2022 Toy & Game Int'l Excellence Awards - the TAGIEs

Celebrating Excellence & Innovation Worldwide! The Must Attend Event of the Year! 
In-Person for 2022 and at the Historic Epiphany Hall!!!
Saturday, November 19th at 6pm

Move over Oscars, Emmys, CMA, the 15th Annual Toy & Game International Excellence Awards are taking center stage!

Thank you to our esteemed sponsors!
2022 TAGIE Award sponsors Nov 12 2022.jpg

This is a celebratory event you do not want to miss! The venue is the 1885 historic and newly readapted award winning Epiphany Center for the Arts. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it embraces whimsical elements while preserving the historic qualities such as Queen Anne detailing, arched ceilings and Tiffany stained glass windows, a nod to the fact that the building once was a church. 

6:00-7:00pm Cocktails and Hors d' oeuvres in Epiphany's Catacombs

7:00pm-8pm Seated Dinner in Epiphany's Main Hall above the Catacombs

8:00pm-9:00pm(ish) Awards

After Party in the Catacombs Hosted by Barry & Jason

Black tie optional, Cocktail Attire

This year at the TAGIEs, we will also be celebrating in-person the winners from the 2021 and 2020 virtual TAGIEs. 

Enjoy photos from our last in-person TAGIEs HERE.

TAGIE 2022 Nominee Seal.jpg
Lifetime Achievement Honorees - Family Legacy Companies
Alan Hassenfeld_edited.jpg

Alan Hassenfeld

Former Chairman of the Board and present Chairman of the Executive Committee of Hasbro.

Alan is a business leader with a passion for philanthropy.  His far reaching impact has crossed local, regional, national and international borders. From the beginning of his career, he has been involved in literally hundreds of charitable and social causes.  His enthusiasm and spirit has touched the lives of millions of people – and impacted communities across the world.  Whether he is fighting for the human rights of manufacturing workers in Asia or coexistence in the Middle East, his energy and guidance always provide positive results. Alan believes in active leadership.  Through his charitable work and foundation participation, he has the ability to stay involved in hundreds of community, social and political causes.  These include primarily children’s issues, social responsibility, political reform, and social entrepreneurship.  His goal is always to focus on what can be done better and what needs to be developed in order to establish foundations for future success.  The goal of the family foundation is to be a catalyst for positive change and collaboration

Full POP Profile HERE

Leslie & Jenga-53-medium.jpg

Leslie Scott

Founder of Oxford Games, inventor of Jenga and much more!

To mention just a few things she is noted for: prolific board game designer, founder trustee of The Smithsonian UK Charitable Trust, speaking Swahili and author best known as the inventor of the game Jenga, which she launched at the London Toy Fair 1983. Born in Africa in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and grew up in Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Ghana. Scott was educated in Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Oxford. In 1991, she founded Oxford Games Ltd, which her daughter Freddie is now proudly President. 

Full POP Profile HERE

Kantaro Tomiyama.jpg

Kantaro Tomiyama

Representative Director, Chairman & CEO
TOMY Company, Ltd.

Tomy was founded in 1924 by Eiichiro Tomiyama who is Kantaro Tomiyama's grandfather. Kantaro Tomiyama, a Japanese businessman, entered the Tomy company after his graduation from the University of Hull in the United Kingdom in 1982 and then became its CEO in 1986.

Keynote of the Evening 
Ben Varadi_2.jpg

Ben Varadi

A co-founder of Spin Master and is currently EVP and Chief Creative Officer and a member of the board of directors.

He, along with his co-founders, was a recipient of Canada’s Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 1999 in the Emerging Entrepreneur Category and has been featured as a Top 40 under 40 executive for his achievements in Canada and the global marketplace. He plays an active role in product selection and development and his creative approach remains influential to Spin Master’s product selection.

