After inventing, self-producing and licensing her own toys and games, Mary turned her passion for invention to help other inventors through DiscoverGames.com, the world’s largest co-op of toy and board game inventors.
In 2003, Mary launched the Chicago Toy & Game Fair (ChiTAG) with a plan to create the largest American celebration of play. In 2006 she introduced the Toy & Game Inventor’s Conference (T&GCon) to help new inventors connect with industry experts, and in 2008 the Toy & Game Inventor of the Year Awards (TAGIE Awards) to honor and celebrate toy and game inventors. Tracks for professional inventors, social media, tech and games in education have been added to the Conferences through the years. Thinking to celebrate play in an edgier way, she launched PlayCHIC, a toy and game inspired fashion event in 2011.
2008 saw the debut of the Young Inventor Challenge which has over 200 kids competing from coast-to-coast and as far as Mexico and Pakistan. This year marks the launch of the Young TECH Challenge. It’s all about encouraging inventiveness and creativity in kids!
Now reaching out to City Partners across Chicago, Mary and her team are activating the City for a week of celebrating play.
Mary has served on TIA’s Associate Membership and PlayCon/ToyCon Committees. She now serves on TOTY Award Selection Committees and is a Selection Committee Member at National Toy Hall of Fame. She writes for Global Toy News, and is active in social media promoting the importance of play and innovation. She has spoken at NY Toy Fair, ASTRA, World Congress of Play and her own hosted events.
She’s been honored through the years: Women in Toys Wonder Woman Entrepreneur of the Year 2009, 2011 TAGIE Founder’s Award, 2011 Global Toy News Person of the Year and the 2014 Woman Driving Excellence, Chicago Auto Show.
She is active in local politics having served on City Council, Parks Board, Sculpture Committee, Zoning Board and Plan Commission. She is a past United Way Board Member. Mary received a BBA from the University of Notre Dame and a MBA from Loyola University.