MEET THE SENIOR TEAM
Steve Pasierb, President and CEO
Marian Bossard, Senior Vice President, Global Market Events
Jean Butler, Executive Director, Toy Industry Foundation
Ed Desmond, Executive Vice President, External Affairs
Kenneth Ebeling, Vice President, Strategic Development and Member Services
Alan P. Kaufman, Senior Vice President, Technical Affairs
Joan Lawrence, Senior Vice President, Standards and Regulatory Affairs
Ken Seiter, Vice President, Marketing Communications
Paul Vitale, Senior Vice President, Finance & Operations
Meet Steve Pasierb
President and CEO
Steve Pasierb joined The Toy Association as President and Chief Executive in April of 2015. In this position, he is responsible for leading the growth, development, and oversight of an innovative $18M+ not-for-profit trade association representing all businesses involved in creating and bringing toys and youth entertainment products to kids of all ages.
The Toy Association’s more than 750 member companies account for approximately 90% of U.S. domestic toy sales. The U.S. toy industry drives more than 491,000 jobs with $24.51 billion in wages, contributes $9.93 billion in combined state and federal taxes, and has an annual U.S. economic impact of $76.71 billion. Nearly 98% of U.S. toy manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors are small businesses. The Association’s external affairs programs have expanded to encompass industry-related issues at the state, federal, regional and global levels; its go-to-market trade events, including the annual North American International Toy Fair, attract increasingly global audiences; and its expansive philanthropic activities in partnership with members have grown to serve millions of children in need each year. The Toy Association is an organization devoted to both membership excellence and sharing the genius of play.
Mr. Pasierb previously served for 14 years as President & CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing adolescent substance abuse. He assumed the leadership role in 2001. Prior to working for more than two decades in public health, he worked in Maryland state government as well as the marketing communications and media worlds.
In addition to his leadership experience, Mr. Pasierb has acted as a frequent commentator in broadcast, print and social media. This extensive aspect of Mr. Pasierb's work over the past two decades has included appearances on major news media outlets nationwide.
In Mr. Pasierb holds a Masters of Education in communications media and a Bachelor of Science in criminology; he is also a member of the national Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi for scholarly distinction. He serves on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Association Committee of 100, the Board of Directors of the Treatment Research Institute affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, and is a member of the organizing committee of Advertising Week in New York City, among other engagements.
In November 2003, Mr. Pasierb was honored by the American Advertising Federation and elected to the Advertising Hall of Achievement, the industry's premier award for professionals who have made a significant impact on the communications industry. An avid sailplane enthusiast, gardener, and traveler, he is also a contributing writer for remote control model magazine properties and websites.
Meet Marian Bossard
Senior Vice President, Global Market Events
Marian Bossard currently serves as Senior Vice President, Global Market Events at The Toy Association.
In her current position, she is directly responsible for management of two go-to-market events: the American International Toy Fair, the largest toy trade show in the Western hemisphere, and Fall Toy Preview, the by-appointment-only event targeted to long-lead buyers where toy manufacturers privately show their newest product lines. She also oversees the production of PlayCon, the International Conference of Play Professionals, an annual education and networking event for those involved in play-related industries.Ms. Bossard is committed to developing programs that will help members grow their businesses within the U.S. and in the global marketplace.
Ms. Bossard came to The Toy Association in 1999 after spending five years in the exhibition management industry, first with an exhibit design firm and then Miller Freeman/United Media where she was Trade Show Operations Manager in their General Merchandise division. Previously, she enjoyed a 16-year tenure in sales and customer service with Delta Air Lines.
Ms. Bossard is a member of the Advisory Board to the Jacob Javits Convention Center and sits on the Trade Show Executive’s Gold 100 committee. She is proud of her work on the volunteer advisory board for the 2011 World Police and Fire Games, an Olympic style event that brought nearly 20,000 firefighters and law enforcement personnel from 70 different countries to New York City to compete in 65 sporting events.
