Past Conference Speakers

"ChiTAG is “THE” event for Inventors and Manufacturers within the Toy Industry, it is a who’s who of Toy & Game Inventors and Toy & Game Companies. The Conferences, Gala and Fair are unmatched for Educating, Celebrating and Playing in our industry. I’m very excited for this year’s event - it is timed perfectly for seeing the best of the best toys and games right in the heart of our biggest selling season!" - Gary Swisher, SVP Mattel Inc.

ChiTAG is a high point of the year for me as I am able to meet and speak with new inventors from around the globe in an amazing, innovative and supportive environment.  It is the only toy and game fair that offers this combination of new and experienced inventors, learning and networking opportunities, and an event that is literally and figuratively built around an open-to-the-public Toy Fair set on Chicago’s historic Navy Pier.  It is a great place for me to experience every part of the toy industry, from the inventors, colleagues, and business partners, to watching the children’s reactions to the toys and games on the show floor to wrap up the week.  To experience all of this against the backdrop of the great city of Chicago makes this a much anticipated week on my calendar!”  - Rich Mazel – Head of Global Product Acquisitions, Hasbro, Inc.

2017 Keynotes 

 CONFERENCES 

Past Conference Speakers

Gary Swisher

SVP of Inventor Relations and Head of Gaming​, Mattel

Richard Barry

EVP, Global Chief Merchandising Officer, ToysRUs

Rich Mazel

Senior Director Global Product Acquisition, Hasbro

2016 Keynotes 

Tim Walsh

Chief Playmaker

The Playmakers

Michelle Thaller

Assistant Director of Science 

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Reyn Guyer

Serial Entrepreneur

Developer of Twister and Nerf

Jule Cole
Co-Founding, VP 
Mabel's Labels

Jeff Pinsker

President,

Pressman Toy

Jessie Mansbacher Kibbe

President, Pterod

Roger Gehrke

RPD Consulting

Katherine McHenry

Owner, Building Blocks Toy Stores

Tanya Thompson

Director of Product Strategy and Inventor Relations

Marbles: the brain store

Megan Hinterman Kanous

National Accounts Manager, PSI Inc.

Reyn Guyer

Serial Entrepreneur

Developer of Twister and Nerf

Robin Raskin

Founder, Living in Digital Times

Matt Nuccio

Co-Owner and Creative Director, Design Edge Inc.

Carle Wunderlich

Founder & President, WunderReps

Peggy Brown

Owner, Peggy Brown Creative Consulting

Emile Kalis

Creative Director,

Identity Games

Alison Ray

CEO

SoChic Media

why Attend?

Past Speakers

Alison Ray

CEO, SoChic Media

Brian Torney

Design Manager, New Business Group, Hasbro

Carle Wunderlich

Founder & President, Best Toys Inc. and

Best of Best Inc.

Catherine McMillen-Gill
McGill Associates

Cindy Simmons

Owner,

SurvivingMom

Dan Thorsland

General Manager,

Mighty Kingdom

Dougal Grimes

Director of Global Games Acquisition, Hasbro

Emile Kalis

Creative Director,

Identity Games

Gregory Benassar

Head of New Business, Asmodee

Haim Shafir

CEO, Shafir Games

Ian Bernstein

CTO and Founder,

Sphero

Jeff Pinsker

President,

Pressman Toy

Jessie Mansbacher Kibbe

President, Pterod

Joey Fortman

Brand Spokeswoman, Real Mom Media LLC

Katherine McHenry

Owner, Building Blocks Toy Stores

Keri Wilmot

Owner, ToyQueen.com

Kurt Melcher

Associate Athletic Director and eSports Coordinator at Robert Morris University 

Lisa Orman

President, KidStuff PR

Maria Aguilar

Manager, Social Media and Influencer Relations at Spin Master Ltd

Matt Nuccio

Co-Owner and Creative Director, Design Edge Inc.

Megan Hinterman Kanous

National Accounts Manager, PSI Inc.

Melissa Hershey

Strategic Partnership Development, Hasbro

Melissa "Mommy" Hunter

Founder and CMO, Mommy & Gracie Show

Nicole Brady

Founder and owner of SAHMReviews.com

Nora Newcombe, Ph.D

Professor of Psychology, Tempe University

Peggy Brown

Owner, Peggy Brown Creative Consulting

Rich Mazel

Director of Global Toy Acquisition, Hasbro

Richard Gill

President, NH Contract Managemen

Richard Gottlieb

President, Global Toy Experts and Global Toy News

Robert Yusim

President, Product Counsel

Robin Raskin

Founder, Living in Digital Times

Roger Gehrke

RPD Consulting

Ruth Green-Synowic

Ruth Green Concepts, Inc

Sheena Stephens

Vice President, MWW

Tim Walsh

Fearless Leader of The PlayMakers

Tanya Thompson

Director, Global Product Acquisition Gaming, Hasbro

Steve Greenberg

Author, Gadget Nation

Inventors and Small Publishers

 "Thanks for making my first official inventors experience an awesome one. I could not have asked for a more productive use of time or better group of industry experts to learn from and meet." - Marc CooperDoodle Roll

