The 2022 WiT Wonder Women | Source: WiT

Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WiT) is kicking off Women’s History Month by pulling back the curtain to reveal its 2022 Wonder Women Award winners. WiT celebrates its 30th anniversary this year while continuing the tradition of recognizing and honoring remarkable leaders, entrepreneurs, and change-makers for their outstanding contributions in the toy, licensing, and entertainment industries.

“It’s a privilege and an honor to celebrate this incredible slate of 2022 Wonder Women Award winners and honorees,” says WiT President Janice Ross. “This year’s expanded categories gave us the opportunity to spotlight the broad range of tremendously talented women in our industry, and the powerful impact they’re having. Out of hundreds of deserving nominees, this amazing group embodies such extraordinary excellence in leadership.” 

This year’s Wonder Women Awards were originally intended to be issued at an in-person gala during Toy Fair New York. With the annual gathering of the U.S. toy industry having been canceled for the second year in a row, WiT will hold an International Women’s Day Celebration Event on March 8 to highlight this year’s winners and honorees.

“Heartfelt congratulations to each of this year’s remarkable Wonder Women Award recipients! While we wish our celebration happened in person in New York, we look forward to celebrating our winners and honorees with the WiT community and our industry all throughout the month of March,” say Wonder Women Awards Co-Chairs, Genna Rosenberg and Jennifer Caveza.

2022 Wonder Women Award Winners

  • Designer/Inventor: Kenna O’Brien, senior manager, product design – Barbie, Mattel
  • Licensee/Manufacturer: Amanda Bright, senior director, product development, Spin Master
  • Licensor/Entertainment: Jes Wolfe, CEO, Rebel Girls 
  • Marketing/PR: Arlene Biran, senior vice president, U.S. marketing, Spin Master 
  • Social Good: Sarah Knott Manager, global philanthropy and social impact, Hasbro
  • COVID Hero: The LEGO Group 
  • Deal Maker: Paula Kupfer, senior director, global partnerships, Hasbro 
  • Storyteller: Azhelle Wade, CEO, The Toy Coach 
  • Unsung Hero: Maggie Snow, senior director and associate general counsel, Mattel
  • Wonder Girl: Alaya High, Artist (That Girl Lay Lay), Paramount 
  • Rising Star — Deal Maker: Brittany Oliver, senior commercial lead, ZURU Toys 
  • Rising Star — Designer/Inventor: Vanessa Fung, senior designer, toys and hardlines, Universal Brand Development 
  • Rising Star — Licensee / Manufacturer: Dr. Lisa Williams, CEO and Founder, The World of EPI
  • Rising Star — Licensor / Entertainment: Tiffany Suzuki, licensing manager, Crunchyroll
  • Rising Star — Marketing/PR: Sakita Withers, brand manager, PlayMonster 
  • Rising Star — Social Good: Penny Bauder, founder and CEO, Green Kid Crafts 
  • Rising Star — Storyteller: Rupa Parekh, founder and CEO, Umani Studio 
  • Rising Star — Unsung Hero: Amanda Marschall, training manager, The LEGO Group 

Related: Women in Toys Gets A New Look and Members Weigh In

2022 Wonder Women Award Honorees

Retailer of the Year: Amazon, accepted by Anne Carrihill, director, toys and entertainment.

Amazon kept the world connected with safe, crucial deliveries of toys and goods for its customer base during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the company’s programs, including Amazon Smile, Amazon Small Business Academy, and Amazon Black Business Accelerators, have benefitted charitable organizations, entrepreneurs, businesses, and more.

Icon Award: JoJo Siwa, Paramount

JoJo Siwa is a powerhouse Nickelodeon star, pop star, social media sensation, author, and the face of a global consumer products brand. Additionally, she is an activist, role model, and overall trailblazer that is now heralded as an LGBTQ+ icon for kids and adults of all ages.

Changemaker Award: Steven Wolfe Periera, Encantos

Steven Wolfe Pereira is being honored for purpose-driven and transformative leadership in diversity and inclusion. Through his intentional actions using both his personal social influence and the work he leads as CEO of Encantos — the public benefit corporation he co-founded — Steven is a business leader that is committed to allyship, advocacy and activism to create opportunities for underserved communities.

For more about WiT and its year-round programming, visit

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.