Playskool brand toys have been a staple in most households for years; they’ve been around since 1928. Who didn’t have a Mr. Potato Head or Tinker Toys growing up? I’d be surprised if your kids don’t have one now. Jodie Neville and Sharon John have the super cool jobs of working at Playskool. These two moms took time away from their busy schedules to talk to us.
Tell me a little about what you do for Playskool, the condensed version, of course!
Jodie: I am the Senior Marketing Manager on the Playskool brand, managing the US business and go-to market plans. I partner with our sales and retail community to bring our products to consumers as well as Sharon’s Global development team to bring Playskool products and marketing priorities to life.
Sharon: I am the general manager for the global Playskool business. That means I set the strategy for the business but it also means I get to be an important part of picking which toys we will make for the kids, with the help of our experienced design staff and expert infant and preschool development team.
What’s your secret to balancing career and family?
Jodie: When I figure that one out- I’ll be sure to let you know! Seriously though, I have always been inspired by Hasbro’s commitment to ensuring proper work-life balance. The greatest benefit is that it’s okay for them to bleed into one another—after all, it’s toys we’re working on and bringing it home benefits my daughters too!
Sharon: I think you have to be prepared that everything is just NOT going to perfect, and then be willing to laugh about it….
Tell us what it’s like to work for Playskool as moms?
Jodie: Having been on the brand since my twins were one (3 years old now) has been a tremendous learning experience. With so many other moms (and dads!) working on the business, it does bring the insight of daily developments that can help guide product development and marketing initiatives (Moms- we know how we want to be communicated to, right?!)
Sharon: Being a mom of three children (4, 7 and 10) and working on the Playskool brand is a blast…you often have special insights to the way children think because you live it…it is fun for me to switch my “mom hat” and my “marketing hat” around as a consumer as well. Sometimes, you do just have a gut feel about what may or may not appeal to a mom in advertising or on packaging. Of course, we generally test the hypothesis but having that original insight can be crucial sometimes.
What do you want to teach your kids?
Jodie: Right now? How to share their toys!
For their future? Dream Big, Play Hard but Play Fair & Take care of your parents when they get older!
Sharon: To be happy with who they are and make the most of the gifts they have been given.
What is your greatest achievement?
Jodie: I have 2 and their names are Catherine and Margaret.
Sharon: I believe my greatest achievement is still yet to be accomplished….but to date, I would say that I am proud that on most days, I am able to be a positive influence on the people around me, including my children, of course.
What’s your definition of a Modern Mom?
Jodie: A modern mom lives in a state of constant reprioritization. Juggling is no longer a task for court jesters- it’s mom’s secret and innate talent.
Sharon: Today’s mom is striving for more balance- balance for herself and her family. So she weighs things carefully. Does this or that REALLY matter? Will it matter 3 years from now? 5 years from now? Not unrelated to this seems to be a general rise in social consciousness…from the desire for children to develop EQ (emotional quotient) as much as IQ to the goal of instilling a sense of respect for the Earth in their children. The “new media” of blogging, Facebook and Twitter (as examples) have allowed moms to recognize that they are not alone with these shifts in thinking and are providing moms with support and ideas to achieve these broader-minded goals.
Is there a big “must have” toy for summer?
Jodie: The Sit n Spin is a classic that my family loves. We use them as an integral piece of our outdoor obstacle course!
Sharon: Play-Doh is always a hit….but a big grassy yard to run and play in is a great “summer must have” too.