Game Changers of the Year
BIGG Black Inventors Got Game.webp

BLACK INVENTORS GOT GAME

James Howard has produced The Gathering, an immense undertaking coming together in a year's worth of filming. Black Inventors got Game (BIGG) began as a story of four legendary black toy and game inventors and designers who have made groundbreaking contributions to the toy and game industry. Lonnie Johnson, inventor of the Super Soaker™ and Nerf Gun™, the late Charles Harrison, designer of the 1958 version of the ViewMaster™, Ken Johnson, inventor of the Phase 10™ card game, and Elliott Eddie, inventor of The Entrepreneur Game™. The GATHERING is the first of a three-part episodic documentary series. "The stories of Black Inventors will inspire our youth and motivate them to raise their aspirations to become scientists, engineers, and inventors. This will improve American life for us all.”  George Smith, Founder, National Society of Black Engineers

TAGIE Awards Host
Karri Bean in MM hat June 2018.jpg

Karri Bean

Senior Licensing Manager, Disney Parks Experiences & Products, located in Glendale, CA, for the past five years where she is responsible for managing Disney’s global construction category across key brands such as Star Wars, Marvel and Frozen. Karri comes with more than 10 years of experience in the toy industry, previously in global brand management creating unique and exciting products in the games category at Hasbro and Spin Master.

Full POP Profile HERE

TAGIE Presenters
JoAnn McLaughlin.jpg
BRIAN CHAPMAN v301874.jpg
Pete Henseler.jpg

JoAnn McLaughlin

EVP Merchandising - Hard lines at Marvel Entertainment

JoAnn is responsible for delivering product innovation and development for Disney and Marvel-branded Toys and other products, and leading a team of pioneering designers and creatives. 

 

Prior to joining Disney Consumer Products, JoAnn held various executive-level positions at Marvel Entertainment, most recently Executive Vice President of Merchandising and Promotional Partner Services. Her career highlights also include key roles at Toy Biz, Matchbox Toys and Child Guidance, a division of CBS Toys.

Brian Chapman

President and Global Head of Design, Development and Innovation.

Hasbro, Inc.

Brian Chapman is President of Global Design, Development and Innovation for Hasbro, Inc. where he oversees product, brand and package development for Hasbro’s cherished portfolio of brands.

Chapman’s career at Hasbro spans three decades, beginning as a toy designer at Kenner Products, a division of Hasbro, Inc.  In 2001, he relocated to Hasbro’s corporate headquarters in Pawtucket, Rhode Island to lead Global Design, including gaming, toy, story development, and futuring.  He has established himself as a leading authority in organically building great play experiences into world-leading entertainment.  His organization is aligned around his three pillars of development: building a Creative Culture, Driving Innovation and Un-locking the Power of Story.

Among his many achievements, Chapman has developed play experiences for such leading brands as Play-Doh, Playskool, Tonka, Littlest Pet Shop, My Little Pony, Clue, Risk, Magic the Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons, Monopoly, Game of Life, Nerf and many more.  He has helped develop all of Hasbro’s motion pictures, including Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Transformers Bumblebee, GI-Joe and Battleship.

Pete Henseler

Chairman at TOMY International

Pete’s career spans over 40 years in the children’s consumer products industry at companies like Hasbro, McDonald’s and RC2. For the last 26 years Pete has been in various executive management roles at TOMY.

 

In addition to his numerous business contributions, Pete also served as a board member for the Toy Industry Association for 3 terms, as well as Board Chairman of the Toy Industry Foundation.

Mason Williams.jpg

Mason Williams

Global Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Mattel, Inc.

Before Mason transitioned into his current position at Mattel, Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I), he was the Director of Digital Product Development where his team worked on connected play products. In this video you will learn more about digital product development and how his team built and managed the software that provides physical toys with a digital component, such as augmented reality and speech recognition.

Dave Harris pic higher res.jpg

Dave Harris

Senior Director, Inventor Relations and Strategic Partnerships, Mattel

Dave has been with Mattel for over 20 years and leads Inventor Relations across the entire Mattel portfolio including Fisher-Price, Barbie, Hot Wheels, Girls, Boys and Games.  

