worldwide love for iconic toy brand Sylvanian Families. She’s worked to ensure significant growth for both Aquabeads and Sylvanian Families, making an irreplaceable contribution to the development of the products. Otsuka’s extensive knowledge and passion for the brands make her a fitting nomination in this year’s listing.

Tess Parsons- Broome, Bandai

With a stint at Vivid under her belt, Bandai’s Parsons- Broome first started out as an assistant brand manager, soon moving to the role as product manager. Within her current role, she has been instrumental in the launch of the iconic Power Rangers brand.

Shardé Passos, Jazwares

Well-known for her understanding of Jazwares’ wide product portfolio, Passos has excelled during this past year as sales and marketing coordinator. Having spent over two years with the toy company, she has been commended for her friendly and organized attitude to her work.

Alicia Peyrano, Little Citizens Boutique

Since founding the retail store, Peyrano has secured new partnerships with brands such as Tech Will Save Us and Virtual Reality films that educate, while some own brand toy developments are also on the horizon. The boutique has also scored two awards while under her management.

Julie Pittilla, Pittilla PR

Described as a toy space PR legend, Pittilla has been behind some of the hottest toy launches to date from helping to launch Teletubbies to working with Moshi Monsters. A Familiar face at trade events, Pittilla launched her own PR business, Pittilla PR over 30 years ago.

Wendy Phillips, Toy Safety Experts

Phillips is a respected member in the toy space thanks to her knowledge of the sector, as well as taking on the Convenorship of the European Working Group for Mechanical and Physical Properties of Toys. She also previously lent her knowledge of toy safety as a toy safety advisor at the BTHA.

Georgia Robson, Carousel PR

With a strong background in digital and traditional PR, Robson has worked on a variety of brands during her time in the PR industry. Bringing enthusiasm and humour to the table, Robson is hardworking and wholly committed to the brands and campaigns she is involved in at Carousel.

Leanne Royce, Flair

A respected member of the Flair team, Royce is known for her ability to build relationships while ‘getting the job done’. “Leanne is a team player who understands the needs of Flair and her customers to judge correctly the balance of gaining profitable sales for both parties,” commented one colleague.

Rachael Salt, Cheatwell Games

In 2017 Salt has added the responsibility of managing Cheatwell’s sales agents to her portfolio, where she has shown a great aptitude to motivating, mentoring and improving the teams morale. “She has become an integral and popular member of the sales team,” noted one colleague.

Fran Slager, Carousel PR

Known for her strong knowledge of the toy market and ability to build relationships, Slager proves to be a formidable contender in this year’s listing. Always enthusiastic, Slager boasts a friendly and approachable attitude and has been described as a ‘delight to work with’.

Leslie Scott, Oxford Games

Best known for her game invention in 1983, Jenga, Scott has gone on to make waves in the toy space having devised and created over 40 board games. Scott has also published a successful novel, as well founding Oxford Games.

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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