Toy Fair 2017


C2C Studios

Jazwares Makes Donation to Massachusetts DCF

jazwareslogoJazwares donated 8,000 toys to children in the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF). The toys will be distributed to DCF locations in Holyoke, North Central, New Bedford, and Pittsfield in the state.

The donation was arranged with Boston Red Sox player David Price and his foundation, Project 14. The Red Sox will celebrate the team’s 14th annual Christmas at Fenway event on Dec. 10 with gift donations to kids, visits from players at Boston-area hospitals, and the collection of warm winter gear at Fenway Park for kids in need.

WIT Stories: November 2016

Wi-Stories_Logo-1Every month, Women in Toys, Licensing, and Entertainment (WIT) turns the spotlight on members who are making an impact in toys, licensing, and entertainment and within the organization. These members exemplify leadership, commitment to the industry and the mission of WIT, and it are proud to recognize and celebrate their diverse talents and contributions through their WIT Stories.


L-arocho-picLourdes Arocho
Vice President Toys and Hardlines at Universal

Member of the WIT Southern California Chapter since 2009.

What is the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as a businesswoman today and why?
The best advice I have ever received was the importance of having great mentors. A big part of my success is because of that advice; and through mentors, I have had so many opportunities in my career. I now make it a priority in my own career to mentor others and pay it forward.

What’s the biggest challenge you have faced in business, and how did you overcome it?
At the start of my career, my biggest challenge was not having an undergraduate degree. I felt that was something that would limit my growth, and so I went back to school part-time as a mom of two with a full-time job. It was one of the toughest things I had ever done, but continues to be one of my biggest accomplishments. With growth and success comes different challenges and obstacles, which I continue to face. My advice would be to decide which ones mean the most to you, and tackle those head on.

What advice would you offer women wishing to break into the toy/licensing/entertainment industry?
It would be the one piece of advice that has made the difference in my career, which is the importance of having mentors and being active in the industry.

What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?
I believe many more memorable moments are yet to come, but the one that I’m most proud of at this point in my career is the launch of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in toys. It was the most collaborative and educational experience working with Playmates Toys on research, strategy, creative development, marketing and analysis. It was such an incredible opportunity, and I couldn’t be more excited about our portfolio at Universal and the fantastic partners we will be working with to bring these franchises to life in toys.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Seeing a young boy or girl carrying their favorite doll, plush or action figure. Knowing that we are developing product that is creating happy memories for kids is what I love most.

What’s the ONE thing you recommend ALL businesswomen do right now to take their business or career to the next level?
Don’t get caught up in what other people are doing, keep your eye on the prize and let your work speak for itself.

What advice would you offer working moms?
Never miss the big moments with your kids – NO MATTER WHAT!

What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
During my first hour of the business day I try to stop for a 5- or 10-minute chat with each member of my team. It gives me the opportunity for an informal check-in before getting tied up in meetings. I don’t do this every day, but definitely at the start of the week and then mid-week. Then I pick up voicemail, go through my schedule for the day and check my to-do list from the night before.

How do you recharge/reboot?
Vacation is the best way, and I’m hoping to go on one soon!

What’s your favorite mobile app?
Since moving to Los Angeles from NY my favorite app is Waze. It’s been a lifesaver and helped me learn more about the area and how to get around.

What is your favorite productivity tip?
Do the thing you want to do least first, so it motivates you to keep going and get to the fun stuff!

What is the one thing you couldn’t live without?
No question, the one thing I could not live without is my family.

Who is your hero (in business, life or both)?
I have too many to name, there are so many people both personally and professionally who have inspired me.

What does WIT membership mean to you? How has it impacted your career?
It has given me the opportunity to meet such a diverse group of professionals beyond the licensor/licensee relationship. Having participated on committees and now on the board helps me not only have a voice but have the opportunity to listen and learn from incredibly talented and strategic professionals.

What has surprised you most about WIT?
Less surprised and more impressed by how much the organization has grown and the continued level of commitment by the volunteers to create a forum that educates and inspires not only women but the toy industry as a whole.

What do you wish other people knew about WIT?
I wish they knew just how dedicated the team at WIT is; not only about the programming, education and value they strive to bring to their members, but how they challenge themselves to raise the bar each time. This is a passionate team that does not settle for what worked last time, and that is inspiring.


