Licensing International hosts first Diversity & Inclusion Workshop and launches toolkit to encourage a more diverse industry

The licensing industry’s trade organisation, Licensing International held its first Diversity & Inclusion Workshop this week where it brought together leading minds in the business to discuss the challenges and opportunities for companies looking to better enhance diversity and inclusive practices.

It was Madeline Di Nonno, CEO of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount Saint Mary’s University who kicked off proceedings with a presentation of the findings of a recent study of diversity in the licensing industry, commissioned by Licensing International.

Among other findings, the research shows that while 30 per cent of companies surveyed currently have a Diversity & Inclusivity programme, only 10 per cent have budgeted financial support to those programmes.

“If you don’t measure, you don’t you have any substantive understanding of where things stand or a benchmark by which to gauge success,” said Maura Regan, president, Licensing International. “This research is the crucial first step in creating real, lasting change in our companies and the global licensing community as a whole.”

The full research study is now available for download at

Following the presentation of the research results, newly elected Licensing International Board Member Steven Wolfe Pereira, CEO and co-founder of Encantos, was joined by Petco’s chief marketing officer Tariq Hassan, for a screenside chat about what it means to create an organization that is truly inclusive and how to go about doing it.

“You cannot only do this from executive-level down,” said Hassan. “If you want to tell people to bring their authentic selves to work, you’ve got to allow them to have a place to express it, and you’ve got to allow it to then influence the decisions of the company. … ‘You don’t have to ask for permission to be who you are’ – we have to create a culture that celebrates that insistence. When you put it that way, it stops being about what’s wrong, and it focuses on the energy and creativity of what’s right.”

The panelists who participated in the third part of the event echoed that sentiment, and shared details about how they are nurturing diversity at their own companies. They included: Bryony Bouyer, senior vice president, Diversity & Inclusion and Multicultural Strategy at Hasbro; Cindy Levitt, senior vice president of Licensing, Mad Engine LLC; Dolores Ordas, vice president of People and Culture, Mad Engine LLC; and Eric Ueno, SVP of Human Resources of Hot Topic Inc.

Much of the conversation throughout the event centered on where and how organisations can start to take action. To that end, Licensing International is proud to share its new Diversity & Inclusion Toolkit, developed in conjunction with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

For the next month, Licensing International is making this Toolkit available to the global licensing community at large, after which time it will continue to be available to Licensing International members and partner trade organizations.