TAGIE Lifetime Achievement Honoree Michele Litzky Shares Her Story with Us

by Michele Litzky | 21 Oct 2021

The Bloom Report

I grew up in the toy industry. At no time did I imagine that one day I’d receive an award for doing what I love.  My biggest inspiration—and the reason for any success I have—have been the people I got to work with, and the myriad, invaluable, and lifelong lessons about business and the world that they taught me.

 

When I look back, I see a career bookended by two visionaries – the late Stephen Hassenfeld and sadly, the late Brian Goldner. For one, I had the opportunity to launch some evergreens – Transformers and My Little Pony, among them. The other took those brands and made the stories bigger and more relevant for generations to come. I was there the day that Stephen Spielberg visited the Hasbro showroom for the first time – and decades later applauded Brian when he took the brand to the big screen.

 

I learned about philanthropy from Alan Hassenfeld and had the honor of drafting the original charter for the first Hasbro Children’s Foundation. Steve Schwartz taught me that ‘product was king” and Neil Friedman, who has been a trusted confidant since our paths crossed at Hasbro in the early 80s, taught me always to do the right thing.  Tom Griffin and Joe Bacall taught me how to market to children. I am forever grateful.

 

I’ve shared those lessons with my own team and use them as my North Star whenever I tackle a new project, start to work with a new client, or am asked for advice.  As a young professional, I could not have had better mentors or role models as I began the next chapter of my career.

 

I opened my own agency in 1988 wanting to take all lessons learned in an incredible ‘master class’ and spread my wings by starting my own business. Tom Kalinske gave me the chance. It changed the course of my career; I was able to take my love of consumer package goods marketing – learned during my tenure at L’eggs Pantyhose, the first branded hosiery to be sold in a supermarket – and apply it to an industry that didn’t have a lot of big stories to tell – at the time.

 

 I had a front row seat to embrace and change the way the industry talked about itself. And I used my voice to help them find theirs. Always at the center of any conversation were people looking to make a difference and to find new ways to reach their audiences in a now-saturated marketplace.

 

Throughout my career in the toy industry, I’ve been given the opportunity to meet and represent the brightest in an industry fueled by smart, strategic people and companies, start-ups, and unique individuals whose passion have driven them to try to make a difference in the world. It’s been my honor to support them by keeping the conversations lively, ongoing, relevant and compelling. We have been so proud to be able to craft these stories and help them to be told—and heard above the constant din of the busy, and ever more crowded and competitive, world.

 

While I’m no longer on the front line (with a few exceptions), I’m constantly reminded of the work that my legacy is more than any individual accomplishments. It’s the team that is moving Litzky Public Relations (now LPR) forward. Under the stewardship of Josslynne Welch, the agency continues to ‘bring it’ for clients big and small in a variety of business sectors, making headlines wherever needed. Our diversification makes me proudest, as our work and counsel has been recognized and sought after by some of the world’s most iconic brands.

 

Raising a company is not so very different from raising a family. We hope to share our lessons and our values, to shape the future. At the same time, I can reflect with gratitude on those who took the time and cared enough to teach me about the business they loved, and that I love. It is a wonderful and humbling honor to be able to see oneself in the context of a long line of professionals and to have been able to share the knowledge, experience and zest that have shaped me and pass them forward to a new generation.

 

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