by The Bloom Report | 13 Nov 2021

Press Release



The latest headliners include Renowned Choreographer and Dancer, Randy Duncan and Former CEO 4Kids Entertainment, Al Khan


CHICAGO, IL (November 12, 2021) - People of Play (POP), is announcing the second wave of remarkable speakers and keynotes for the Toy & Game International Innovation Conference held on November 15-19. New and exciting this year, the Summit keynotes will feature POP Duos: Leaders, Legends and Celebrities, paired from different industries to talk about creativity, ideas and the toys and games that inspired them.


Sponsors include, Mattel, Disney, Goliath, The Michael Kohner Corporation, Hasbro, Oxford Games Ltd, Longshore Ltd, Spin Master, Play Monster, Exploding Kittens, Radio Flyer, MEGO, New Key Pet L’chic, Crazy Aarons, Nextoy, Haba, Foxmind, Litzky Public Relations Inc, Andrews McMeel Universal, Pressman, Toys & Family Entertainment, Peggy Brown Creative, Kite and Rocket, The Game Aisle, Blue Plate Media Services, and Design Edge.


Attendees from around the world will enjoy numerous panels over 5 days, plus daily hosted networking with execs from Mattel, Hasbro, Goliath, Spin Master and more in the POP Pub room. Keynote speakers, POP Duos - Leaders and Legends include: 


  • *NEW Renowned Choreographer and Dancer, Randy Duncan
  • *NEW Chief Funosopher, Nancy Zwiers
  • *NEW Inventor, Speaker, Kedar Narayan
  • *NEW Former CEO 4Kids Entertainment, Al Khan 
  • *NEW Founder & CEO The Nacelle Company, Creator of the Toys that Made Us, Brian Volk Weiss 
  • *NEW Father of the Modern Action Figure, Marty Abrams
  • *NEW Founder & CEO Kid Group, Inventor or Bop-It and more, Dan Klitsner 
  • *NEW Surprise Guest - Voice of Bop It
  • Mattel, President and COO, Richard Dickson
  • Mattel Films, Academy Nominated Producer EVP Executive Producer, Robbie Brennan
  • Exploding Kittens, Co-Founder Elan Lee
  • Emmy Winning Host of Survivor and Executive Producer, Jeff Probst 
  • The New York Times Times Crossword Editor,  and NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday, Will Shortz 
  • Litzky PR, Founder Michelle Litzky 
  • Pressman Toy Company, Past President, Jim Pressman 
  • Mixed Dimensions, Executive Chairman, former CEO of Mattel, SEGA and LeapFrog, Tom Kalinske
  • BlueSquare Innovations, Managing Director, David Fuhrer, Fuhrer has licensed more than 300 products with sales over $1 billion 
  • Major League Baseball, Former right-fielder for the Dodgers and Mets, Shawn Green, 1st round draft pick, two-time major league All-Star and holds or is tied for many major league records
  • Pulitzer Prize Winning American Cartoonist, Garry Trudeau, best known Doonesbury and creator and executive producer of the Amazon Studios  series Alpha House


Closing the conference is the prestigious TAGIE Awards Show, November 19th, premiering on POP’s homepage. Watch parties will be held across the globe as the toy industry toasts and celebrates their colleagues. Following the TAGIE Awards Show will be socializing in the POP Pub rooms. The 2021 TAGIE Awards are presented by Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products with sponsors Mattel, Oxford Games, Hasbro, The Michael Kohner Corporation,  Goliath, MEGO, Radio Flyer, Longshore, Exploding Kittens, PlayMonster, Nextoy, and Kite and Rocket.


More speakers and more panels are being added every day. For updated information please visit




Registration includes:   

  • Toy & Game International Innovation Summit 
      • Expand your knowledge of how the toy and game industry works and connect with new people to grow your business with 5 days of education from veterans of the business, meaningful networking and multiple pitch opportunities. 
      • Get inspired and learn how legends, leaders and celebrities get inspired.
  • Toy & Game International Excellence Awards (TAGIEs) 
      • Cheer on your colleagues Friday evening, November 19 during a highly-produced virtual awards show that celebrates the innovators who made their mark in 2021. 
  • POP Pub Rooms
      • Daily hosted networking with execs from Mattel, Hasbro, Goliath, Spin Master and more in the POP Pub room
        • Hosts include:
          • Dougal Grimes, VP Innovation, IR Games, Gund, Outdoor, Activities, Spin Master
          • Tanya Thompson, Sr. Director Design Innovation and IR, Hasbro
          • Dave Harris, Sr. Director, IR Strategic Partnerships, Mattel
          • Brendan Boyle, Partner, IDEO
          • Tom Rushton, Principal Revenew Sales
          • Brian Turtle, National Sales Manager, Goliath Games
          • Matt Nuccio, President, Design Edge
          • Jim McCafferty, President and CEO, JMP Creative
          • David Norman, Global President CMO of Gaming, Goliath Games
      • Immediately following the TAGIE Awards, socialize and network in the POP Pub rooms.
  • Chicago Toy & Game Fair 
    • The annual consumer fair goes virtual Saturday and Sunday, November 21-22, spanning 10 stages. The Young Inventor Challenge headlines with winners and a workshop for young inventors everywhere. 


Inventors and design students looking to pitch their  toy and game  inventions can RSVP here to participate in dedicated pitch sessions.


  • Speakers: POP Duos - Leaders and Legends! 
  • Toy & Game International Excellence Awards (TAGIEs): With crazy stunts, animation, heartfelt tributes, suspense, joy and solid gold entertainment!
  • ​Innovative v​irtual ​network ​opportunities​ ​- Themed zoom rooms are always open
    • Pitch to toy and game from around the world. Licensing agreements happen every year. This is the largest event for pitching toy and game ideas in the world.
  • Office Hours - Free consultations with many companies


New inventors and design students will also receive one 30 minute mentoring session with a product acquisition executive, a how-to-pitch package, and speed pitches with companies part of the inventor track.


About People of Play 

People of Play (POP) celebrates and empowers toy and game innovation worldwide by providing educational opportunities, recognition and community for industry professionals, amateur inventors and people of all ages who love to play. People of Play oversees a number of events including the Chicago Toy & Game (CHITAG) Fair, the Toy & Game International Excellence (TAGIE) Awards, the Young Inventor Challenge, the New Inventor Conference, the Professional Inventors Conference, Play in Education Conference, the Bloom Report and the People of Play Foundation. Press contact:

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