I have been a supporter of WIT and the work they do for many years. This article comes to us from Nancy Zwiers, CMO at Spin Master and WIT's Empowerment Co-Chair. Nancy is a classically trained brand builder who joined the toy industry in 1990 with Mattel, where she held a number of senior positions. As founder and CEO of the consulting firm Funosophy, Nancy spent 16 years helping over 200 clients build and expand their brands. She has been a strategic thought-partner and facilitator for many industry executives and has helped in strategy development for many successful franchises. Nancy has conducted extensive research on kids and play and has led multiple invention teams to licensing success.
It all started with a question: How can we fund a platform needed to provide free mentoring webinars to help women further their careers?
As volunteer Co-Chair of the WIT Empowerment Committee, I had the answer — I would fund the $1,000 annual fee needed for the webinar platform out of my charitable fund, The Nancy Zwiers Empowerment Fund.
Out of those humble beginnings, we developed the idea for the Superhero Circle to offer others the opportunity to contribute to WIT’s mission of supporting women’s success in the toy, entertainment, and licensing industries.
At the 2017 Wonder Women Awards Gala, I announced a matching donation program. For the first five individuals donating $5,000 or more, The Nancy Zwiers Empowerment Fund would match with an incremental contribution of $1,000 each.
Five individuals stepped up, and together, we raised $30,000 to support WIT programs for education, mentorship, research, and empowerment. Our thanks go to:
Brian Goldner, Chairman & CEO, Hasbro -$5,000
Jerry Perez, SVP & Global Brand Leader, Hasbro – $5,000
Wiebe Tinga, Chief Commercial Officer, Hasbro – $5,000
Jill Barad, Former Chairman & CEO, Mattel – $5,000
Brad Pederson, President & CEO, Tech4Kids – $5,000
Nancy Zwiers, Chief Marketing Officer, Spin Master – $5,000
TOTAL WIT SUPERHERO CIRCLE CONTRIBUTIONS – $30,000
Individuals donating to the Superhero Circle might have different motivations. For me, it is a way to express my gratitude to the industry for the success it afforded me, and to specifically acknowledge the many women – many unsung heroes themselves – with whom I worked along the way.
Here’s what has inspired others to donate:
“I am a very proud father of a smart and talented daughter, and want her to have every opportunity in any industry, or any passion she chooses to pursue. WIT promotes the opportunity for women to achieve greatness in our amazing industry, and I am proud to support the work of this great organization.” Brian Goldner, Chairman & CEO, Hasbro
“As a career toy industry executive and the father of three daughters, I believe strongly in the future of this business as well as the great potential for WIT to help us move forward.” Jerry Perez, SVP Global Brand Leader at Hasbro
“I strongly believe in the WIT mission to support, inspire and promote women working in this industry, therefore my encouragement to continue to work on great programs which will make a difference!” Wiebe Tinga, Chief Commercial Officer, Hasbro
"Supporting the Superhero Circle means young women can get the encouragement and inspiration from the best our industry has to offer. It is a privilege to be a part of women empowering women in their future success." Jill Barad, Former Chairman & CEO, Mattel
"We were inspired to be part of the Superhero Circle as part of our response to honor the memory of Elise Lachowyn. We are thrilled to be sponsors of WIT, as we believe the organization showcases the best and brightest of the toy industry." Brad Pederson, President & CEO, Tech4Kids
We are extending one component of the matching donation program through May 1. For every individual donating at least $1,000, the Nancy Zwiers Empowerment Fund will match with a $100 donation. Our goal is to bring at least another ten people into the Circle and raise another $11,000 with this program.
We are excited about the ongoing growth of our organization and its programs — please join us in furthering our work.
Click here to learn more about WIT Superhero Circle.