 

Most of his career has been spent in marketing working on FP categories such as Infant, Newborn, Baby Gear, Creative Activities, Power Wheels and New Opportunities.  He also spent a couple years in Strategic Partnerships working with best in class education and tech partners and several years creating exclusive products for retailers.

Full POP Profile HERE

Ray Adler.jfif

Ray Adler

Vice President, Global Head of Games at Mattel

“Ray Adler is the Vice President, Global Head of Games at Mattel—the world’s largest toy company, and home to the iconic brands as UNO, Barbie, Hot Wheels, Masters of the Universe, and dozens more.

 

Ray has been with Mattel for 20 years and began his career with the company while still in college. Prior to his current role, he held leadership positions on both the Mattel Games and the Hot Wheels brands, where he helped triple the growth of UNO, propelling it to its current rank as the #1 game in the world, while also launching several successful card extensions, including DOS and UNO Flip.

 

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Ray received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern California”

Full POP Profile HERE

Michael Kohner.jpg

Michael Kohner

President of The Michael Kohner Corporation
Michael, formerly of Kohner Bros., which was started by his father Paul and Paul's brother, Frank, is a prominent Licensing Agent in the game industry. The entire Kohner Family were recipients of the 2014 Lifetime Achievement at the TAGIES. Kohner Bros were industry pioneers famous for such classics as POP-O-MATIC TROUBLE and The BUSY BOX crib toy.  Michael Kohner formed The Michael Kohner Corporation in 1975 working closely together with many inventors to bring their products to marketplaces worldwide. Some of the many games Michael has helped bring to the market are LOOPIN' LOUIE, MR. BUCKET, GIGGLE WIGGLE and DON'T PANIC.

Full POP Profile HERE

Robet (Bob) Fuhrer.jpg

Robert Fuhrer

Owner at Nextoy LLC and KenKen Puzzle

Bob is an award-winning toy and game developer. Since 1981, his company, Nextoy, has developed hundreds of products, including Crocodile Dentist, Gator Golf, iTop and the internationally acclaimed KenKen Puzzle. Bob is best known for helping inventors and Japanese toy companies bring product to market, and for collaborating with the worldwide creative community. His dad Len Fuhrer and brother David have both had impressive careers in the toy world, and now his son Alex has joined the Nextoy family! Bob is an active philanthropist, and currently sits on the boards of Make-A-Wish and Evan's Team. He and his wife Judy live in New York and are proud parents of three grown children.

Full POP Profile HERE

Tim Walsh speaking nice shot from Tim.jpg

Tim Walsh

Co-Founder, Roo Games; Filmmaker, Author, Designer, Creative Consultant, The Playmakers

Fearless Leader at The Playmakers and co-founder of Roo Games, a company specializing in games for the entire family. Tim designed or co-designed TriBond, Blurt, Mad Gab, You’ve Been Framed, Bull’s Eye, Cheese Stack, N'Sync Backstage Pass, TMNT Foot Clan Street Fight, and many others. These games have collectively sold over 7 million copies.
He was Creative Consultant and co-editor on Toyland, a documentary on toy and game inventors from director, Ken Sons. The film won Best Documentary awards at three US film festivals. In 2016, Tim co-produced and co-directed OPERATION: Operation The Power of Play with Peggy Brown. The film won the top prize for Best Film at the 2017 Naperville Independent Film Festival as well as Best Documentary.
As a speaker and lecturer, Tim aims to prove that PLAY is a means through which we can super-charge creativity and connect with others. He has spoken on this topic and others to teams as diverse as the USC’s Physical Sciences in Oncology Center, the State Bar of Arizona, Otis College of Art & Design and other creative organizations. Full POP Profile HERE

Randy Klimpert headshot Sept 2020.jpg

Randy Klimpert

VP Design, Spin Master 

Randy Klimpert is a designer, innovator and toy industry visionary.  Having cut his teeth inside storied invention firms, he’s led Design and Development for big toy companies, Creative for promotional agencies, and spent his entire career reimagining product, process and play.  From Battle Armor He Man to Monopoly Cheaters Edition and oodles of items in between, Klimpert has excelled at driving disruption while keeping classic brands fresh.  He holds patents in categories as diverse as action figures, dolls, vehicles, activities and games, and is a frequent speaker on toy history and creativity management.  And for still-undisclosed reasons, yes, he really does have over 1000 ukuleles.