 "T&GCon was an amazing experience. It was energizing and informative, and not only did I learn a lot, but now have several projects being considered for licensing. What a fantastic event! Honestly, I loved the whole thing. I'd give top marks across the board." - Patrick MatthewsLive Oak Games

"You can spend years trying to figure out the ropes of a new industry, or you can spend two days at T&GCon and meet those that know, listen to those that know, and then you can move forward with your idea. We listened. When we left we had orders and we had a vision. We went from being a nobody to a somebody. Thank you so much!" - Bill Witt, Founder, Pajaggle, Inc

"T&GCon was amazing and I highly recommend that any and all budding toy and game inventors invest in this opportunity to learn every aspect of the toy and game industry!  Not only do you get to network with the top experts in the industry, but you can get a one-on-one meeting to discuss "your" toy or game with them!  It's a rare and golden opportunity for toy and game inventors!" - Barbara Jenkins, J Links Enterprise

Conference Sponsors 2016 

2016 Speakers

Jeff Pinsker

General Manager

Cardinal Games

Jessie Mansbacher Kibbe

President, Pterod

Roger Gehrke

RPD Consulting

Katherine McHenry

Owner, Building Blocks Toy Stores

Tanya Thompson

Director, Global Product Acquisition Gaming

Hasbro

Megan Hinterman Kanous

National Accounts Manager, PSI Inc.

Reyn Guyer

Serial Entrepreneur

Developer of Twister and Nerf

Robin Raskin

Founder, Living in Digital Times

Matt Nuccio

Co-Owner and Creative Director, Design Edge Inc.

Carle Wunderlich

Founder & President, WunderReps

Rob Yusim

President

Product Counsel

Emile Kalis

Creative Director,

Identity Games

Alison Ray

CEO

SoChic Media

Mindy Bickle

Associate Commissioner for Innovation Development

U.S. Patent Office

Steven Schoenmaekers

VP Games Manufacturing 

Cartamundi

Mike Hirtle

Inventor & Agent

Past Attendees Recommend Attending! 

"What an excellent introduction to the toy and game profession! I met acquisition execs, license brokers, experienced game designers and  newbies like myself. And I learned a lot from each group!" -  Luke Fischer, Gamefish LLC

"The CHITAG Innovation Conference was a great opportunity for me. I walked away with a deeper understanding of the industry and met many inspiring people. Their passion was motivating and provided an excellent experience that I will hang onto as I follow my dream."  Steve Rolland, Game Creator of Yes, and…you are the Comic! 

The Chicago Toy and Game conference was a great opportunity for me. I walked away with a deeper understanding of the industry and met many inspiring people. Their passion was motivating and provided an excellent experience that I will hang onto as I follow my dream.  -Steve Rolland, Game Creator of Yes, and…you are the Comic!

 Thank you for all you do, one word describes my experience "Phenomenal". -Susan Polodna

 "I had been trying over the last 6 months to figure out how and who to license my toy idea to (Evolvems reversible dino plush if you had a chance to see it on the table).  I got not only a ton of great info... but I think I made a deal yesterday with a great company, all through the network of folks who were generous enough to share their insight and make connections.  know there is some saying about chickens and hatching but regardless I think this is the best money I ever spent." - Avram Kaufman, Evolvems

"T&GCon was amazing and I highly recommend that any and all budding toy and game inventors invest in this opportunity to learn every aspect of the toy and game industry!  Not only do you get to network with the top experts in the industry, but you can get a one-on-one meeting to discuss "your" toy or game with them!  It's a rare and golden opportunity for toy and game inventors!" - Barbara Jenkins, J Links Enterprise

"Thank you for putting on such a wonderful conference. It definitely exceeded my expectations! As someone who is interested in getting started in the toy and game industry, I found this conference invaluable. The great variety of session topics and quality of presenters helped me gain a better understanding of the industry as a whole. I would recommend it to anyone who thinks toy or game design is something they want to do." - John Berube

