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.