The Toy Foundation™’s DEI Pipeline Program Welcomes First Hires into the Toy Industry
November 20, 2023 | The Toy Foundation™ (TTF) is proud to announce that two student participants of its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Pipeline Program secured job placements during the program’s capstone event at Toy Fair®, a five-day program that offered networking, recruitment, and educational opportunities for college and university students and attending companies. Through an exhibitor booth visit and at a TTF networking event, two University of Maryland undergraduate students, Riley Nelson and Gem Miller, accepted positions at Radio Flyer and R&R Games, respectively.
“My family and I have always loved games, but I never believed that I would actually get paid to play them,” said Gem Miller, R&R Game’s newest employee. “I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this program. There’s no way that I would have met the founder and president, Mr. Frank DiLorenzo, and gotten this job without it.”
The DEI Pipeline Program is focused on creating a candidate pool of talented, diverse students for The Toy Association™ members’ internship and first-hire job opportunities. Throughout the year, the program connects the toy industry with engaged students through a collegiate case study competition that culminated at Toy Fair with participation from Crazy Aaron’s, The Dr. Lisa Company (formerly World of EPI), Horizon Group, In KidZ, Jazwares, Mattel, Paramount, Target, Thames & Kosmos, The Walt Disney Company, and Women in Toys Licensing & Entertainment.
“These students are our next leaders, and it was incredible to watch them engage with industry leaders, exchange ideas about DEI in our industry, and discuss career opportunities. We look forward to growing this program with the next class of students,” said Pamela Mastrota, executive director at The Toy Foundation.
The DEI Pipeline Program’s fall semester case study competition at the University of Maryland is currently underway, where students are examining the impact of philanthropy, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and DEI within the toy industry and using their findings to develop a product concept that supports the industry in becoming more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
The class meets virtually every Thursday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Eastern through December 7, and TTF is calling on industry professionals to join the class meetings as a mentor and offer professional expertise to help students refine their case study solutions. Contact TTF staff for more information and to receive a Zoom invite.
Industry professionals can attend one or multiple class meetings. No preparation is required, and all participating mentors are invited to serve as a judge for the end-of-semester case study presentations.
TTF’s DEI Pipeline program is becoming both a dynamic employee engagement and recruitment opportunity for Toy Association members of all sizes. TTF is also proud that the program’s events at Toy Fair created a measurable impact, supporting the industry’s commitment to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive industry in all that is does and everyone it serves.
To learn more about The Toy Foundation, visit ToyFoundation.org.