Funko, Ryan’s World, and MoMA among first Licensing Leadership Summit speakers confirmed

The first speakers for this year’s new-format Licensing Leadership Summit have been confirmed, with representatives from the Museum of Modern Art, Funko, Ryan’s World and more on the bill for the virtual event. The summit will be the closing event of this year’s all-virtual Festival of Licensing and will take place on October 28th and 29th 2020.

The summit is the only virtual conference to unite C-level executives from the world’s largest players across manufacturing, retail and brands to discuss, debate and collaborate on the future of brand licensing. It will take place in the last week of the four-week Festival of Licensing virtual event taking place throughout October.

Drawing from modern art and youth culture to tackle top brand licensing trends and topics such as TikTok, eSports and gaming, to evergreens like museum licensing, early Licensing Leadership Summit speakers will include:

Robin Sayetta, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) – Different by Design: MoMA’s Modern Approach to Museum Licensing

Lauren Winarski, Funko –I Want it Now!: Using the Fan to Expand Distribution

Stone Newman,, and Shion Kaji, Ryan’s World – Influencers: Are they Delivering on their Brand Promise?

Chris Petrovic, Zynga – How Games Ate the Licensing World

Maca Rotter, Panaderia – Esports: The Hottest New Licensing Category

Greg Goodfried, UTA – Session on TikTok

Sid Kaufman, UTA, and Stevin John (Blippi), YouTube star – Digital Talent: The Future

Max Luthy, Trendwatching – Finding Opportunity in the Overwhelm: Key Trends in Consumerism

Connie Chang, C-Life Group, and Tonya Kirby, Retro Brands – What Do Licensees Want?

The Global Licensing Group at Informa Markets, the organisation behind Licensing Leadership Summit and Festival of Licensing, is calling for additional speakers now and are asked to visit Call For Papers to submit for topics or speaking opportunities.

Amanda Cioletti, event and content director, Global Licensing Group, Informa Markets, said: “As with everything, if you look in the right places, there is always a silver lining. Transitioning Licensing Leadership Summit online and bringing live broadcast content to our attendees means our event is now more accessible than ever to a truly global C-suite audience, which means more diversity of speakers, more opportunities to connect and richer content on offer. We are excited for our speakers and content to reflect a world vision of the future of the brand licensing industry.”

Anna Knight, vice president, Global Licensing Group, Informa Markets, added: “The Licensing Leadership Summit will bring together leaders and decision makers from around the world with the experience, expertise and influence to shape the future of the industry. They will analyze the huge, world-changing events of 2020 including, of course, the impact of COVID-19, and draw on key learnings from the previous three weeks of Festival of Licensing to drive strategic direction for this sector in 2021.

“It is an unmissable two-day event for all senior leaders working directly or indirectly with the licensing industry to play a critical role in ensuring this sector is fighting fit for a future beyond the pandemic.”

Delegate information can be found at

The Licensing Leadership Summit postponed over Covid-19 outbreak

The Licensing Leadership Summit has been rescheduled for November 5th and 6th this year, in light of the growing concerns and actions taken amid the ongoing spread of Covid-19.

The Licensing Leadership Summit, which was originally set to take place March 16 and 17, will still be held at the same location, the Hilton Midtown Manhattan in New York City, New York.

The decision to postpone the Licensing Leadership Summit, which is organised by the Global Licensing Group (GLG) at Informa Markets, follows guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO) and careful consideration from Informa Markets’ Managed Postponement Program.

As the health and safety of our attendees, speakers, staff, and the surrounding community is the utmost priority, the GLG has concluded that rescheduling Licensing Leadership Summit to a later date is a vital choice given recent COVID-19 developments in New York City and the surrounding areas.

“Attendees can be assured that we are committed to bringing the same high-quality Licensing Leadership Summit to New York this fall,” said Anna Knight, vice president of the Global Licensing Group, Informa Markets. “We believe the Summit remains a premier opportunity for the licensing industry to meet as one to work through challenges and build the future of the industry, thus, we will proceed with the event in a safe manner later in the year. At this time, our thoughts are with those that have been directly and indirectly affected by COVID-19.”

