The Gift of Leadership with Michael and Carolyn
With Christmas right around the corner, we’re sharing some of our favorite leadership gifts ideas for you! This week we’re looking at toys.
Our first recommendation is Wristworld! Wristworld is an augmented reality slap bracelet that you wear on your wrist. This year a brand new wristband and character are being released!
IamElemental is a line of female action figures that hold character traits such as honesty. This is a positive and intentional way to teach children about character traits! You can use code “dreamers” at the checkout for 20% off!
Let’s meet our Dreamer and Doer!
Julie Kerwin: CEO of IamElemental
Julie is the creative superpower behind the first female action figures created specifically for children, is a voracious researcher, writer & thinker on the topics of gendered toys, creativity in children & the power of play.
Kerwin is Chief Elemental Officer of IAmElemental. Founded in 2013, the company conducted a Kickstarter campaign in 2014 which was fully funded in two days, drawing backers from all 50 states and six continents, and was named by TIME Magazine as one of the “25 Best Inventions of 2014” and “Top 10 Toys of 2014.” In 2016, Kerwin was selected by the White House for their conference on “Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes in Media and Toys.” IAmElemental’s groundbreaking products were honored by the Toy Industry Association as 2017 Toy of the Year finalists in the Action Figure of the Year and Rookie of the Year categories, and Kerwin received a Wonder Woman Award in the Rising Star category from Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment. The company was also named a 2018 Toy of the Year finalist in the Action Figure of the Year category. Kerwin is a regular speaker at events hosted by New York Comic Con, New York Toy Fair, and Kickstarter.
Kerwin holds a BA in English and a certification in Secondary Education from Wellesley College, as well as a JD from Fordham University School of Law. While she is completely and totally obsessed with Rome, she lives with her family in New York City, where she is a non-profit fundraiser, a patron of the arts and sciences, and a not-so-secret pop-culture critic.
Julie says she is more of a natural dreamer. She shares her high school yearbook quote showing how she dreamed even in high school.
Intentionality with Toys
Julie’s mom was very specific of what toys she played with growing up. She was not allowed to have Barbies and instead played with different toys. Blocks and books were Julie’s favorite toys growing up, and she realizes that her mom was trying to expand her imagination with the toys she played with. Julie carried this into her company IamElemental where she works to expand the minds of children through the action figures.
Becoming a Toy Inventor
As an “accidental” toy inventor, Julie had no idea what she wanted to be when she grew up. She changed her major in college 3 different times. She remembers asking the question: “Why does Spiderman appeal to boys but there’s no female equivalent?” Julie did research and talked to many different people about how girls and boys are different mentally. She realized she wanted to design an action figure that would appeal to the girl brain. After Julie successfully started her company, she began to believe that girl and boy brains are not really all that different.
Julie loves books, history, and art. While these are taught in school, they don’t have the same effect as learning about things in real life. Julie uses these outlets to inspire her and keep her dreams flowing.
Middle School Advice
Failure is always an option. Julie never raised her hand when she didn’t know the answer. But her second son challenged her to realize it’s okay to make mistakes. We all make mistakes and they are important to learning new lessons!
- Take time to find something that empowers your creativity.
- Toys give us a way to be intentional with how we play.
- It’s okay to make mistakes.