She is a 1977 graduate of Rutgers University. She is a resident of New Jersey where she lives with her husband; her family is always nearby.
Meet Jean Butler
Executive Director, Toy Industry Foundation
Jean Butler joined The Toy Association in December 2003, and currently holds the position of Executive Director at the Toy Industry Foundation.
Ms. Butler has held several executive positions at The Toy Association including Director of Membership and Business Development and Vice President of Membership.
In her leadership role with the Foundation, she created and launched several national programs including Play Comforts, the first-ever national toy distribution program to serve every branch of the U.S. military through an exclusive partnership with Boys and Girls Clubs of America; Play Heals, a national partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities; Play Helps, to aid the children of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; and national programs with My Stuff Bags Foundation and CASA National to benefit abused and neglected children. She received the Wonder Women In Toys Award for Corporate Social Responsibility in 2013.
Prior to joining The Toy Association, she held several senior business development positions within Time Warner Inc., including Director of Sales and Business Development for Time Life Inc., and Director of Partnership Marketing/New Business Development for Time Inc. Consumer Marketing. She initiated Time Life Inc.’s first direct-to-consumer business unit which included video, music and children’s entertainment products. She was presented with the Award of Excellence for Outstanding Financial Contribution by Time Inc.’s Executive Management.
Ms. Butler holds a BA in Economics from the College of the Holy Cross and an MBA in Marketing from Fordham University Graduate School of Business. She is currently an Adjunct Instructor at Fordham, where she designed and teaches a global MBA course entitled “Marketing to Young Consumers.”
Meet Ed Desmond
Executive Vice President, External Affairs
Ed Desmond joined The Toy Association in October 2008 to serve in the newly created position of Executive Vice President, External Affairs. During his tenure, Mr. Desmond has built a strong and effective advocacy program that touches directly on the key domestic and international issues impacting the toy industry: safety; environmental sustainability; global trade – including export restrictions and international counterfeiting; children’s online privacy protection, and more.
Headquartered in the Association’s Washington, DC, office,
Mr. Desmond oversees The Toy Association’s product safety and standards initiatives, technical affairs, state and federal legislative and regulatory outreach, and related communications programs.
Prior to joining The Toy Association, Mr. Desmond served as Senior Vice President, Government Affairs with the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). Previously, he served as director of government affairs for several large multi-national corporations. He began his career as legislative counsel for Rep. Henry Hyde, the former Republican Congressman representing the northern suburbs of Chicago.
A graduate of California Western School of Law in San Diego, Mr. Desmond lives in Virginia with his wife and three children.
Meet Kenneth Ebeling
Vice President, Strategic Development and Member Services
Ken Ebeling joined The Toy Association in May 2013 as Vice President, Strategic Development and Member Services.
In his role, Mr. Ebeling has overall responsibility for developing and executing strategies that will create and deliver enhanced value propositions to all members. He leads engagement with members so that The Toy Association can best meet the needs of each of the diverse constituencies that it serves.
Previously, Mr. Ebeling held the title of Senior Vice President of Membership Development for the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), where he worked for more than 20 years. Reporting to the President and CEO of DMA, Mr. Ebeling was responsible for acquisition, retention and servicing of members and prospective members, and oversaw multiple areas including business development, special interest councils, program management, and member communications management. Sales and development activities spearheaded by Mr. Ebeling generated 70% of DMA company revenues in fiscal year 2012.
Immediately following college, Mr. Ebeling was recruited as a linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals professional football team, and then pursued a brief career as an educator. In 1984, he joined DMA as a new member account executive and was subsequently promoted through a number of roles to his most recent post as SVP of membership development.
Mr. Ebeling lives in Mahwah, NJ and is the father of four children. He holds a degree in economics from Colgate University and an MBA from Fordham University.