Here is an enlightening and amusing interview we did with Randy some years ago. 

Wai Photo.png

Wai Or

CEO, Longshore Limited

Longshore Limited was founded by Michael Or since 1978. We are a team of experienced gamers and professional engineers with over 40 years of experience in the Toys and Games industry

At Longshore, many of us are game geeks and fortunately we are able to enjoy our work and our hobby at the same time.  When we are working on new projects, this also allows us to provide ideas and solutions both from multiple perspectives, and we believe our customers appreciate this as an additional value from Longshore’s services.  

Full POP Profile HERE

Tonda Sellers headshot nov 2022.jpg

Tonda Bunge Sellers

President, B Sellers Production

As an agency owner, Tonda uses her voice through promoting, and producing to create conversations about the importance of parents, learning, and play in the family by connecting people. On a global scale, she works with innovators transforming sponsors into thought leaders at various events. Her Texas farming and ranching heritage keep her grounded in what is Devine and constant, she is a local volunteer and advocates with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and her parish church Epiphany of the Lord Catholic Church. Her children keep her busy and curious as to the latest trends in technology and what it has to offer, she keeps a close eye on them by volunteering and serving in their respective Parent Teacher Organizations. Marketers utilize her expertise in sales and marketing events and product development to market launches, she has served on incubator advisory boards for TechStars on IoT and participated in the Houston ion. She has hosted the KAPi Awards at CES focused on emerging kids and family technology and participated as a judge for the Young Innovators to Watch in NYC and in Las Vegas during CES where student creators and inventors take the stage for the application they have created to make this a better world.  Tonda was an early writer for Genius of Play and continues to serve as a judge for the TOTY to this day. 

Elliot Rudell recent me.jpg

Elliot Rudell

RUDELL DESIGN LLC

Pratt Institute Industrial Design. Forget automotive design. I went into toys while still in college. Started Rudell Design 1975, after my much-appreciated 5-year "grad school" experience at Mattel. Hundreds of millions of retail dollars in preschool tracksets (Sesame Street, Playskool Express, Geo-Trax, etc.) somehow managed to fulfill the automotive/vehicle-design craving, I guess. I am OK now....

Full POP Profile HERE

Dan.jpg

Dan Klitsner - ask me about The Bop It Button 

K.I.D. Design

Dan Klitsner is an Industrial Designer specializing in concept ideation and toy invention. He graduated in 1982 from the famed Art Center College of Design in Pasadena with a BS in Industrial Design. Dan started out as a freelance designer and architectural illustrator, providing concept ideation and industrial design from 1982-1995 for a variety of clients such as Memorex, Clorox, Apple, Lucasfilm, and Discovery Toys. During that period he designed many well known bottles such as Woodford Reserve, Hornitos Tequila, the Corbett Canyon wine bottle, the Clorox Toilet Cleaner bottle, as well as multiple toys such as Marbleworks Grand Prix, Gearopolis, and Spin, Rattle ‘n’ Roll - which he credits as a possible pre-curser to Bop It. In 1990 he founded Klitsner industrial Design, LLC, (known as KID) to focus primarily on toy invention and licensed over 50 products between 1990 - 2000 including the Ergonomic Sand Digger for Steven Mfg, Uno Blitzo for Mattel, and several inventions for Hasbro including the Crashback RC, Go-Go Worms, and most notably the mega-hits Bop It in 1996 and Bop It Extreme in 1998. In 2000 Dan formed the San Francisco based toy invention studio KID Group, Read More on Dan's POP Profile! 

