Licensing Career Stories: Maura Regan, Sesame Workshop

How did you come to licensing as a career?
I met the amazing Isabel Miller who gave me my first job n Licensing at the Jim Henson Company.

Licensing is a very broad field. How would you describe the area of licensing that you work in?
Sesame Workshop’s mission is to educate children using the power of media. Our objective in the CP department is to develop a strong ancillary business that supports and enhances that promise. Our core emphasis is on exploiting our intellectual property developing amazing products for preschoolers and related products for their families and caregivers.

What is your favorite part of your job?
That is a hard one. I love licensing because it draws on so many disciplines: account management, strategic planning, business development, creative, marketing, pr……. I am never bored!

What’s the most challenging aspect?
The challenges we are all facing these days are the unknowns around the economy and the long-term impact for retail and for our consumers.

What are some trends or changes that you have noticed in the licensing industry in recent years?
The trends are the usuals: retail consolidation, vertical shopping experiences, the importance of social media. I am also seeing a positive trend in how we are all much more flexible and innovative in crafting agreements and long-term partnerships. Licensing is a much less linear business than it was a few years ago.

What excites you about the future of this field?
Intellectual property is a booming field. Take a look at a typical day for anyone- from a young child to seniors. So much of  what they (all of us actually) are doing, how they are doing it or what they are using is steeped in an IP experience. And with all the instant shared experiences social media brings us, it is forcing us all to be savvier and more nimble about IP .

Can you share some advice or give some perspective that would be beneficial to students or young professionals wanting to pursue a career in licensing?
Of course: Come talk to me and many other professionals in licensing. Start with what you love (we are all consumers) and seek out those companies that share your values and that are interesting to you.

Any advice for mid-career professionals looking to expand their competencies?
Patience and flexibility. Given the economy, there is not as much mobility in companies. You may find yourself seemingly “stuck” at the same level for longer than you want. Use the time and position to take on more responsibilities, volunteer (with LIMA) and expand your experience so that your experience and connections are what connects you to the next level, and not simply a job title.