GennaGenna Rosenberg
Principal At GennComm

Member of the WIT Southern California Chapter since 2009.

What is the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as a businesswoman today and why?
Someone once told me “Genna, you should just do PR… ” That advice shaped GennComm. I knew instinctively that we should do the opposite! Together with the most incredible team of smart, passionate and seasoned marketing communications executives, we have grown GennComm, both opportunistically and strategically, using the latest cutting edge tools and tactics. Our strategy is deeply rooted in GennComm’s powerful connections. In today’s fast-changing world, people absorb information on every screen and on demand. We stay ahead of the mega-trends, harness the power of influencers, and cultivate programs that will help our clients make an impact in a crowded marketplace, wherever their customers may be. People come to GennComm because we use an innovative approach.

What’s the biggest challenge you have faced in business, and how did you overcome it?
Time management! As a business owner, entrepreneur, mother, wife and amateur philanthropist, I am really strapped for time! I’ve committed to streamlining processes using technology, and working smarter…it’s a work in progress.

What advice would you offer women wishing to break into the toy/licensing/entertainment industry?
Think about what you’re really great at doing, and find a job doing it in the toy, entertainment or licensing industry. If you love fashion for example, you can do PR or marketing, develop apps for fashion-oriented brands, toycos and more. If you like to design or engineer, you can work for a toy maker bringing your fashion expertise there. You could be the cost accountant, or look for fashion licenses for toycos. It’s endless. Be true to your interests… it will pay off if you love what you do!

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I have so much pride in the work we do at GennComm. Every day I pinch myself that we get to work on such incredible brands with the most amazing IP owners in the world!

What’s the ONE thing you recommend ALL businesswomen do right now to take their business or career to the next level?
Don’t work in a silo! Look out for mega trends and design your business around where things are going, not where they are today. Be open to new things and ideas!

What advice would you offer working moms?
Take a deep breath. My first baby was born during Toy Fair – the biggest week of each year for me work-wise. It’s not easy being a working mom, for me or the kids. But I care very much to be a strong role model for my children, and make sure they know our love comes first. Unplug when you can. Embrace apps when you need a break or time for that important conference call. It’s OK!

What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I wake up in the morning and work on email on my phone for 30-60 minutes in bed before I get the family up. It’s not ideal but it really helps me get a jump on my day and not walk into 100 emails at 8:30 a.m.!

What one thing helps you prepare (and relax) in the minutes leading up to a big pitch/presentation?
Honestly – we tell ourselves to have fun with it!

What’s your favorite mobile app?
I’ve been obsessed with our client Zoobe’s new Hello Kitty StoryGIF app! Hello Kitty sliding down the rainbow makes me smile.

What is your favorite productivity tip?
I am now a believer in Google docs! I absolutely love the collaborating tool it provides for multiple users in real time. Also Google slides, sheets, etc. It took me awhile but I’m hooked! I also get an insane amount of email each day. I like to spend time re-sorting my email between name and subject on Outlook. It allows me to catch up quickly on fast-paced email conversations and hopefully reply to the latest ones for the most up to date input!

What is the one thing you couldn’t live without?
My husband Daniel is really amazing. He is my business partner, baby daddy and biggest fan. I’m very lucky because he’s extremely supportive of our crazy life and always the best wing man!

Who is your hero (in business, life or both)?
I’ve been pretty moved lately by Jeremy Gutsche, the Trendhunter. His method for accomplishing growth Better and Faster has really been resonating with me!

What does WIT membership mean to you? How has it impacted your career?
I have made hundreds of connections through WIT that have been meaningful both personally and to our agency, while making genuine friendships with some of the smartest and forward-thinking colleagues in the industry. I have worked hard on the Executive Board with our president Ashley Mady and countless others to help grow WIT’s programs and make sure we have benefits that will appeal to folks in all aspects of the industries we touch. Also, I am honored to co-chair our annual Wonder Women Awards Gala with Janice Ross from American Greetings. We’re excited to present a special event for the industry.

And most recently I formalized a relationship with my new business partner Betty Wilkinson who I met through WIT, and we are working on several new exciting ventures in the craft space. With WIT and an open mind, the possibilities are endless!