Ellen Heaney Nov 2022.jpg

Ellen Heaney

Global Brand Manager, Games, PlayMonster

Ellen Heaney started her toy and game career in 1999 as a buyer at Barnes & Noble. At the time, games were not a category in any of the stores. When leadership called wanting to stack out Cranium in all the cafes, she jumped at the opportunity to get into this category. After all, games are a natural extension of books. Play testing every game helped her make the decision if it was right for customers, mostly on her train commute home from New York City to New Jersey. The goal she set for the category was 80% specialty, 20% mass-minded games. This opened the door for many small game vendors down in the game zone at Toy Fair to receive national placement. Over the next several years, the category became a staple in all stores, forever growing to what you see in Barnes & Noble today.For those efforts, Ellen received the 2008 Women In Toys Award for Retailer of the Year.  In 2015, Ellen was recruited to work for Party City, where she worked to launch a “Toy City”. After initially launching in 2016 with 50 stores, it has since expanded to additional locations. From Party City, Ellen joined the team at SpinMaster as a Senior Brand Manager in the Games category where she worked on top brands like Hedbanz, Jumanji, and the partnership with Big Potato.  Now, with over 20 years of games experience at her back, Ellen is the Global Brand Manager for Games at PlayMonster, working to grow their portfolio of amazing games and put PlayMonster in the top 10 game manufacturers in the next three years.

TAGIE's After Party in the Epiphany Hall Catacombs
Barry McLaughlin and Jason.jpg

Barry & Jason Games and Entertainment is the official sponsor of the TAGies After Party, in the catacombs underneath the awards event.

 

“Not only are we the sponsors, but we’re also hosting the party with a roaming game show! We will be cruising the catacombs with a big ol’ sack of games, like Santa Claus except waaaay better. That guy is OLD NEWS. We will be giving out medals to winners, something to runners-up, and a whole lot of fun for all,” said Barry McLaughlin.

 

“We got our start hosting live game nights and have done it pretty much everywhere, but ‘under a church’ has always been on my secret bucket list. Take THAT, Santa!” added Jason Lautenschleger.

 

The after party will feature chill vibes and an open bar, courtesy the People of Play, and will be the preeminent event for TAGie finalists and winners to celebrate in style.

 

****

Barry & Jason Games & Entertainment is a game invention studio run by Barry McLaughlin, Jason Lautenschleger, and VP Cassie Slane Guglielmo. They recently licensed Game Night in a Can to Goliath, and are currently working with PlayMonster and Big Potato.

Culinary Delights Throughout the Evening! Open Bar, too! 
2022 TAGIE Dinner menu.jpg
NEW Venue - Historic Ephiphany Center for the Arts
Epiphany-Hall_looking_east_Post-Rehab_2020_Photo_by_Tom_McDonald-1.jpg

Epiphany Hall for the TAGIE seated dinner and awards ceremony

Epiphany center catacombs.png

The Catacombs for the TAGIE After-Party! 

Here's what happened virtually in 2021...
2021 Toy & Game Int'l Excellence Awards - the TAGIEs

Celebrating Excellence Worldwide! The Must Attend Event of the Year! 
Enjoy the 2021 Awards Show! 

Here's What Happened Virtually in 2020!

Here's What Happened in-person in 2019!

Thank You to our TAGIE Awards Event Committee
(not the same as the Nomination Committee)

Chair: Karri Bean - Senior Manager, Licensing at Disney Consumer Products,  Experiences and Consumer Products

Peggy Brown - Inventor, Playwright, Designer, Author, Filmmaker, Funmaker

Danielle Reinhardt - Senior Brand Manager, Ultra PRO International 

Robert Fuhrer - Owner at Nextoy LLC and KenKen Puzzle

Brent Rolland - Event Producer/DJ at Fig Media, Musician, Host/Producer: FANPOWER Game Shows

Tim Walsh - Co-Founder, Roo Games; Filmmaker, Author, Designer, Creative Consultant, The Playmakers

Kaye White - President of Visual Playthings

Mary Couzin - President, Chicago Toy & Game Group