Sunday — May 15, 2022

The ATA Rising Star Finalists Revealed

The Australian Toy Association’s (ATA) Rising Star Award is the Toy Industry’s opportunity to celebrate up and coming talent. With the challenges that the last two years have presented business; passion, team support and the ability to adapt has been a standout quality in the majority of the nominations put forward.

The Winner of the Rising Star is announced at the Industry Awards Event alongside the Product of the Year, Licensing, Judges Choice and Kids Choice Award. This years’ event will be held on the 28th March which will be live streamed through the Toy Fair Digital Platform.

The Judging Committee for the Rising Star are an independent group of experienced industry professionals and they were impressed with every candidate that was nominated, so congratulations to all of the 15 stars that were put forward.

The ATA are pleased to announce that the four finalists for the 2022 Rising Star award are…

Demi Di Stefano — Spin Master

Demi started as a Coordinator on the Sales team, moved to Marketing, was promoted to Associate Brand Manager, and now Brand Manager. The whole way redefining processes, saving the company money, and growing every portfolio she’s touched. Demi came to Spin Master through the Pro Grad program and has been instrumental in showing the way for future grads, while taking the time to integrate them into the team. Exponentially learning, highly organized, huge capacity to take things on and smash them out of the park when she gets them. Launching new lines, growing existing lines, she’s done it all already in her short career!

Rose Price — Entertainment One/Hasbro

Rose has ideated and successfully executed several leading brand & partner collaborations in 2021. All with a common purpose to help and enhance family priorities with the Entertainment One/Hasbro brand IP. Her strength as a business leader, team player, & role model has grown significantly making her a great team leader and collaborator. She has volunteered on global Hasbro initiatives, pioneered on local full blueprint taskforces, built a marketing team from scratch, and has been a key collaborator with key stakeholders & partners. Rose celebrates team & individual success – whether it be personal development or campaign related, Rose always finds outlets for her team and colleagues to celebrate their successes.

Matthew Forsyth — Kmart

Despite only 2 years in the role of Buying Assistant, the impact that Matt has had on the Preschool Toys department at Kmart has been absolutely profound. His experience managing teams in stores, coupled with a high degree of respect for all working partners, ensures Matt works well with all working partners. Matt treats everyone equally and this approach means that whether he is presenting the Easter marketing program to Senior Management, developing a range with an Account Manager or working with the Kmart Space team to maximise Kmarts Return-per-Shelf, everyone gets the same positive and professional version of Matt. Matt is very clearly on the career path to being an outstanding Toys Buyer and his innate ability to identify great Toys, coupled with a strong work ethic, commercial mindset and outstanding ability to collaborate positively and productively with all stakeholders will ensure that Matt makes an outstanding contribution to the Toy Industry for many, many years.

Jacqui Shilson-Josling

Jacqui has been instrumental to the success of Bluey’s licensing program in Australia and New Zealand. She understands the need for strategic licensing whilst trying to build an evergreen television property and has carefully and thoughtfully brought products to market without over-saturating it. Jacqui has brought her in-depth expertise of publishing to the role and the Bluey titles have found huge success under her guidance, including: 13 titles reaching #1 in the bestseller charts, ‘Big Backyard’ being the highest overall selling book of 2020 in Australia, ‘The Beach’ winning ABA’s Book of the Year (the first children’s book to ever do so!) and more than 3 million Bluey titles sold thus far, a feat unmatched in the licensing space. She is an inspirational young leader with a long career ahead of her who has spent the past 18 months not only leading the successful Bluey brand but also leading a growing licensing team and mentoring junior team members, and keeping morale high as the team all worked remotely.

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