Clockwise from top left: Amanda Lao, Aaron Wade, Despina Danishwar, and Karen Nussbaum | Source: Beacon Media Group/The Toy Book

There’s movement within the communications arm of Beacon Media Group.

Beacon Communications has completed a leadership expansion that includes promotions and new hires. The agency says that it’s focusing on its global brand strategy with a commitment to expand into new markets in the year ahead. Beacon Communications and its parent organization, Beacon Media Group, serve clients within the toy and game industries in addition to those in the family and lifestyle space.

“As we head into 2023, we’re building on the tremendous success we’ve enjoyed in connecting brands with diverse audiences spanning multiple generations — kids, tweens, parents, families, and fans,” says Beacon Communications President Donna MacNeil. “With that vision, we are proud to introduce these exciting new appointments to our leadership team of strategists, storytellers, and expert marketers who help shape the conversation and influence the influencers.”

The moves at Beacon Communications include:

  • Amanda Lao steps into an expanded role as vice president of PR, communications, and engagement. Lao joined the company in 2018 and has more than 11 years of marketing leadership experience working with consumer and retail brands, including Toys “R” Us, Calgon, Goliath Games, Bazooka Candy Brands, Rimowa, Conair, and more.
  • Aaron Wade joins the company as senior director. Wade has more than a decade of experience in the kid, family, and retail space working with numerous toy and game clients. He most recently served as brand and customer communications director for Canadian retailer, Giant Tiger. Past accounts include Spin Master, Arcade1Up (Tastemakers), Jazwares, Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co., IScream, and Red Planet Group.
  • Karen Nussbaum joins the company as account director, marketing and communications. She has more than 15 years of experience in public relations and marketing. Her past clients include Ford, Scotiabank, Toyota, Lexus, Tim Hortons, Pfizer, Visa, Air Canada Rouge, and RONA.
  • Despina Danishwar joins the company as a senior account manager within Beacon Communications’ marketing and communications team. She has more than a decade of experience in the broadcast media space and has worked on campaigns for clients including Marriott Hotels, Zirkova Vodka, Dalcini Stainless, StageCoach, and DRMG.

Related: Stay on the Pulse of Play with ‘The BIG Toy Book’ in 2023

Last month, Beacon Media Group forged a partnership with Flint & Steel to offer clients of both agencies an extended suite of creative solutions, media, marketing, and communications services. Learn more at

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.