Maureen McHale

Maureen McHale is the President of McHale Design.

How long have you been a WIT member?
Over 20 years – Southern California Chapter

Why do you believe that mentoring is so important?
Without the encouragement and insight from others, I would not be where I am today.

How has mentoring affected you, both professionally and personally?
We are actively working with a local high school in a economically depressed part of Long Beach to encourage young people of color to consider design and toy design as a possible career. We will be expanding this year to have some of the art directors/designers at McHale Design meet with small groups of students on the annual toy design project so the students can achieve better results on their projects. Also, we have paid college interns here, and as much as they learn from us, we learn from them. Mentoring gives us a chance to share our knowledge and see our mentees succeed with just a small amount of guidance and lots of encouragement. It feels good to see what our interns and the students we work with accomplish! We are so proud of them.

What do you do during the first hour of your business day?
Guzzle down some coffee, check emails, and check in with employees about projects for the day. Sometimes have phone conferences with our Italian client who is heading home for the evening. It’s buonasera for them and buongiorno for us!

How do you recharge/reboot?
A good dose of some PBS Masterpiece Theater, Netflix and a little “Game of Thrones” right now, plus a good read: “Rules of Civility” is my companion at the moment. Also time with my family and friends: backpacking, camping and an evening out.

What are your top productivity tips? Are there any mobile apps that help you stay organized/efficient?
We’ve added Slack to our company and it’s fostered an element of fun but also eased the way we communicate. I would say it’s one of the biggest improvements in multiple ways: speed of messaging, less cumbersome than email and simplified conversations around specific topics. It’s awesome!

What does being a part of the WIT community mean to you?
My relationship with WIT has evolved over the years. I believe at first WIT’s focus was really on recognizing there WERE women in the toy industry and providing an opportunity to hang out with women and supportive men who were all working hard in the industry. It quickly evolved into an organization that provided not only networking but serious professional support. Today, I enjoy showing up at an event or place and finding familiar faces and then meeting the new WIT members. We share a common experience of being on the journey of bringing innovation into the play of children and as women dealing with the issues of our roles outside of work and the unspoken glass ceiling that still exists.