Speakers from Netflix, Buzzfeed, UTA, and more, have already confirmed their continued participation including:

  • Michelle King, Director of Inclusion, Netflix, and author of the new book, The Fix
    • Keynote: A Culture of Equality
  • Eric Karp, Senior Vice President, Brand Licensing, BuzzFeed
    • Session: How Social Media is Driving Products
  • Terése Whitehead, Senior Manager, Sponsorships and Operations, Player Services, NFLPA
    • Session: The Athlete Influencer Difference
  • Blippi, also known as Stevin John, YouTube star
    • Session: Digital Talent: The Future
  • Sid Kaufman, Licensing Agent, UTA
    • Session: Digital Talent: The Future
  • Robin Sayetta, Associate Director of Licensing and Partnerships, MoMA
    • Session: Different by Design: MoMA’s Modern Approach to Museum Licensing

The Licensing Leadership Summit website will remain updated and we will communicate any significant changes to the speakers, attendees, and partners directly.

Gene Simmons to take lead keynote at Licensing Leadership Summit 2020

Gene Simmons, the world-renowned entertainer, entrepreneur, and co-founder of KISS will headline the Licensing Leadership Summit 2020 as the lead keynote speaker this year.

Simmons will once again take to the stage, this time to tantalise an audience with his insight and experience of more than four decades worth of licensing and merchandising knowledge.

Not only is Simmons is the co-founder of KISS, America’s number one Gold Record award-winning group of all time, but the brains behind the merchandise powerhouse that has driven more than $1 billion in retail sales of licensed consumer products for brands ranging from Gene Simmons Family Jewels to Rock & Brews, Erebus Pictures, Simmons Records, LA KISS and more.

He’s also engineered collaborations with best-in-class partners such as Archie Comics, Coca-Cola, Hello Kitty, Visa, USPS, Indy Car Series and more.

In his keynote, Gene Simmons: Creating a Brand, Simmons will speak candidly to the Licensing Leadership Summit audience about the launch of his newest branding empire and the secrets to leveraging a brand when you’re the star.

“Licensing is an ever-changing, multi-faceted industry that, if executed passionately and strategically, allows brands to showcase and monetise their style and personality,” said Simmons.

“I look forward to sharing my personal experience and lessons learned over my years mastering the art of this electric business with Licensing Leadership Summit attendees.”

Year-over-year, the business of brand licensing is continuously growing and evolving. According to the Licensing International Annual Global Licensing Survey, global retail sales of licensed merchandise and services grew to $280.3 billion in 2018.

The Licensing Leadership Summit is set to take place at the New York Hilton Midtown, March 16th to 17th, 2020 and will bring together more than 300 brand licensing and retail executives for two full days of networking and thought leadership.

To register to attend, please visit: LicensingLeadershipSummit/Register2020.

“We are honoured to announce that Gene Simmons will headline this year’s Licensing Leadership Summit,” said Anna Knight, vice president, Global Licensing Group.

“Simmons is truly a merchandising genius – as the driver of one of the biggest music brands of all time, the innovation behind and staying power of his brand is certainly one any business leader would want to emulate. His ability to take risks, foster deep and lasting brand growth and diversify across product categories is inspiring and will be an experience our attendees will take back to the board room.”

Additional keynotes and speakers at Licensing Leadership Summit include:

  • Research and analysis organisation, The NPD Group
  • 19 million subscribers strong YouTube star Steven John (Blippi)
  • Artestar
  • Beanstalk
  • Dependable Rights
  • Funko
  • Future State Brands
  • Google Shopping
  • JPatten
  • MoMa
  • NFL Players Association
  • Spin Master
  • Trevco
  • United Talent Agency
  • Viacom Nickelodeon Consumer Products
  • Viacom CBS Consumer Products
  • Zynga
  • And many more!

Confirmed attendees include executives from:

  • Beanstalk
  • Coty Inc.
  • Crayola
  • Major League Baseball
  • Mars Wrigley
  • Steve Madden
  • The Pokémon Company
  • Warner Bros.
  • Warner Media
  • And many more!