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 is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year while continuing the tradition to recognize and honor outstanding leaders, entrepreneurs and changemakers for their outstanding contributions to the toy, licensing and entertainment industries.
“It is a privilege and an honor to celebrate this incredible list of winners and recipients of the 2022 Wonder Women Award,” said WiT President Janice Ross. “This year’s expanded categories gave us the opportunity to shine a light on the wide range of extremely talented women in our industry and the powerful impact they have. Among hundreds of deserving candidates, this incredible group embodies extraordinary excellence in leadership.
This year’s Wonder Women Awards were originally scheduled to be presented at an in-person gala during Toy Fair New York. With the annual gathering of the American toy industry canceled for the second year in a row, WiT will host 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 outstanding Wonder Women Award winners! While we’d like our celebration to take place in person in New York, we look forward to celebrating our winners and honorees with the WiT community and our industry throughout throughout March,” said 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, US Marketing, Spin Master
- Social good: Sarah Knott Head, Global Philanthropy and Social Impact, Hasbro
- COVID Heroes: The LEGO Group
- A negotiator: 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
- Wonderful girl: Alaya High, artist (This girl is lying), paramount
- Rising Star — Deal Maker: Brittany Oliver, Senior Sales Manager, 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 PPE
- 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
2022 Wonder Women Award Winners
Retailer of the Year: Amazon, accepted by Anne Carrihill, Director, Toys and Entertainment.
Amazon has kept the world connected with safe and 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 benefited charities, entrepreneurs, businesses, and more.
Icon Award: JoJo Siwa, Paramount
JoJo Siwa is a 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 global trailblazer who is now being heralded as an LGBTQ+ icon for children and adults of all ages.
Changemaker Award: Steven Wolfe Periera, Encantos
Steven Wolfe Pereira is honored for his 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 company he co-founded – Steven is a business leader who is committed to allyship, advocacy and activism to create opportunity for underserved communities.
To learn more about WiT and its year-round programming, visit womenintoys.com