Mary Couzin

Mary Couzin, founder of the Chicago Toy & Game Group, was honored at the 36th Annual UK Toy Inventors’ Dinner during the London Toy Fair. Couzin received the International Designer and Inventor of the Toys Award (also known as the I.D.I.O.T. Award), an honor bestowed upon luminaries who have made outstanding contributions to the toy industry.

“Mary Couzin had a vision to turn her hometown of Chicago (the birthplace of American toy invention) into a celebration of all the creative people that make this industry successful and a wild and fun place to work,” said Rich Mazel, Hasbro’s head of product acquisition, as he introduced Mary. “I am a regular attendee of the Chicago Toy & Game Fair and Inventor Conferences and Awards. Several years ago, I mistook a staircase door as the way to the bathroom and I found Mary grabbing five minutes of sleep between her numerous duties at ChiTAG. She had given her all that day to support, celebrate, and encourage this community, and she continues to do so and impacts so many people’s lives, including mine.”

Couzin, an occasional Toy Book contributor, turned her experience as an independent toy and game designer into a movement that celebrates and assists toy and game inventors with the Toy & Game Inventor of the Year Awards (the TAGIEs), Toy & Game Innovator and Inventor Conferences, the Young Inventor Challenge and the Chicago Toy & Game Fair. The Inventor Conferences and Awards are the largest in the world and the Fair is the largest public toy and game fair in North America. The 17th Chicago Toy & Game Week will be held from Nov. 21-24.

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.