Sesame Street has a magical way of connecting people young and old from across all backgrounds. Working within the organization that creates the beloved children's television show is pretty special, too.
Based in New York, Sesame Workshop is a non-profit organization with a mission to help kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger and kinder. Sesame Workshop has been working to fulfill that mission since 1969 through its educational television program, live shows and charitable works that have impacted millions of families around the world.
I serve as senior manager of North America Licensing with Sesame Workshop. If you're interested in placing Elmo, Big Bird or Cookie Monster on a consumer product, I'm the person who can help you. My role is to grow the Sesame Street consumer products business through licensing. I work with best-in-class partners to identify areas of opportunity and growth in the market, including category expansion, retail strategy and product development. In addition, I am responsible for analyzing sales data, forecasting and achieving annual budgets.
One of the things I love most about Sesame Workshop is that – though it is a strong and competitive entertainment brand with highly recognizable characters – it is actually a non-profit organization. While the products we create are driving sales, that revenue is being used to support Sesame Workshop’s content and philanthropic initiatives.
It's difficult to describe just how powerful the Sesame Street brand is and the important role it plays for both kids and adults. As part of our 50th anniversary, Sesame Workshop went on a road trip last summer and held community events across the country. I had the opportunity to attend one of the celebrations and participate in the fun. Watching kids and families interact with Sesame Street characters – and seeing the joy it brought them – was incredible.
When you’re at the office focusing on your day to day, it’s easy to forget the big picture. Having these opportunities to see the brand in action is a great reminder that what we’re doing is so much greater than simply creating a toy.
Working and living in New York City was never a part of my career plan. I had been working in licensing at Disney Consumer Products in Toronto and was looking for a new opportunity. I didn't have a goal or dream of moving to the U.S., but a co-worker told me about an opportunity at Sesame Workshop and I decided to apply. They called the next day and within two weeks I had an offer. The process was extremely quick which, in hindsight, worked in my favour. I really didn’t have time to stop and think about making such a big move. Within a month and a half, I was living in New York.
Living in the city is fun, stressful, busy, exciting and definitely unpredictable. There is something here for everyone. Whether you’re into arts, culture, sports or food, you can find it and the experience can be whatever you want it to be. If you're visiting, you have to try New York bagels and pizza! My recommendation for the best bagels is Tompkins Square Bagels and for pizza Motorino in the East Village. My favourite thing to do on a Saturday morning is to grab a bagel and coffee and enjoy them in Washington Square Park. The people watching will not disappoint and there’s always live music.
I am so grateful for my Laurier experience and the role it played in helping me get here. Being on my own for the first time at university, working part-time as a Laurier Ambassador, developing new relationships, experiencing failure and then being able to pick myself up and succeed – Laurier paved the way for what was to come.
My time at university helped me understand the kind of person I wanted to be and I began shaping that. As fellow alumni know, Laurier becomes a part of who you are. It stays with you as you move forward in life.
I had never imagined living in New York, and now can't imagine life any other way. If there is a lesson to be learned from my story, it's to keep an open mind when new opportunities arise. It wasn't on my radar, but the decision to move here has changed my life in the most phenomenal ways. If you're thinking about a move – to the U.S., Asia, Europe, or somewhere else you've always wanted to go – opportunity awaits if you are willing to embrace it!
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