WiT announces 2022 Wonder Women Awards winners

Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WiT) has announced the 2022 Wonder Women Award winners, as the global organisation celebrates its 30-year anniversary. Honouring the brightest women in toys, licensing and entertainment, the WiT Wonder Women Awards is an annual celebration of the industry’s remakable thought leaders, entrepreneurs and changemakers.

The 2022 Wonder Women Award winners are:

  • 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, SVP, US Marketing – Spin Master

  • Social Good – Sarah Knott, Manager, Global Philanthropy and Social Impact – Hasbro

  • Covid Hero – The LEGO Group

  • Deal Maker – Paula Kupfer, Senior Director, Global Partnerships – Hasbro

  • Storyteller – Azhelle Wade, CEO – The Toy Coach

  • Unsung Hero – Maggie Snow, Senior Director & Associate General Counsel – Mattel

  • Wonder Girl – Alaya High, Artist (That Girl Lay Lay) – Paramount

  • Rising Star – Deal Maker – Brittany Oliver, Senior Commercial Lead – ZURU Toys

  • Rising Star – Designer/Inventor – Vanessa Fung, Senior Designer, Toys & Hardlines – Universal Brand Development

  • Rising Star – Licensee / Manufacturer – Dr. Lisa Williams, CEO & Founder – The World of EPI

  • 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 & CEO – Green Kid Crafts

  • Rising Star – Storyteller – Rupa Parekh, Founder & CEO – Umani Studio

  • Rising Star – Unsung Hero – Amanda Marschall, Training Manager – The LEGO Group

The 2022 Wonder Women Award honorees are:

  • Retailer of the Year – Amazon / Anne Carrihill – Amazon

  • Icon Award – JoJo Siwa – Paramount

  • Changemaker Award – Steven Wolfe Periera – Encantos

“It’s a privilege and an honour to celebrate this incredible slate of 2022 Wonder Women Award winners and honorees,” says Janice Ross, WiT President. “This year’s expanded categories gave us the opportunity to spotlight the broad range of tremendously talented women in our industry, and the powerful impact they’re having. Out of hundreds of deserving nominees, this amazing group embodies such extraordinary excellence in leadership.”

WiT is also planning a special International Women’s Day Celebration Event on 8 March to celebrate the achievements of all women in the industry, and highlighting WiT’s 2022 Wonder Women Award winners and honorees.

The WiT 2022 Retailer of the Year Award was presented to Amazon, accepted by Anne Carrihill, Director, Toys & Entertainment, for the positive impact Amazon has had on the toy industry and everyone’s lives. A WiT spokesperson said: “Amazon kept the world connected with safe, crucial deliveries of toys and goods for its massive customer base during this unprecedented time, and their myriad strategic programmes – including Amazon Smile, which offers customers a way to support their favourite charitable organisation, at no additional cost, when they shop at Smile.Amazon.com; Amazon Small Business Academy, and Amazon Black Business Accelerators – have empowered entrepreneurs, businesses and organisations with tangible resources, which have been a lifeline to countless companies and individuals.”

WiT also presented an Icon Award to JoJo Siwa, the powerhouse Nickelodeon star, pop star, social media sensation, author and consumer products global brand. “She is an activist, role model, and overall trailblazer in every way,” said a spokesperson. “She now also adds powerhouse LGBTQ+ icon for kids and adults of all ages who she has inspired throughout her journey and meteoric career.”

WiT presented its 2022 Changemaker Award to Steven Wolfe Pereira, for his purpose-driven and transformative leadership in diversity and inclusion. A spokesperson said: “Through his intentional actions using both his personal social influence and the work he leads as CEO of Encantos, the public benefit corporation he co-founded, Steven is a visionary business leader committed to allyship, advocacy and activism to create opportunities for under-served communities.”

WiT thanks its 2022 sponsors, including Amazon, Hasbro, Mattel, Paramount, Disney, Spin Master, LEGO, Jazwares, The Bandai Foundation, VTech, Warner Bros, TOMY, and the many partners who provide funding and support for WiT’s year-round programming, events and initiatives, including The WiT Foundation Scholarship Program.