Meet Our Team

The team lives and breathes toys!

With our access to hundreds of members of the Toy Industry Association (TIA) and contacts spanning the industry, our team of toy trend specialists has a unique insight into the latest trends in toys, games and play. We constantly scan more than a dozen toy categories to come up with lists of great toys that will be perfect for children of every age and interest. Occasionally, we’ll give you a sneak peek at what’s coming soon to store shelves. We may comb through our resources to create a ‘must have’ list of great toys in a category. And sometimes we’ll take a look back and pull a few favorites out of our toy box to remind you of some great classics that never go out of style.

Because play that is fun AND safe is our top priority, our team is careful to consult with toymakers, safety organizations, government agencies and other child-focused professionals to gather important information about the toys shown on these pages. When we include a toy on this site, we’ve researched key information including what age child it is designed for and how the toy is to be used. Most of the toys are seen by our team during product previews or products samples are provided for us to play with at our office. We’ve even developed our very own toy database to track the thousands of toys that we see every year.

If you have questions or need more information, contact our team of toy trend specialists for more information:

Adrienne Appell

Adrienne AppellAdrienne has over 10 years experience in the toy/youth industry and is Toy Industry Association’s lead toy trend expert. She says she loves the challenge of mapping out trends so that she can see the evolution of childhood play patterns over time … and also try to predict what the next trends will be. Having a toddler at home also helps Adrienne continue the toy testing long after the work day is done!

When she's not learning about new products, Adrienne’s other role as Director, Strategic Communications, keeps her busy working with members, the media and consumers on topics such as emerging trends, toy safety, and the work of the toy industry’s charity, the Toy Industry Foundation.

Isabel Carrión-López

Isabel Carrión-López A consummate performer, Isabel's favorite play pastimes included singing and dancing along to her Fisher-Price Record Player, and "teaching" her dolls and plush animals whatever subject would be on the next day's exam.

These days, Isabel’s leading role is as an integral member of the team, managing web content that keeps her up-to-date on hundreds of toys and games. She’s also the official Spanish language spokesperson for "TIA" — and a proud "tia" (aunt) to seventeen nieces and nephews!

Joan Lawrence

Joan Lawrence Joan Lawrence is TIA’s “Toy Safety Mom” … which means she spends her days providing advice on toy safety, including shopping tips and recommendations for choosing the right toy for a child. In addition to serving as TIA’s vice president of standards and regulatory affairs, she also chairs the committee that is responsible for making certain that the U.S. toy safety requirements stay up-to-date. Joan’s toy safety guidance is regularly cited across the country and around the globe. A lifelong child safety advocate, she is the daughter of a prominent pediatrician and herself a mother of three young children.

Kristin Morency Goldman

Kristin MorencyAs a child, Kristin was a fan of creative play – whether that involved finger-painting, playing with dolls, pretending to be a vet or building forts around the house. Thanks to her job at TIA, she now gets to play every day. Her favorite part of being a toy trend expert is getting a sneak peek at all the brand new toys and games!

Kristin has been with TIA for four years; along with being a product and trend spokesperson, she is also a journalist for TIA and editor of the Toy News Tuesday weekly e-newsletter. Kristin uses her expertise to communicate everything related to play – from toy trends to safety – in news articles read by the industry and the general public.

Ashlee Neuman

Ashlee NeumanStill to this day, one of Ashlee’s most treasured possessions is the wooden dollhouse that her grandfather handcrafted for her, providing a stage for many of her childhood imaginary games.

Today, as primary author of’s All About Play section, Ashlee gets to write about why role playing games and other forms of play are so important for a child’s development. Thanks to her job as content developer and trend specialist for TIA, Ashlee also writes about toys, trends and industry updates for news articles, social media posts and everything in between.

Jackie Retzer

Jackie RetzerWhen Jackie and her sister were young, they used to bake all sorts of treats in their play oven, frosting and decorating cakes to serve to the family during celebrations. They did it so often that, for a while, baking desserts became their official job in their mom’s catering company!

For the past two years, Jackie’s job has been in the toy industry. She is one of the TIA's official toy and trend spokespeople and has primary responsibility for managing all the toy and game nominations that are received during TIA’s annual Toy of the Year Awards.

How does Jackie remember the thousands of toys and games she sees each year? She says every toy has a unique aspect that helps her remember what will make it that “very special toy” for a child somewhere.