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Partner In Respect April 2013: Mattel

MattelMattel, the No. 1 toy company in the world, best known for Barbie and Hot Wheels, believes that play is important – so important that play is embedded in Mattel’s corporate values:  play with passion, play together, play fair and play to grow. These corporate values link the company’s business strategies with its diversity, inclusion, environmental, and community engagement strategies. 

As the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of toys and family products, Mattel strives to maximize opportunities for business growth by leveraging the varied experiences and perspectives of its employees.  This ensures that the company relies on its diverse workforce for a broad range of knowledge, experience, point-of-view and insights to achieve business success. 

Mattel believes that supporting GLSEN reinforces this strategy.  GLSEN’s work on anti-bullying campaigns, safe-space kits and other resources for youth aligns with Mattel’s diversity and inclusion principles and with the company’s philanthropic commitment to “make a meaningful difference, one child at a time.” 

“Working with GLSEN helps to strengthen Mattel and spotlights the importance to us to support for all types of diversity, including sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Graciela Meibar, Mattel’s Vice President of Global Sales Training and Global Diversity.  “We are always mindful that our consumers—children and youth from all around the world—come from diverse communities, just as our global workforce is diverse in terms of ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation and gender.” 

Mattel began sponsoring the GLSEN Respect Awards in Los Angeles in 2008, and for the past four years has provided financial support and product donations for the gift bags.  Members of OPEN@Mattel, the LGBT employee resource group, have attended each year.  In 2012, Mattel sponsored both the Los Angeles and New York Respect Awards, including reception sponsorship in Los Angeles.

“We have been so fortunate to have Mattel as a corporate partner, because their brand represents play…playing together, playing fairly, playing respectfully,” said Executive Director Eliza Byard.  “It’s very important to GLSEN that Mattel holds these values with us, which makes our relationship meaningful and powerful.”

OPEN@Mattel is Mattel’s employee resource group addressing the needs of LGBT employees, as well as members of the external LGBT communities in which Mattel works and plays.  To date, OPEN’s 85 members have been involved in volunteer activities with organizations such as GLSEN and GLAAD and have created networking opportunities for Mattel employees in order to facilitate employee growth and development, as well as to assist in recruitment and retention.  

“My involvement in OPEN is a very important part of my experience at Mattel. It provides me with an invaluable set of friends, mentors and colleagues that enhances my personal development and builds my own affiliation with the organization,” said Ryan Fowkes, Director of Corporate Strategy.  “One area I’m particularly proud of is Mattel and OPEN’s relationship with GLSEN.  Both organizations are focused on improving the lives of children and it’s exciting to see us work together to make a meaningful difference.” 

In addition to GLSEN, OPEN@Mattel is engaged with numerous other LGBT community organizations.  OPEN sponsors the LA Gay and Lesbian Center Lifeworks program to support youth development and their mentoring program.  The one-on-one, peer and group mentoring offers opportunities for over 2,000 LGBTQ youth. For many years, Mattel has been a significant supporter of the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation, which was founded by a Mattel executive more than 10 years ago, and continues to support children affected or impacted by HIV/AIDS.  Since 1998, Mattel has sponsored the Lambda Legal Liberty Awards.  Mattel also sponsors and attends the Out & Equal Workplace Advocates Summit and Reaching Out MBA.

Mattel has boldly marketed Barbie Collector to the LGBT community by advertising in Out and The Advocate magazines, as well as launching a “Boys Love Barbie, Too” campaign on Gay.com.  These campaigns have continued in various online LGBT media outlets.