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Director Early Childhood Development Research

East Aurora, New York

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Posting Title Director Early Childhood Development Research Requisition Number 221047 Company Fisher-Price, Inc. Location East Aurora, New York Address 636 Girard Avenue Zip Code 14052-1884 Job Category Other

CREATIVITY IS OUR SUPERPOWER. It’s our heritage and it’s also our future. Because we don’t just make toys. We create innovative products and experiences that inspire, entertain and develop children through play. Mattel is at its best when every member of our team feels respected, included, and heard—when everyone can show up as themselves and do their best work every day. We value and share an infinite range of ideas and voices that evolve and broaden our perspectives with a reach that extends into all our brands, partners, and suppliers.


The Opportunity: 

This position is truly at the heart of what Fisher-Price and Mattel do every day…. it’s about knowing kids, understanding childhood and working in partnership with parents to Amplify the Power of Childhood in everything we do.  The Play Lab is a place where Child Development experts work hand in hand with Marketing, Design & Engineering to make the best play and entertainment experiences for children and their caregivers by listening and observing how parents and kids interact with our products to make sure they are focused on creating the best solutions for our key consumers.  Think of this role as the translator of kids to functional experts to make everything just right and continue the thoughtfulness that goes into every experience we create.  As the leader overseeing both the Play Lab in East Aurora NY and in Shenzhen China, this critical role will work in partnership with the General Manager of the Infant & Preschool Division as well as the entire FP & Mattel leadership teams to make sure every little thing is considered and done from beginning to end to continue the legacy of helping empower the next generation of kids to reach their full potential.  This is a unique opportunity that merges the power and importance of Early Childhood Development & Expertise with development in the toy industry on a global scale. 

Additional information on this opportunity:

  • Leadership team role reporting directly to General Manager, Infant & Preschool Division.
  • Leads the strategy, team development, and execution for the Play Lab in East Aurora for all brands within the Infant Preschool portfolio, including Fisher-Price, Thomas, Little People, Imaginext & Power Wheels as well as the Mattel China Play Lab based in Shenzhen that covers the entire Mattel portfolio of brands, including Barbie, Hot Wheels, Uno, and so many others.
  • $1.25BN in global wholesale.
  • Sits at the intersection of human centered design for Marketing, Design & Engineering teams within the product development process.
  • Key leadership role that supports the Brand vision of fitting into people’s lives and Amplifying the Power of Childhood.
  • Fisher-Price is a 90+ year old brand that has built upon its heritage and been rejuvenated by embracing innovation in everything we do.

What Your Impact Will Be: 

Leading our PlayLab Teams based in East Aurora, NY and Shenzhen, China to deliver on: 

  • Curriculum Design/Developmental Guides
    • Establish skill frameworks & ages/stages guides across brands, e.g. age appropriate feature set, content, & play patterns
  • Longitudinal Research
    • Design and implement causal research studies utilizing research technologies (i.e.: FaceReader, ObserverXT, Eye-Tracking)
  • Design and implement research surrounding children playing with and without toys to better understand current play trends by age to inspire innovation. Product Age Grading
    • Recommend consumer facing age grade/range
  • Ethnographic Researcher in partnership with product design teams
    • 3–5-day ideation session including in-home visits to inspire product innovation
  • Human Factors/Usability Research
    • Determine parent and child interest/ability to use products as intended e.g., on-site child testing; in-home testing; parent testing instructions/assembly
  • Parent Focus Groups
    • Talk to consumers about their thoughts around a particular concept or topic to help determine product direction e.g., Usability of tech, sleep
  • Audio & Visual Content Research
    • Overall Evaluation of developmental appropriateness for Storytelling
    • Child observations to explore response to content
    • Early concept exploration for appropriateness of new formats e.g., podcast

Build strategy for Play Lab monetization in collaboration with VP of IPS Brand Acceleration.

Build external partnerships with trusted and qualified partners in Early Childhood Development wherever appropriate with an emphasis on the academic world as needed.

Actively participate in Mattel’s Medical and Scientific Safety Counsel (MSSC) with internal and stakeholders and external experts/partners.

Lead the promotion of the Play Lab Brand.


What We’re Looking For: 

  • 10+ years early childhood development experience in research and/or commercial setting;
  • A true leader who understands that it takes everyone to make it work, a leader who possesses a clear vision, and ability to work through strategy, lead with tenacity, honesty and inspire the next generation of Mattel Leaders;
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills;
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills;
  • Detail oriented and highly organized;
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills;
  • Strong knowledge of educational and parenting trends;
  • Ability to take initiative, ownership and accountability for own work and those of teams;
  • Someone who wants to have F-U-N and understands the rewards will follow;
  • Based in Buffalo, NY.

What It’s Like to Work Here:

We are a purpose driven company aiming to empower the next generation to explore the wonder of childhood and reach their full potential. We live up to our purpose employing the following behaviors:

  • We collaborate: Being a part of Mattel means being part of one team with shared values and common goals. Every person counts and working closely together always brings better results. Partnership is our process and our collective capabilities is our superpower.
  • We innovate: At Mattel we always aim to find new and better ways to create innovative products and experiences. No matter where you work in the organization, you can always make a difference and have real impact. We welcome new ideas and value new initiatives that challenge conventional thinking.
  • We execute: We are a performance driven company. We strive for excellence and are focused on pursuing best in class outcomes. We believe in accountability and ownership and know that our people are at their best when they are empowered to create and deliver results.


Who We Are:

Mattel is a leading global toy company and owner of one of the strongest catalogs of children’s and family entertainment franchises in the world. We create innovative products and experiences that inspire, entertain and develop children through play. We engage consumers through our portfolio of iconic brands, including Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, American Girl, Thomas & Friends, UNO and MEGA, as well as other popular intellectual properties that we own or license in partnership with global entertainment companies. Our offerings include film and television content, gaming, music and live events. We operate in 35 locations and our products are available in more than 150 countries in collaboration with the world’s leading retail and ecommerce companies. Since its founding in 1945, Mattel is proud to be a trusted partner in empowering children to explore the wonder of childhood and reach their full potential.

Visit us at https://jobs.mattel.com/ and www.instagram.com/MattelCareers.

Mattel is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer where we want you to bring your authentic self to work every day. We welcome all job seekers including minorities, females, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and those of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

AA/EEO and Accessibility Commitment

Mattel is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer where we want you to bring your authentic self to work every day. We welcome all job seekers including minorities, females, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and those of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Mattel aims to make its Careers website accessible. It is Mattel’s Policy to provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities as required by law. If you’re interested in applying for employment with Mattel, and need assistance with this online system at any point during the application, screening or selection process, or if you believe you do not meet any of the required qualifications of a posted position due to a protected disability and would like to explore the possibility of an accommodation, please contact our Talent Acquisition team at: TalentAcquisition@mattel.com. It is Mattel's Policy to consider all qualified applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, social origin, age, marital status, veteran and protected veteran status, disability, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, genetic information, gender, gender identity or expression, or any other basis protected by applicable law. Mattel has also developed an Affirmative Action Program in compliance with federal regulations and to enhance Mattel's objectives of equal access to opportunities at all levels of employment.