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Disney's Karri Bean on Fireflies, Little League and More!

What do you do in the industry?

I work for the world’s most famous mouse!

Disney is truly the happiest place on earth and I’m so lucky to call Disney Consumer Products home. I manage our construction category which is fortunately working with the LEGO Co. on construction sets inspired by franchises like Disney Princess, Frozen, Star Wars, Marvel and of course Mickey & Minnie!

Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry?

On the way to work one day, I accidentally tripped…and fell into Hasbro…

I had moved from Michigan to Massachusetts and I was working in the Staffing Industry as a staffing manager….which I hated….but one of my customers was Hasbro! So after a particularly hard day I decided I just didn’t want to do staffing any longer….and ended up taking a temp assignment at Hasbro cause I thought it would be fun and a great way to get to know the local businesses and opportunities! That’s when the Toy industry stole my heart and became my home. I can’t imagine working in any other industry!

What are you working on now?

Constructions Sets – of course…of which the secrets I cannot reveal…

Does anyone catch fireflys anymore?

I worry that kids are incredibly tech focused and you lose touch with imaginative play or real connections between friends. These attributes contribute to the foundations of who we are and we draw upon our happiest childhood memories to get us through harder times as adults. The more time we spend in solitary on our gadgets or in video games, the more kids lose the ability to use their imaginations and lose the physical connection and ultimately lose making memories with their friends and family.

What advice would you give a young adult graduating from high school or college today?

Go out and explore the world – don’t feel you have to follow the template that society has set for you. Explore, dream, take risks, find your passion….You can do or be absolutely anything you want to be; take the time to figure out what that is and go for it. Don’t be scared…if you’re not making mistakes you’re not learning or doing…mistakes are not failures…NOT making mistakes is failure. Embrace them, learn from them and share them with your fellow humans and rejoice in them for they are the stepping stones to your best life.

What does your typical day look like?

My work day varies, fortunately, because if I’m sitting still I get very bored! I wake up early and take care of my 4 dogs!! Then I rush my youngest daughter off to school…and make the trek into the office battling my way through horrid LA traffic. Being in the office means I will be in many meetings and conference calls throughout the day. LEGO is a global company and many of our calls are with the teams in Denmark which means a lot of early morning conference calls then afternoon calls with the US LEGO team who is based in Enfield, CT. Some days I get to work from home – I also travel to Denmark about 2x per year to visit LEGO which I LOVE!!! Sometimes, we get to go to Disneyland for work! There is hardly ever a dull moment and I love to be busy!

What’s your workspace setup like?

Einstein once said, “If a clutter desk is the sign of a clutter mind, then what is the sign of an empty desk…” My work area is stuffed to the gills with LEGO product, post it notes and snacks! Small children have been known to get lost in my work space for days….

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Walking through Disneyland and watching kids and families interact with our properties and products. The look of wonder and joy on everyone’s face literally brings tears to my eyes and I’m so proud to be a part of it.

I felt that way when I worked with games too and saw people laughing or interacting with each other while playing one of the games I worked on. One of the best feelings ever….

What is the worst job you’ve ever had and what did you learn from it?

I’ve never really had a job I hated…but I’ve had managers that have been really difficult to work for which affected how I felt at the time…but I ended learning more than I lost…I learned how to manage people effectively and fairly for optimal results; I’ve learned to focus on emotional intelligence and I’ve learned to persevere.

How do you recharge or take a break?

I go to the beach. We have an RV – we pack it up and head to Rincon in Ventura, CA and fall asleep to the sound of the ocean. The sea rejuvenates everything…

What was your favorite toy or game as a child?

My brother and I played board games all the time as kids, Monopoly, UNO and Can’t Stop were some of my favorites. I was a pretty well rounded kid – I loved to play with dolls, but I was also the first girl catcher in our little league for the entire county! I remember one particular night where I was with my cousins and neighborhood kids while our parents played cards – we pretended our swing set was the Millennium Falcon. Best. Night. Ever.

Where were you born?

I was born in Middlebury, Vermont – The Green Mountain State – Home of the Green Mountain Boys!

What do you read every day, and why?

I read historical, paranormal and trashy romances! This is also my guilty pleasure along with playing word whomp and shopping.

Reading totally relaxes me and it gets me in the gym! I tell myself I can’t read unless I go to the gym and workout. At the gym I’ll read on the elliptical, treadmill and between reps! I do also like to read biographies and books promoting self awareness and emotional intelligence. But my first grab is a good ol’ romance novel!

How do you jumpstart your creativity when you find yourself stalled on a project?

I walk away from it and forget it about for a little while. I’ll do something completely different that stimulates another side of my brain and relaxes the portion I’m using. Doing something fun where you don’t have to think too much gives me new perspectives and ideas. It has to be totally unrelated to what I’m doing!

When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

I think I should be laughing out loud every single day. Life is way too short not to laugh. Today I laughed until I cried over a funny video on facebook by where they use Barbie Dolls to play out hilarious real life situations.

Do you have any kiddos?

I have a beautifully blended family. We have 3 girls ranging in ages of 30-15, 1 son who is 26 and a grandson who just turned 1!

Do you have any pets?

I am a complete sucker for dogs…I love dogs! I have 4 of them.

Jewel is the oldest and is a Maltese. William Barney Bean is a rescued Chihuahua/Terrier mix. Coco Bean is a Maltipoo. Noel is a rescued Cheweenie.

They are my precious babies and are the only ones in the house I cook for. I make their dog food out of lean turkey burger, carrots and peas!

What’s the first thing you usually notice about people?

If their smile reaches their eyes.

Hugs or Kisses?

I’m a total hugger!

Favorite movie of all time?

The first Star Wars Trilogy, Fried Green Tomatoes, Steele Magnolias, The Santa Claus Movies…

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