The six brand licensing professionals to receive the 2021 Rising Star Award from Licensing International this year have been named, marking the ninth annual celebration of the up and coming talent from across the global licensing community.
“We are thrilled to recognize these talented young professionals who will be the future leaders of our global brand licensing community,” said Maura Regan, president of Licensing International. “We would also like to thank the Rising Stars committee members, who have the difficult job in selecting among the best of the best.”
The 2021 Rising Stars Award recipients are:
JAMES CHOI – Senior Associate, Ellalan
Based in Hong Kong
James Choi actively advises on landmark, precedent-setting copyright licensing litigation in Hong Kong regarding recording and karaoke licensing issues as a senior associate with Ellalan since 2016. He holds law degrees from Kings College London and University of Hong Kong as well as a Master of Arts in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
According to a nominator, James’ “ability to handle and advise clients, as well as to lead and nurture juniors to assist him in his licensing matters have made huge positive impact to the firm’s recent growth and expansion.”
ADDIE DORSEY GOOSSENS – Licensing Manager EMEA, Ubisoft
Based in France
Addie Dorsey Goossens began her licensing career with ZAG Entertainment in Los Angeles before joining Ubisoft in June 2019 in Paris. Addie manages the licensing out strategy for all Ubisoft brands across Europe, Middle East, and Africa including Ubisoft’s expansion into esports licensing categories.
One executive said: “She is a very strategic business executive who understands that licensing is a marketing tool to support the core businesses. She has always impressed me with her business savvy and licensing knowledge.”
Dorsey holds a Master’s in Strategy & Management in International Business from ESSEC Business School along with a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Earth & Atmospheric Sciences from UC Irvine.
RACHEL HAK – Category Manager, Apparel/Accessories/Health & Beauty, Crayola
Based in U.S.
Rachel Hak began her licensing career at Freeze with stops at The Walt Disney Company and Centric Brands before arriving at Crayola as a category manager for outbound licensing in 2019. She launched Crayola’s first-ever children’s apparel program with Haddad Brands at the Macy’s inaugural STORY event and elevated the Crayola brand through collaborations with Adidas, LeSportsac, Shinola, and Isaac Mizrahi.
According to one licensing executive, Hak “believes in the power of brand licensing and is always ideating new ways to partner with prospective companies. Her natural curiosity and creative and positive energy make her a great representative for our company and the industry overall.” She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
KEVIN RAMSEY – Founder and CEO, Warren James
Based in U.S.
Kevin Ramsey founded Warren James two years ago, following stints at Jazwares and Roblox, to develop custom merchandise, apparel, and e-commerce solutions for some of the largest content creators on YouTube, Twitch, and TikTok including Aphmau, ItsFunneh, and Annoying Orange. Since its launch, the company has grown to 44 people with offices in Los Angeles, Guangzhou, and Manilla while helping to define standard DTC and DTR deals for content creators.
A graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, Ramsey’s “entire career has been focused on leveraging gaming and content creator’s online audiences to drive engagement and product purchases in both retail stores and online. The passion and work Ramsey has put into the creator economy have increased the exposure and opportunities for this genre of content within the licensing industry,” according to one licensing executive.
JYOTI SARDANA – Manager of Licensing Strategy and Operations, OneTeam Partners
Based in U.S.
Jyoti Sardana began her licensing career with the NFL Players Association before moving to OneTeam Partners as employee number four in 2020. She has developed the licensing program for Women’s National Basketball Players Association, U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association, and Major League Soccer Players Association as well as the NFL Players Association and Major League Baseball Players Association.
“Jyoti’s efforts have had an outsized influence in establishing a market for officially licensed products for professional women’s athletes. The momentum for these licensed products is now apparent and Jyoti’s work in this regard has been influential,” according to a nominator. Sardana holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Maryland.
CAROLINA VERDUGO – Director of Brand Management, Beanstalk
Based in U.S.
Carolina Verdugo joined Beanstalk in 2018 following stops at Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger. She leads the agency’s efforts in Mexico and Latin America for Diageo and expanded the Bailey’s food licensing program into LATAM markets with industry leaders in key categories. One of Verdugo’s nominators said, “Carolina’s excellent work on prospecting and client service played an integral part in Beanstalk expanding the Diageo business in Latin America. A major strength of Verdugo’s is her ability to see the bigger picture, think strategically, and take initiative.”
Verdugo holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Business/Trade/Commerce from San Diego State University.
The 2021 Rising Stars will be recognized during the 2021 Licensing International Excellence Awards on Tuesday, August 24 at 12:00pm EDT at Licensing Expo Virtual.