One dozen of the toy industry’s most impactful businesswomen are to be honored at this year’s Women in Toys Wonder Women Awards Gala.
The finalists have now been revealed for what will be the 12th annual gala event in which the leading female innovators in toys, licensing and the entertainment industries are championed.
More than 500 industry leaders from the likes of Hasbro, Mattel, Disney, Walmart and Nickelodeon will gather at WIT’s event celebrating 25 years of women in toys during this year’s New York Toy Fair.
As well as the 12 winners across a number of categories, WIT will also honor its founders, Anne Pitrone and Susan Matsumoto with a Founders Awards as well as present Mattel with its 2016 Game Changer Award in recognition of its work in the recent evolution of Barbie.
The award will be presented by fashion and celebrity stylist Micaela Erlanger and positive body image super model Emme.
“Celebrating 25 years of WIT and seeing the growth of this organisation globally makes this year’s Gala incredibly special,” said Genna Rosenberg, vice chair, WIT executive and chair of the Wonder Women Gala.
“We are very proud to be able to honor an amazing, creative and extraordinary group of women, and are thrilled to welcome Micaela Erlanger and Emme to join us in presenting Mattel’s Game Changer Award.”
The 2016 Wonder Women Awards finalists are:
Amie Zukowski, Product Designer at GoldieBlox
Gretchen Forrest, Vice President of Girls Design & Development at Hasbro
Beth Hageman, Staff Designer, Fisher-Price at Mattel
Jacqui Tobias, Director and Head of Girls Product Development at Moose Toys
Golbarg Bashi, President at Golbarg Bashi LLC
Jill Wilfert, Vice President of Inbound Licensing & Entertainment at The LEGO Group
Grace Hawthorne, Founder and CEO at Paper Punk
Nomi Vela, Director of Product Development, Hardlines at Disney
Samantha Martin, CEO at Props in a Box
Dianne Bellchambers, Business Manager at Moose Toys
Marissa Mansolillo, Senior Manager of Global Publishing at Hasbro
Divya Dalal, Director of Licensing, Lucasfilm, Hardlines at Disney
Pamela Kaufman, Chief Marketing Officer and President of Consumer Products at Nickelodeon
Joan Grasso, Vice President of Licensing North America at Entertainment One
Anita Choy, General Manager at Moose Toys
Laura Zebersky, Co-Owner and Chief Commercial Officer at Jazwares
Catherine Demas, Global Business Lead and Vice President of Preschool & Girls Design at Spin Master
Martha Sneider, Founder at Logo Loops LLC
Erica Zubriski, Vice President of Sales of Mattel
Reisa Schwartzman, Founder and President at Griddly Games
Iris Solomon, National Sales Manager at SMART Toys & Games
Stephanie Hunts, Co-Owner and Inventor at Magformers LLC
Jenny Stern, Co-Founder at Diggin
Anouk Zisa, Vice President of Marketing at Ozobot (Evollve, Inc.)
Kristina Duncan, Vice President of Global Marketing Communications at Mattel
Donna Moore, Advertising Director at aNb Media & TTPM.com
Lisa Whitaker, Senior Vice President of Marketing at JAKKS Pacific
Kimberly Willis Boyd, Vice President of U.S. Marketing, Gaming & Partner Brands at Hasbro
Michelle Chidoni, Senior Director of Global Brand Communications at Mattel
Tara Tucker, Vice President of Global Marketing Communications at Spin Master
Sheena Stephens, Vice President at MWW
Cassie Slane, Co-Founder and CEO at Dreamland Fairy
Laurie Peterson, Founder and CEO at Build & Imagine Toys
Cristina Liquori, Senior Manager of Customer Development for Amazon at The LEGO Group
Molly Cox, Vice President of Retail Development & Hardlines at Nickelodeon
Jaime Wolanski, Account Manager at The Wilko Group
Nyssa Harris, Inventor and Designer at Naryssa’s Dolls
Katie Jarvis, Owner and Creative Director at Boy Story LLC
Sara Sakowitz, Founder and CEO at Blue Moon Box
Krissa Watry, Co-Founder and CEO at Dynepic, Inc.
Sofia Dickens, Founder and CEO at EQtainment
Krista Berger, Director of Global Brand Marketing, MEGA Kids & Preschool at Mattel
Tami Murphy, Marketing Manager at Haywire Group
Laura Guilbault, Director of Global Brand Strategy and Marketing, Disney Princess and Frozen at Hasbro
Yelitsa Jean-Charles, Founder and Creative Director at Healthy Roots
Heather Lopez, Owner at Bloggin’ Mamas
Melissa & Gracie Hunter, Mommy & Gracie Show, Founder of Family Video Network
Melanie Notkin, Founder at Savvy Auntie
Natalie Diaz, Founder and CEO at Twiniversity
Joan Lawrence, Senior Vice President of Standards & Regulatory Affairs at TIA
Sylvia Medina, Founder and Creator at Green Kids Club
Lynsey Clark, Associate Buyer at Zulily
Gena Lavallee, Senior Buyer at Toys R Us
Anne Marie Kehoe, Vice President of Toys at Walmart
WIT will also present a Wonder Girl Award to Syndey and Toni Lowe, two young toymaking entrepreneurs and the creators of Poketti pocket plush.
The WIT Foundation grants 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.