Meet Alan P. Kaufman
Senior Vice President, Technical Affairs
Alan P. Kaufman is a toy industry veteran with more than 35 years of experience addressing product safety, quality assurance, regulatory compliance and product testing issues for toy companies and retailers
Prior to joining The Toy Association in May 2011, Mr. Kaufman was vice president for global product safety and regulatory affairs at Toys“R”Us, Inc. Previously, he spent more than a decade directing production, sourcing and technical services within The Walt Disney Company and its affiliated companies. Earlier in his career, he held technical and production positions at a number of toy manufacturers, including Mattel, Knickerbocker and Coleco.
As part of the External Affairs team, Kaufman leads the continuing development and implementation of technical policies and strategies relating to toy safety, the environment, supply chain issues, factory processes and other related matters.
A graduate of UCLA with a degree in biology and organic chemistry, Kaufman is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO). He is also a member of the executive board of ASTM International Committee for Consumer Products F15, and is very active on a number of its subcommittees responsible for toy and juvenile product safety standards.
Based in the Association’s New York City office, Kaufman works closely with The Toy Association President Steve Pasierb, Ed Desmond, executive vice president of external affairs, and Joan Lawrence, vice president of standards and government affairs.
Meet Joan Lawrence
Senior Vice President, Standards and Regulatory Affairs
Joan Lawrence currently serves as The Toy Association’s Senior Vice President of Standards and Government Affairs. Since joining the Association in 1992, she has managed product safety programs encompassing the development of safety standards as well as industry and consumer safety education. Her experience and leadership within the industry spans a broad range of issues – from product safety and quality to environmental and other corporate social responsibility initiatives. As The Toy Association’s primary toy safety spokesperson, her advice on toy safety and standards appear regularly on websites and in articles and broadcast segments around the globe and her toy safety shopping tips and “how to” videos are featured elements of the PlaySafe.org website.
Ms. Lawrence chairs the ASTM subcommittee on Toy Safety, which is responsible for the continuing development of toy safety standard ASTM F963. She is a board member and former president of the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO), a public-private forum for the advancement of consumer product safety. She also serves as executive administrator of the International Council of Toy Industries, Inc. (ICTI), a group of 21 toy associations from around the world.
Meet Ken Seiter
Vice President, Marketing Communications
Ken Seiter joined The Toy Association in August 2014 as vice president of marketing communications. In this role, he is responsible for the development, implementation and oversight of The Toy Association’s communications strategies, key messaging and brand integrity programs, including the Genius of Play movement, which raises awareness of play’s benefits and has successfully encouraged millions of families to make time for play in their day-to-day lives.
Mr. Seiter has more than 30 years of integrated marketing communications and advertising experience. He was chief marketing officer for the Specialty Food Association, held a variety of marketing communications positions at Kraft Foods, and worked at a number of agencies on high-profile food accounts.
Having earned a Master’s degree in educational psychology, Mr. Seiter taught emotionally handicapped and learning disabled children, and saw firsthand how play and toys drive their healthy development. He currently resides in Stamford, CT with his wife and is the father of two children.
Meet Paul Vitale
Senior Vice President, Finance & Operations
Paul Vitale was named Senior Vice President, Finance & Operations at The Toy Association in 2013 after having served as Vice President, Finance & Administration since November of 2007.
Mr. Vitale is a Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Global Management Accountant with more than 35 years experience. He has held senior financial positions in both for profit and not-for-profit organizations and spent more than 10 years in public accounting with Arthur Andersen. Prior to joining The Toy Association, Mr. Vitale was Senior Director of Finance for the Greater New York Chapter of the American Red Cross for almost six years.
Mr. Vitale graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in accounting from St. John's University in New York. He is a member of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Financial Executives International.
Mr. Vitale has been a volunteer director since 1995 and treasurer of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Association, a not-for-profit provider of mental health services to children and their families based on Long Island, NY. He also serves on the Audit and Compliance Committee of Catholic Health Services of Long Island, a not-for-profit integrated health care delivery system.
Mr. Vitale is married to Marie, his wife of 35 years. Together they have 3 children and 2 grandchildren.