What has surprised you most about WIT?
I love seeing all the openness to ideation and collaboration. Whether it be conceptualizing and executing on events, speaking on panels, presenting opportunities to share ideas, giving mentorship and advice, or to just socialize – our membership largely wants to work with others. I’m always amazed at what can happen when we infuse new ideas into the mix and magic happens! In fact, one of our board members, Jennifer Caveza from Nickelodeon, recently looked at the WIT logo and thought W-I-T – We Inspire Together…. She thought, surely someone must have thought of that over WIT’s 25 years… but she actually looked at WIT with a fresh pair of eyes, recognized a way to encapsulate what it’s all about, and just nailed it!

What do you wish other people knew about WIT?
You can get out of WIT as much as you put into it! Just come to something, be present, be open to endless possibilities, make connections and enjoy the ride!


AmandaGummer_HeadshotDr. Amanda Gummer
Founder and CEO of Fundamentally Children

Member of the WIT UK Chapter since 2014, and WIT UK Chapter Co-Chair.

What is the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as a businesswoman today and why?
Nice guys don’t finish last. I don’t believe you should have to choose between doing good and making money. I am passionate about helping to improve the lives of families and children around the world, but I don’t apologise for enjoying the commercial aspect of the business. I think by being kind, authentic and smart, you can be a ‘nice guy’ and be successful.

What’s the biggest challenge you have faced in business, and how did you overcome it?
Moving from essentially a ‘stay at home mum’ doing some part time consultancy when my girls were very young to being taken seriously as a businesswoman. Overcoming it has taken time, but I’ve just let my work speak for itself. When McDonald’s is using my name and video as one of their ‘experts’ for the Happy Studio app that we helped develop, it’s much easier to convince people that I know what I’m doing!

What advice would you offer women wishing to break into the toy/licensing/entertainment industry?
Network, network, network – but do it authentically. Look out for things you can do to help others and ask for help when you need it. In the industry, and especially in WIT, there are lots of people who will help you if you ask.

What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?
Being approached by Random House to write a book on Play. Seeing it published was amazing too, but I found the fact that a publisher wanted me to write a book to be incredibly flattering (writing the book itself was a whole different ball game).

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Personally, seeing people take my advice and put it into action to make great products is very rewarding, but you can’t beat the look on kids’ faces when we turn up to settings, especially in deprived areas, with a load of new toys and watch them play in ways the manufacturers never imagined. It gives me hope that these kids have the imagination and tenacity to solve whatever problems the future throws at the world.

What’s the ONE thing you recommend ALL businesswomen do right now to take their business or career to the next level?
Set measurable goals. For today, next week, next month and next year. You can drift along for ages and never really understand if what you’re doing is having the impact you want. But if you know what you’re trying to achieve, you can reflect on it afterwards and decide if you need to change anything going forward.

What advice would you offer working moms?
Look after yourself first. I developed a model of family life called Parent-centred Parenting. The best analogy is the airplane safety card. You’re no use to ANYONE if you can’t breath, so secure your own oxygen mask first and then help everyone else with theirs. Get rid of the guilt and believe that the best thing you can give your children is a happy, relaxed, confident, fulfilled role model for them to copy from.

What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
Put the kettle on (I’m British – can’t start the day without my cuppa). Then check emails and plan the day using the ‘do’, ‘delegate’ ‘defer’ or ‘ditch’ technique for prioritization. I try to do this before 9am so that I feel that I’ve got a head start on the day and ideally have 3-5 things that I focus on each day.

How do you recharge/reboot?
I love being in my garden and I’m a sucker for a spa trip, but a glass of wine and a chat with friends is the best antidote to a challenging week.

What does WIT membership mean to you? How has it impacted your career?
I’ve loved being involved in WIT and was flattered to be asked to co-chair the UK chapter. I’ve met so many people, some of whom have gone on to be clients. The biggest impact has been the profile raising by being involved in panel discussions at events such as Digital Kids and the Nuremberg Toy Fair.

What has surprised you most about WIT?
The generosity of everyone with their time and connections – it’s lovely to be part of something so collaborative. The Female Entrepreneur Association had a quote on their Facebook page recently saying ‘I’m not interested in competing, I hope we all make it’ and I think that attitude sums up WIT.

