Brainstorm’s product director, Rosanne Kenealy, retired at the end of June after 35 years in the toy trade.
Rosanne’ 35 years in the toy industry began at Spears in its Product team and then continued at Brainstorm. She was a founding director of Dowling Magnets Europe which formed in January 1995 and was a key member of the buyout team which took control of the business in 2003, changing the name to Brainstorm.
Rosanne said she had “mixed feelings” about retirement as she will really miss the Brainstorm team and the wider toy community. She explained: “I love our products and what we stand for – inspiring young people to discover an appreciation of science and nature. I have some wonderful memories of countless trade events, business trips and the general camaraderie you feel working in this amazing industry with such lovely people.”
Nick Saunders, Sales and Marketing director, commented: “Rosanne has been the heartbeat of our company, and has led the way in establishing the wonderful culture we have here. I have known Rosanne all my life and it will be strange not to have her here on a daily basis. Of course, we wish her all the best for a long and happy retirement, but she will be missed.”
Julie Greenwood, Commercial director (and Rosanne’s sister), will continue to manage the business along with Nick, and the pair are determined to progress the growth of Brainstorm’s portfolio of owned and distributed brands.
Rosanne’s parting gesture to the business was to ensure that her department was left in good hands. Katey Greenwood joined the business over a year ago and now takes care of Product and General Compliance, including reaching the sustainability targets set in motion by Rosanne.
Meanwhile, Lucy Preston has been promoted to Product manager having initially been employed as Product Development assistant more than seven years ago. Rosanne said: “It became apparent very quickly that Lucy was very well qualified to eventually take over from me; in the last few years she has been the driving force behind our development programme and is perfect for this role.”
Lucy’s first job was to appoint her own assistant, another Luci, and relocate Brainstorm’s Hertfordshire office. Luci Davies is a graphic designer and will support the Product and Marketing departments from the new office.
Brainstorm recently held a dinner party to celebrate Rosanne’s career and thank her for the sacrifices she has made for the business and for her friendship. Nick Saunders said it was an emotional evening. “We have to remember that without Rosanne there would be no Brainstorm,” he added. “Most of our colleagues have a long history with the company, with many of us clocking up 15, even 20 years of service, and Rosanne should be very proud of what she has created.”