“I just licensed BrainSpin to Winning Moves! I learned so much at the Conferences and Fair and could not have gotten this deal without the work you do supporting newbies like me. I came to understand the value of licensing versus self-publishing; learned the important terms, conditions and gray areas of legal deals; met a Hasbro executive and played my game with him (he later connected me with Winning Moves); and a colleague of his, who kindly offered his advice on who to work with and what I could expect in a deal; and I boosted my credibility by selling more than a hundred copies of BrainSpin at the Fair. Thank you so much!” - Frankie Abralind

"You can spend years trying to figure out the ropes of a new industry, or you can spend two days at T&GCon and meet those that know, listen to those that know, and then you can move forward with your idea. We listened. When we left we had orders and we had a vision. We went from being a nobody to a somebody. Thank you so much!" - Bill Witt, Founder, Pajaggle, Inc

"I attended T&GCon and ChiTAG for the first time in 2012 as a newbie inventor looking to gain feedback on our party game, Schmovie. I received invaluable insights from seasoned industry folks and consumers alike, and we ended up making key changes to both our game play and box design as a result. I’m excited to return this year as we celebrate Schmovie’s official launch!"  -BryanWilson, Partner/Creative Director, Galactic Sneeze 

“T&GCon was first class - ample venue, fine food/beverage, well-credentialed speakers, awards dinner, impressive and well-connected industry execs attending. Your event far exceeded my expectations! A great experience! The face-to-face contact with industry folks is invaluable. I heartily recommend this for anyone hoping to break into the business. Even if a person does not find the news to be good about their proposed toy or game, then they at least know that they gave themselves the very best chance for success. Thanks to T&GCon 2013, my game “Choice Words” was picked up by MindWare.” - Bob Kamp

I attended T&GCon (New Inventor Conferences) and ChiTAG (Week) for the first time in 2012 as a newbie inventor looking to gain feedback on our party game, Schmovie. I received invaluable insights from seasoned industry folks and consumers alike, and we ended up making key changes to both our game play and box design as a result. I’m excited to return this year as we celebrate Schmovie’s official launch! Bryan Wilson, Partner/Creative Director, Galactic Sneeze

“We launched in 2012... We went to a Toy Show, and it happened to be the Chicago Toy Fair, and within the first hour we got offered a license agreement.” —  Dustin "Red Dragon" Berk, Ninja Cards on Shark Tank Week 2, 2014

PAST Speakers

Alison Ray

CEO, SoChic Media

Brian Torney

Design Manager, New Business Group at Hasbro

Carle Wunderlich

Founder & President, Best Toys Inc and Best of Best Inc

Catherine McMillen-Gill
Head of Global Product Sourcing & Development at Mastermind Toys

Cindy Simmons

Owner, SurvivingMom

Dan Thorsland

General Manager, Mighty Kingdom

Dougal Grimes

Director of Global Games Acquisition, Hasbro

Emile Kalis

Creative Director, Identity Games

Gregory Benassar

Head of New Business, Asmodee

Haim Shafir

CEO at Shafir Games

Ian Bernstein

CTO and Founder, Sphero

Jeff Pinsker

President, Pressman Toy

Jessie Mansbacher Kibbe

President, Pterod

Joey Fortman

Brand Spokeswoman, Real Mom Media LLC

Katherine McHenry

Owner, Building Blocks Toy Stores

Keri Wilmot

Owner, ToyQueen.com

Kurt Melcher

Associate Athletic Director and eSports Coordinator at Robert Morris University 

Lisa Orman

President, KidStuff PR

Maria Aguilar

Manager, Social Media and Influencer Relations at Spin Master Ltd

Matt Nuccio

Co-Owner and Creative Director, Design Edge Inc.

Megan Hinterman Kanous

National Accounts Manager, PSI Inc.

Melissa Hershey

Strategic Partnership Development, Hasbro

Melissa "Mommy" Hunter

Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Mommy and Gracie Show

Nicole Brady

Founder and owner of SAHMReviews.com

Nora Newcombe, Ph.D

Professor of Psychology, Tempe University

Peggy Brown

Owner, Peggy Brown Creative Consulting

Rich Mazel

Director of Global Toy Acquisition, Hasbro

Richard Gill

President, NH Contract Managemen

Richard Gottlieb

President, Global Toy Experts and Global Toy News

Robert Yusim

President, Product Counsel

Robin Raskin

Founder, Living in Digital Times

Roger Gehrke

RPD Consulting

Ruth Green-Synowic

Ruth Green Concepts, Inc

Sheena Stephens

Vice President, MWW

Dr. Susan Levine

Professor of Psychology, University of Chicago

Tim Walsh

Fearless Leader of The PlayMakers

Tom Felber

Jury Chairman, Spiel Des Jahres Award

Wayne Park

Design Director, Envoi Design

Elan Lee

Co-Creator of Exploding Kittens

Bob Moog

President, University Games

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+1-847-677-8277

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