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Meet Diane Reichenberger of Mattel in El Segundo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Diane Reichenberger.

Diane, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
First of all, I love my career path – it hasn’t always been easy, but looking back now every move I have ever made makes sense. I started out as an analyst at Hewlett-Packard in the early 80’s seeking my place on the corporate ladder – one I thought was meant for everyone, not just men. As it turns out, working hard and delivering results above & beyond expectations doesn’t guarantee a promotion or recognition for your accomplishments. I decided to pursue happiness and went to Esprit de Corp, a company and brand I admired. After applying for a position for nearly 6 months, I finally landed a job that I absolutely loved as a product manager in the apparel industry. I then went on to many more positions within the industry in production, design, marketing and ultimately the position of President at L.A. Gear in 2000. After the company was sold to private investors, I took a 4 year sabbatical, not necessarily planned for this length of time, but one that further defined the person I am today. After working in Shanghai for a consulting position in 2004, I returned to take the CEO position at Dualstar Entertainment Group – a position that allowed me utilize my experience and expertise as well as shaping my leadership style and connectedness to the millennial work force who have inspired me in so many profound ways. I currently am the VP of Global Consumer Products & Promotional Partnerships for Mattel, Inc. I love my job and the engaged, amazing team I have the pleasure of working with every day. I am married to an incredible woman and love to dance! Most importantly, I am passionate about mentorship and supporting causes that are near and dear to my heart. In pursuit of my passion, I co-founded the Women’s Accelerator with two equally engaged colleagues. The Women’s Accelerator is a high-touch, management development program experience for women which offers a unique mentoring program, committed to developing high-potential women leaders at key advancement points in their careers. I actively support Step Up Women’s Network, The Rescue Train and True Colors Fund. I sit on the Board of the Women’s Leadership Council and True Colors Fund and in 2017 I won of the Los Angeles Business Journal’s Women’s Summit Philanthropist of the Year Award. I am very grateful for the journey and am really enjoying my life!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I have taken the road less traveled, never accepting the restrictions that are placed on women in particular and although I was at many times the only person who believed in ME, I never waived from my course. In particular, when I left L.A. Gear to take a short 6 month break from work, the time out of work stretched to nearly 4 years. It was a difficult time and very humbling. To go from a President to unemployed was a tough pill to swallow and I realized how work had defined my self-worth for too many years. People who offered to support my job search didn’t show up and the kindness and support of new acquaintances kept me uplifted and strong. I was maxed out on my credit cards, living with a friend for free and making a decision to move back in with my ex-husband when I met a woman who shared the position at Dualstar Entertainment Group that she thought was perfect for me. Turns out, she was right! Two weeks later I was sitting at my new office and in a role that was the best job for my experience and expertise. During the nearly four years off, I was told not to expect to go back into a position as ‘high ranking’ as my previous role nor should I expect to earn as much as I had in my last position. This was a common thing to tell women who regularly step off their career track to have a child, raise a family or commit to elder care. I didn’t take the bait and refused to believe that I was ‘less than’ I had been when in fact I felt I was far better than I had ever been; more humble, less attached to ego, grateful, mature and I had a fire in my belly that could not be extinguished. I had been through a very challenging time and I was on the other side. This confidence and realization of my strength inspires me everyday and I take nothing for granted.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Mattel, Inc. – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I am currently the Vice President of Global Strategy for Consumer Products and Promotional Partnerships, this is an out-licensing role and I love it! My expertise and experience over the last 18 years has been focused on global licensing and I enjoy it very much. It gives me and my team the opportunity to work with category experts around the world who develop, manufacture and sell-in products utilizing our Intellectual Property based on the assets our creative team creates and provides for our partners. Licensing leadership is focused on business development, partnerships, negotiation, sales, financial management and marketing. It is ALL the fun aspects of business with none of the headaches; production delays, raw material pricing, markdown discussions to name a few. I was promoted into this newly created role four years ago to focus on global commercialization of licensed products with industry category leaders and to develop and grow global promotional partnerships. This role also requires internal coordination and alignment. I lead all aspects of global CP trade development coordinating with teams across multiple regional offices (USA, Canada, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific & Latin America).

Most importantly, I have an amazing team and my focus is on their growth, development and the inspiration they provide to me as well as our internal and external stakeholders. As a leader, it is critical that I support, guide and mentor this incredibly talented team who make the company stronger with their insight, innovative thinking and problem solving. I believe a leader has to prioritize their team’s development and empowerment in order create business growth and evolution. I am passionate about this aspect of my role and I believe it sets me apart from others as it feeds my soul to see others doing well and exceeding their own expectations. I am very proud of our team!

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
As I am nearing the end of my career with retirement on the horizon, I am looking forward to staying at Mattel for at least another 5 years doing what I love – Licensing and Leadership.

I am a community volunteer supporting organizations that focus on Women’s Empowerment & Independence, Animal Rights & Rescue and LBGTQ+ Youth Homelessness. When I retire, I will have the time to dedicate to volunteering and supporting my community in more meaningful ways. In the meantime, I am focused on enjoying every day at work and at play.

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8 Comments

  1. Judith Reichenberger

    September 11, 2018 at 14:58

    We are so proud of Diane and all she is doing to make the world a better place and the workplace better as well.

  2. Dominique Bremond

    September 12, 2018 at 04:01

    Diane has always been a bright light where ever she goes. Her path has been and is amazing.

  3. Nancy Carlson

    September 12, 2018 at 04:03

    Diane, YOU ARE AMAZING!!! But of course you are! You have WONDERFUL parents and they couldn’t have a sweeter, more giving, dedicated daughter. WOW!! SUPER WOW!!

  4. Shannon Gabor

    September 12, 2018 at 04:19

    This women is everything and more. Her ability to connect to individuals on all levels and lead with heart is unparalleled. Diane is beyond a class act and a brilliant professional who understands brands and consumers. Congratulations on the journey—-I’ll always be watching.

  5. Lori Elliott

    September 12, 2018 at 06:29

    Diane! This is amazing and inspiring! Your journey hasn’t always been an easy one but the lessons you have learned and the “fire in your belly” have empowered you to achieve your amazing goals! You are a shining example for all women!

  6. Michael

    September 12, 2018 at 15:25

    Il tuo solo limite è il cielo. Your only limit is the sky
    Congratulations and great friendly Italian hug

  7. Cathy Lynam-Rohrs

    September 13, 2018 at 04:02

    So proud of you and all of your accomplishments over the years. This is a great article and I know its just the surface of all you have done. Your amazing and I love to watch you dance!! xoxo

  8. Candice Cummins

    September 13, 2018 at 20:16

    Oh, I love, love, love this. You are so sparkly and I love you.

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