Women-Owned Businesses: Sharing the Challenges & Rewards

Women make up about 50% of the population, but when it comes to the work world, women leaders and founders of businesses are drastically under represented. Research conducted by McKinsey & Company, Scientific American and other sources showed that companies benefit from a diverse group of people and that companies with women leaders create more successful outcomes.

Research from an American Express OPEN State of Women-Owned Businesses in 2016 found that there were 11.3 million women-owned firms in the US, employing nearly nine million people and generating $1.6 trillion in revenue. Over the past nine years, this research highlighted that women-owned businesses have grown at a rate five times faster than the national average and represent 38% of the country’s businesses. Continue reading “Women-Owned Businesses: Sharing the Challenges & Rewards”

CPE Workshop Insights from Kerry Bauer, CTRS, CCLS

“Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play, children learn how to learn.” –Fred Donaldson

One major lesson you will learn in June at the CPE Workshop is the importance of play for all children—I have studied child development and learned from inspiring theorists such as Piaget, Vygotsky, and Bandura to name a few. These are also some of the theorists included in our CPE Workshop that will be discussed as well as other concepts, research and advocates on the power of play. My name is Kerry Bauer and I am a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) and a Child Life Specialist (CCLS). My personal life and professional career have provided me experiences and opportunities with both typically and atypically developing children and their families. Continue reading “CPE Workshop Insights from Kerry Bauer, CTRS, CCLS”

Leasing a Space? Maximize Your Safety & Profit with Little-Known Lease Tips

Hello ASTRA members! I am very excited to bring you some extremely valuable material in my session: Leasing a Space? Maximize Your Safety & Profit with Little-Known Lease Tips.

Fact: Ninety-nine percent of business owners do not negotiate their lease adequately. They leave in dangerous clauses and “lease-landmines”. They don’t know what they don’t know. I am going to show you how to fix that, and will be bringing you actual examples of problems and fixes. After we are done, your lease will be safer, more flexible, and probably less expensive. Continue reading “Leasing a Space? Maximize Your Safety & Profit with Little-Known Lease Tips”

Play as a Path to EQ

Play as a Path to EQ

ASTRA’s 2017 Marketplace & Academy is offering nearly 500 exciting exhibits on the show floor along with more than 30 education sessions. I am honored to be a part of the Academy education offerings. I will be presenting, “Play as a Path: Emotional Intelligence from the Inside Out” with co-presenter, Dee Farrell of Neat-Oh! International, LLC. We are passionate about the power of play and excited to deliver content on social/emotional development as it connects to child development.

Continue reading “Play as a Path to EQ”

ASTRA Member Spotlight: Jordan Ramey, Innovation Media Products


The ASTRA community is made up of a vibrant group of retailers, sales representatives, manufacturers and affiliate members who all have unique stories of how they got into the toy industry. We believe these stories are worth sharing! To recognize our community, the ASTRA Blog features a regular ASTRA Member Spotlight series. 

How did you get into the toy industry?
As a dad of elementary age kids, I know that children are far more capable than we can ever imagine. I couldn’t really find an age appropriate game that would push that boundary far enough. I wanted to ensure that there were options available to shape how the next generation of kids will learn and play. So, I created a strategy card game for kids as a learning tool that requires them to utilize all the cognitive skills of complex “grown-up” board games in a fun and versatile experience. The next thing I knew I was in the toy business.
Continue reading “ASTRA Member Spotlight: Jordan Ramey, Innovation Media Products”

Guest Post: Stand Out… or Step Aside

Guest Post: Stand Out… or Step Aside

Successful people, just like successful businesses, understand that what people think of them and expect from them is important. In today’s social-media-connected world, people don’t hesitate to share what they think of you. Careers, reputations and businesses can be ruined by social media. They can also be enhanced, so it’s worth doing a little planning and positioning.

Larry Mersereau, a session speaker at ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy, offers a few steps for getting started on building your personal brand.

Continue reading “Guest Post: Stand Out… or Step Aside”