Toy Association Announces New Board Members

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The Toy Association has announced the election of five new members and three term renewals to its Board of Directors for two-year terms expiring in February 2023. The announcement was made during The Toy Association’s Annual General Meeting, which was held virtually on Zoom Wednesday, March 10 and open to all Toy Association members.

During the meeting, five candidates were elected to serve first terms on The Toy Association Board of Directors: Kathrin Belliveau, chief purpose officer at Hasbro; Erica Buxton, chief operating officer at Razor USA; Ashley Mady, head of brand development at Basic Fun!; Anne Parducci, chief content officer at MGA Entertainment; and Dion Vlachos, executive vice president, hardlines & retail at ViacomCBS Consumer Products.

“Opening up nominations this year to candidates beyond the C-Suite has not only provided us with a new slate of Board members with vast experience and expertise but a group whose fresh perspectives will be essential as the Association and our members continue to navigate an uncertain retail landscape in the years ahead,” said Skip Kodak, chairperson of The Toy Association Board of Directors and regional president, Americas at The LEGO Group. “We are thrilled to have them help steer the future outlook for the Association.”

Three members were elected to serve additional two-year terms: Aaron Muderick, founder and executive chairman of Crazy Aaron’s Puttyworld; Michael Rinzler, co-president at Wicked Cool Toys and executive vice president & partner at Jazwares LLC; and Steve Totzke, executive vice president & chief commercial officer at Mattel. Board member John Frascotti, president & coo of Hasbro, has concluded his final term.

The Toy Association’s new Executive Committee (elected by the board members on February 25 during their winter meeting) includes: Skip Kodak of The LEGO Group as chairperson; Aaron Muderick of Crazy Aaron’s Putty World as vice-chairperson; Timothy Kilpin of PlayMonster as secretary-treasurer; and Steve Totzke of Mattel and Sharon Price John of Build-A-Bear Workshop as members at large. Toy Association President & CEO Steve Pasierb will continue to serve on the Executive Committee in an ex officio role.

The meeting included remarks from Pasierb, who spoke of The Toy Association’s work to assist and create new business opportunities for its members in the face of the global pandemic, retail challenges, and the ongoing fight against the proliferation of counterfeit and IP-infringing products in the marketplace. He also highlighted key aspects of The Toy Association’s 2021 action plan. Outgoing secretary-treasurer Jennifer Caveza provided an overview of The Toy Association’s 2020 fiscal results and 2021 budget. Additional remarks included those from chairperson Kodak; PlayMonster’s Bob Wann, who chaired the Board of Directors Nominating Committee; and The Toy Association’s Ed Desmond, executive vice president of external affairs.

Members also voted in favor of two updates to the Association bylaws, which provides the opportunity to expand the board to no more than 21 members (previously 17) and allows the chairperson to appoint up to six (previously four) additional members at large to the Chairperson’s Advisory Committee.

“The approval of these amendments coupled with the appointment of new Board members emphasize the commitment of The Toy Association to maintain diverse and inclusive governance that represents the broad toy and play community,” said Pasierb. “2020, despite its challenges, verified what we in the industry already know: the powerful positive impact of toys, games, and play products on the lives of today’s consumers. As our staff and many committees collaborate with the newly expanded Board, the Association continues to be well positioned to protect and promote not only our member companies but all businesses vital to bringing toys and play to families around the world.”