What do you wish other people knew about WIT?
That’s it’s not just for women and it’s not a bra-burning feminist movement. It’s a supportive network of like-minded individuals who recognise that networking doesn’t have to always be on a golf course!


Liz-Grampp-Headshot-1Liz Grampp
Senior Director Brand Management at Bandai America

Member of the WIT Southern California Chapter since 2011.

What is the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as a businesswoman today and why?
I once worked for a person who kept a neutral face and nodded a lot in meetings. I knew this person did not always agree with the speaker, but they had a very calm, encouraging manner. This showed me how to speak less, listen more and be impactful when making a key point.

What advice would you offer women wishing to break into the toy/licensing/entertainment industry?

The toy and licensing business if full of creative female leaders, and is a great industry to join! I would recommend to line up your passion with your talent. Recently, I hired a woman who did not have prior toy experience, but she was very knowledgeable about Bandai and our brands. It’s a one-year position for her to try out the industry, and she can leverage this experience into her next step. Try setting up quick coffees with women at companies you admire. While there may not be an opening at the time, when a position is available you’ll be top of mind.

What advice would you offer women wishing to break into the toy/licensing/entertainment industry?
The toy and licensing business if full of creative female leaders, and is a great industry to join! I would recommend to line up your passion with your talent. Recently, I hired a woman who did not have prior toy experience, but she was very knowledgeable about Bandai and our brands. It’s a one-year position for her to try out the industry, and she can leverage this experience into her next step. Try setting up quick coffees with women at companies you admire. While there may not be an opening at the time, when a position is available you’ll be top of mind.

What’s the ONE thing you recommend ALL businesswomen do right now to take their business or career to the next level?
Stay relevant! It’s so important to stay on top of consumer trends and follow thought leaders in your career field. When you are knowledgeable, you are prepared to lead the next great idea for your organization, whether you are in marketing, R&D or another field.

What advice would you offer working moms?
As a working Mom, my family has influenced my career choices but never limited my opportunity. I’ve learned to be very disciplined about my schedule and very efficient with prioritizing projects and planning my work day. Be open with your executives, peers and employees about the level of flexibility you need to make your life add up. You may need to set specific hours to allow for morning carpool or childcare pick up. You may need to work from home when caring for a sick child. I’ve found most teams can accommodate flexibility as long as you have clear communication. My whole life is texting – babysitter, playdates, husband and even my middle-schooler! A work laptop is a lifesaver when not on site, and conference calls can be taken in the car or in a locked bathroom at home with back-to-back episodes of Doc McStuffins on TV! My toddler once “pee pee’d on the potty” to great applause, only to realize I was NOT on mute with Europe. We all have lives. The most important thing is to meet work commitments and be a trust worthy teammate, while balancing your family needs.

What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
The first hour of my day, I review and prepare for the tasks I need to accomplish. I usually come in around 8:30, grab a coffee and greet my team. I set aside the first 45 minutes to respond to emails. Then I review projects that must get done, and look ahead to my schedule for the following day. Taking the first hour to organize is key to keeping my schedule on track.

What one thing helps you prepare (and relax) in the minutes leading up to a big pitch/presentation?
Before a big pitch or presentation, I practice my opening line in quiet moments. I may be in the car or on a run. With a clear, quiet mind I picture the room and the audience and think about my first few moments. I don’t usually plan exactly what I’m going to say beyond the opening, I just know my key points and speak extemporaneously from there. Once I know my opening, I feel calm and confident!

What does WIT membership mean to you? How has it impacted your career?
WIT Membership has been a wonderful part of my career. I was lucky enough to be nominated as “Rising Star” in 2014. That was a really special night at the Wonder Woman Awards dinner. I received so many kind words and congratulations on the nomination, from colleagues and buyers. It showed me how connected we are in the industry, and what incredible talent is all around us! That exposure has helped me network, creating relationships and business opportunities.

What has surprised you most about WIT?
WIT is more than just women; it’s supported by leaders of both genders at so many companies in our industry. Seeing the many leaders who support this growing organization is a hallmark of WIT’s significance, and as we grow we can impact even greater change on issues that we all care about.

What do you wish other people knew about WIT?
Everyone should be a member! Women have a special strength in building relationships and working collaboratively. This organization connects women from every level across competitive lines and global territories. It’s only a WIN to be WIT!

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