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Women in Toys unveils 2016 Wonder Women Awards finalists

Women in Toys unveils 2016 Wonder Women Awards finalists

Robert Hutchins
By Robert Hutchins

FEBRUARY 10TH 2016 AT 11:51AM

The finalists have been revealed for the 12th annual gala event, honoring the leading female innovators in toys, licensing and the entertainment industries.

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 &

Lisa Whitaker, Senior Vice President of Marketing at JAKKS Pacific

Kimberly Willis Boyd, Vice President of U.S. Marketing, Gaming & Partner Brands at Hasbro

Public Relations

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

Rising Star

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

Social Influencer

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

Social Responsibility

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, FIT, OTIS, OCAD University and Wharton.

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