As general manager for Educational Insights, Lisa Guili has throughout her 24-year toy industry career developed a sharp eye for talent and good ideas, with a pulse on what will appeal to the market. She’s also well-known in the industry for being a strong champion for the inventors with whom she works.
Lisa’s support of inventors is evident in every step of the process. Perhaps her ability to “think outside the box” is best illustrated by what’s on the box—that is, Educational Insights includes the game or toy inventor’s name, photo and bio on their packaging and in all aspects of the company’s marketing.
The idea to do this came about at the New York Toy Fair in 2009. Lisa had been chatting with an inventor, and she realized that—like many of his peers—he had a story to tell about how he’d turned his passion for play into a career. Sharing stories like his was a unique way to give consumers a peek into a creative but often mysterious industry. Much like authors’ bios on books, these stories allow consumers to feel they know who created the product they hold in their hands—and as a result, has strengthened the company’s connection to the inventors they work with and boosted the inventors’ profiles in both the professional and public spheres.
(Tim Walsh on Blurt's packaging)
Among the hundreds of products Lisa has brought to shelves throughout the world are the best-selling Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game®, Even Steven’s Odd™, Blurt! ® and Racoon Rumpus™. For the soon-to-be-released update of GeoSafari® Jr. Talking Microscope, Lisa was able to acquire teen celebrity Bindi Irwin to do the voiceovers. Lisa also salvaged a game that was going to be dropped from the line, re-theming it and introducing it as new—making the Robot Face Race™ Game an evergreen, international hit.
Having studied Journalism in college, when Lisa first started her career at Learning Resources after a short stint in the bicycling industry, she thought it was a transitional move until she found her “dream job.” She’s quick to admit—after more than two decades doing work that she loves—she’s always been in that dream job.