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The Toy Association Announces 2024 Board of Directors & New Executive Committee During Annual General Meeting

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The Toy Association has announced the 2024 election of seven new members and two term renewals to its Board of Directors, including the election of Sharon Price John, president & CEO of Build-ABear Workshop, as chairperson. The announcement was made during The Toy Association’s Annual General Meeting, which was open to all toy industry stakeholders.

 

The meeting included updates on the ways in which the organization is listening to, engaging with, and bringing together the industry; the Association’s fight against harmful legislation and other obstacles threatening the toy and play community’s ability to get toys effectively and safely into consumers’ hands; and details about the upcoming LA Fall Preview and Toy Fair 2025 events.

 

The meeting opened with remarks from Chairperson Emeritus Aaron Muderick, founder & executive chair of Crazy Aaron’s, who presented the 2024 Chairperson’s Award to Steven Aarons, founder of Child’s Play Toys & Books, a retailer based in Washington, D.C. With the end of a successful two-year term as chairperson, Muderick will take over the role of chair of the Board Nominating Committee, and, as such, serve as a member of the chair’s Advisory Committee.

 

“We are grateful to Aaron Muderick for his leadership these past two years and dedication to protecting and promoting the collective interests of our industry,” said Andy Keimach, president & chief executive of The Toy Association. “As an inventor, entrepreneur, and accomplished business owner, Aaron’s tenure has been characterized by a profound understanding of our diverse membership base and a steadfast commitment to advocating for all within the expansive toy and play community.”

 

“With Sharon Price John assuming the role of chairperson, we welcome an exceptional visionary whose guidance promises to steer our organization toward continued growth and innovation,” Keimach continued. “Sharon’s diverse toy background and impressive tenure at Build-A-Bear Workshop speaks volumes about her strategic acumen and leadership. Her proven track record of revitalizing brands across companies and driving sustainable success will undoubtedly bolster our mission of advancing the toy and play industry.”

 

In addition to expressing openness to feedback at any time from representatives across the toy and play community, Keimach commented on the state of the toy industry and how the Association has continued its work as a unifying force in the industry — from protecting businesses on local, federal, and international levels, to creating new opportunities to help members promote and sell their products to advancing to importance of play. Members of the toy community were also invited to get involved and add their voices to issues impacting their businesses by joining one of the many committees of the Association, which range from advocacy- and regulatory-related topics to key program areas like the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. He also offered insight into the planning for the Association’s inaugural, industry-requested Los Angeles-based marketplace, including short- and long-term strategies, and other initiatives that will have an increased focus on the issues that matter most to manufacturers and retailers of all sizes. During the meeting, Toy Association membership elected seven new members representing companies of all sizes to serve terms on The Toy Association Board of Directors: Vish Chandran, CEO of Wild Republic; Tim Kilpin, president of toys, licensing, & entertainment at Hasbro; Bryan Scott, vice president of merchandising at Target; Wes Hardin, CEO of Diverse Marketing; Max Rangel, director, global president, & CEO of Spin Master; Rob Michaelis, vice president of commercialization, parks, experiences, & consumer products at The Walt Disney Company; and Duncan Billing, chair of the board of advisors at Moose Toys.

 

Two members were elected to serve additional two-year terms: Anne Carrihill, director & general manager, category leader of toys & games at Amazon, was elected to serve a third term, and Geoffrey Greenberg, co-president of Just Play, was elected to a second term. Association board members are elected for two-year terms and may be nominated for re-election twice before being required to depart the board.

 

Six outgoing board members were recognized for their many contributions: Chris Harrs, executive vice president general counsel & secretary at Spin Master; Bridgette Miller, chief marketing & sustainability officer at Melissa & Doug; Melissa Millo, vice president of strategy & operations, at Target; Michael Keaton, CEO of Toysmith; Andrew Quartin, CEO of Thames & Kosmos; and Andy Weiner, chief advisor of Toy’n Around.

 

The Toy Association 2024 Executive Committee, elected by the board members during their winter meeting on February 26, will include: Sharon Price John as chairperson; Geoffrey Greenberg of Just Play as vice chairperson; Tim Kilpin of Hasbro as secretary-treasurer; and Jared Carr, senior vice president & U.S. general manager of LEGO Systems, and Vish Chandran of Wild Republic as members at large.

 

Toy Association Board Chairperson Emeritus and 2022 – 2024 Nominating Committee Chairperson Skip Kodak, regional president of Americas at The LEGO Group, thanked Muderick for his service and dedication to the Association. He also recognized the following departing members of the chairperson’s Advisory Committee: Kathleen Campisano, global chief marketing officer of Beacon Media Group; Filip Francke, CEO of Ravensburger North America, Inc.; Ronnie Frankowski, chief marketing officer of Moose Toys; Kim Rompilla, executive vice president of global product development & marketing at Crayola; Kelly Thacker, vice president of U.S. toys & media entertainment at Circana; and Steve Pasierb, senior advisor of The Toy Association. Kodak’s term on the committee as board chair emeritus has also ended. An announcement of the 2024 Advisory Committee members is forthcoming.

 

“The Toy Association team, alongside our board of directors and numerous volunteer committees, is laser focused on addressing the diverse needs of members across all scales and sectors and the industry as a whole,” Keimach said. “Whether they are established household brands or emerging startups and inventors, every company contributes significantly to the vitality, expansion, and innovation within the toy and play community. Between our advocacy work, data-driven research and education offerings, trend reports, and other strategic initiatives, we will continue to protect the industry from legislative roadblocks, deliver toys to children in need through The Toy Foundation, provide invaluable resources for navigating market complexities, and champion the importance of play.”

 

Additional presenters included Kimberly Carcone, executive vice president of global market events at The Toy Association, who presented additional updates on LA Fall Preview and Toy Fair. Robert Heins, senior vice president of finance & administration at The Toy Association, gave an overview of The Toy Association’s 2023 fiscal results and overall financial health. Despite a responsibly reduced budget in 2024 due to a year of not having Toy Fair, the results position the Association to be fully able to protect and promote the industry, in addition to delivering high-value services to members and the industry at large. Ed Desmond, executive vice president of global government & regulatory affairs at The Toy Association, also highlighted the Association’s commitment to pushing back against harmful legislation and regulations threatening the toy and play community’s ability to get toys effectively and safely into consumers’ hands and to advocating for the safety and protection of consumers everywhere.