Women leaders were honored by more than 500 industry executives at the 11th Annual Wonder Women in Toys, Licensing, and Entertainment (WIT) Awards Dinner, which took place on Sunday night. Hosted by WIT, and coinciding with the North American International Toy Fair in New York City, the gala awarded winners from more than 40 distinguished nominees from around the world. WIT also presented Special Honoree Awards to executives from Sesame Workshop, amazon.com, and Disney Consumer Products.
Among the special honorees, Ann Kearns, vice president, Global Toys, Sesame Workshop, received the Lifetime Achievement Award for 42 years of service at Sesame Workshop. Kearns championed a gold standard for toys that encouraged engaging and delightful experiences for young children. The other special honorees included Eva Lorenz, general manager for Toys & Games, amazon.com, who received the Retailer of the Year Award; and Elaine Carovilla, director, Disney Consumer Products, who received the People’s Choice Award.
Lyla Black, of Lyla Tov Monsters, received the inaugural Wonder Girl Award, which recognizes young toy entrepreneurs. At the age of eight, she is WIT’s youngest member, and the creative force behind Lyla Tov (“Good Night” in Hebrew) Monsters, choosing fabrics, picking ribbons, and deciding which monsters need ears and which get horns.
This year’s Wonder Woman Award categories and winners are as follows:
Manufacturer of the Year: Irene Li, The Bridge Direct
Public Relations & Social Media: Julie Duffy, vice president, global communications, Hasbro Inc.
Social Responsibility: Deborah Dicochea, Mattel Children’s Foundation and Corporate Philanthropy, Mattel Inc.
Licensing and Entertainment: Samantha Freeman and Angela Santomero, Out of the Blue Enterprises
Designer /Inventor: Ditte Bruun Pedersen, Future Lab, The Lego Group
Marketing and Advertising: Tamara Stewart, Moose Toys
Rising Star: Bettina Cheng and Alice Brooks, Roominate