about astra

ASTRA Staff


Kimberly Mosley, CAE, CPE
President

Kimberly Mosley, CAE is the President of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA), the world’s largest specialty toy association serving more than 1,700 independent specialty toy retailers, manufacturers, sales representatives and toy industry experts. ASTRA is the nation’s only association dedicated to the education and expansion of the specialty toy industry.

Kim has been a leader in the association industry for more than 20 years with experience in technology. Prior to her role with ASTRA, she served as CIO for the American College of Healthcare Executives. She is a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and Association Forum where she served in many leadership roles including serving as chair of the Diversity Workforce Committee. In 2002, she was awarded the Diversity Executive Leadership Scholarship and in 2003, she earned distinction as a Certified Association Executive.

She serves as adjunct faculty for Governors State University in healthcare informatics and serves on the advisory board for Prairie State Junior College. She also lectures, blogs and writes articles on association management and technology.

Ms. Mosley holds a Bachelors of Science degree from Governors State University and an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management in Chicago, IL.

Contact Kimberly
(312) 222-0984
kmosley@astratoy.org



Sue -Warfield, CPE
Member Relations Director

Sue Warfield has been in the both the Retail and Toy Business for over 30 years. What began as a part-time retail job turned into a passion for retail. While attending college, she worked part time for the then Dayton’s Department Store Chain. Though her “career” path had been International Trade, when she got her first great job in her field of study, she realized that as each day was coming to a close, she was looking forward to going to her part-time sales job at Dayton’s – which for some reason, she had never given up. Answering an ad to become an assistant manager at a hobby and craft store, she got the job...and that was it. Retail and sales were where she wanted to be.

Over the ensuing years, Sue worked for 2 major, independently owned, retail chains based in the Minneapols/St. Paul area and worked through the ranks to include store management, training, buying, and ultimately, director of retail operations. In 1990 she started her own retail consulting firm, Retail Specialties, and worked with clients around the US, developing training programs and working to improve their day to day operations. She entered the world of toy representation in 1995 and retail store ownership in 1999 when she and her husband opened a northwoods furnishings and décor store. She joined ASTRA in 2000 and has been an active member ever since, serving on the Board for 7 years, including chair. Her most recent work contributions have been with Hotaling Imports, a long term ASTRA Member, and serving as chair of the ASTRA Membership Committee.

Sue started her position as Director of Member Relations in August of 2014. She and her husband have 3 grown children and live in the northern Minnesota town of Ely, MN – gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Contact Sue
(312) 222-0984
swarfield@astratoy.org


Ahren Hoffman, CTRS, CPE
Business Development Director

Ahren Hoffman is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) and began her career in the toy industry in 2007. In her past role as Manager of Industry Relations & Partnerships at the National Lekotek Center, Hoffman evaluated toys and play products beneficial for all children, especially those with disabilities, at AblePlay.org, a project of Lekotek. Hoffman also provided support services to members of the toy industry to share the developmental potential and possibility of toys and play products for children of all abilities. These collaborations allowed Hoffman to contribute to the creation of multiple toy guides and have the opportunity to be published in a manual related to the benefits of sensory play.

Hoffman is active in the lecture circuit presenting to organizations and professionals in the field of child development as well as within the toy industry creating presentations and webinars for retailers, manufacturers and sales representatives. Hoffman also regularly contributes to a variety of print and online publications to advocate for the power of toys and play.

Hoffman received her Bachelors of Science in Therapeutic Recreation with a minor in Psychology at Central Michigan University.

Contact Ahren
(312) 222-0984
ahoffman@astratoy.org


Dina Velasquez, CMP
Meetings and Events Director

Dina Velasquez, CMP is the director of meetings and events for the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). Dina brings more than 25 years of meeting and event management experience within the corporate and non-profit sectors. Before joining the ASTRA team, Dina worked as the event services manager for the YMCA of the USA and manager, meetings and events for Navistar, Inc where she received the EXPIRT award for Best Corporate Event Over 150K from the International Live Experience Association. Dina will lead the designing and development of the annual Marketplace & Academy event as as well as plan board meetings and in-person events throughout the year.

Dina is a native of the Chicagoland area and currently lives in Chicago. In her free time, Dina can be found at her cottage in southern Michigan boating and enjoying the lake and nature.

Contact Dina
(312) 222-0984
dvelasquez@astratoy.org


Dee Marsden
Marketing and Communications Manager

Originally from outside of Chicago, Dee grew up hosting her own news broadcasts recorded on cassette tapes and publishing issues of marker-scribbled newspapers. Her passion for people, their stories, and the power of communication to connect with others took her to Boston, where she graduated from the Boston University College of Communication.

Shortly after graduation, Dee pursued a job offer in Boston to develop, lead and implement collaborative learning opportunities among university students while building a donor base to support her work. From facilitating weekly small group discussions to organizing and leading large-scale cross-cultural service trips to building out donor campaigns, the role gave Dee the opportunity to get to know to know the stories of hundreds of students representing diverse ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds - and an outlet for sharing these stories. 

In 2013, Dee moved to Chicago and joined the ASTRA team. As the Associate Manager, Marketing and Communications, she is responsible for overseeing the marketing and communication strategy for the organization, including the annual Marketplace & Academy trade show and conference. She also manages the national Neighborhood Toy Store Day initiative.

Outside of work, Dee enjoys spending time with her husband Eric, exploring the many diverse neighborhoods of Chicago, and discovering local coffee shops.

Contact Dee
(312) 222-0984
dmarsden@astratoy.org

 


Robyn Foster
Membership Coordinator

Born in Wisconsin, with strong ties to Chicago, Robyn graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee with a Bachelor’s in Political Science. While in college she found herself volunteering, as well as working on local, state, and national campaigns. Upon graduation she took her passion and dedication to socially engineering communities and became a member of AmeriCorps. Robyn served for a year with the National Health Corps in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as a Patient Advocate promoting healthy communities and assisting patients in underserved communities.

After serving for a year, Robyn returned to Chicago, Illinois where she began work for associations such as the American Dental Association and the American Hospital Association. In addition, she is an ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor and Spinning Certified Instructor that specialized in HITT and endurance training.

When she’s not in the office, Robyn enjoys venturing on her bike, instructing fitness classes, and finding new artistic ways to express herself from playing her viola to painting.

Contact Robyn
(312) 222-0984 
rfoster@astratoy.org


Nicole Peavy
Office Administrator

Nicole joined the ASTRA team in July 2018 as the Office Administrator and brings a decade of experience in office administration. She previously worked as an administrative assistant for a number of Chicago-area school districts including the Waukegan, Zion and Grayslake school districts. Nicole also brings 12 years of community outreach experience, including founding Pure Love International, a non-profit centering around community and mentorship outreach.

When Nicole is not at the office keeping the day-to-day operations running at ASTRA HQ or working on her degree in Business and Organizational Leadership, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, writing and playing music and event planning.

Contact Nicole
(312) 222-0984
npeavy@astratoy.org


Cora McCarron
Education Administrator

   

Cora grew up in Lincoln Square, Chicago, until her family moved to Park Ridge, Illinois, in 2000. She received a Bachelor’s degree in both International Studies and in Spanish from DePaul University. She then went on to continue her education in International Studies in the dual BA/MA program at DePaul, and is currently working on her thesis. Her specific concentrations in International Studies were International Relations and International Political Economy.

After graduate school, she went to work on political campaigns for the 2018 Midterm Election and the 2019 Chicago Municipal Election. Cora has always had a desire to work in an organization or a field that is mission-driven, and that is what led her to work with ASTRA.

In Cora’s free time she likes to listen to podcasts, visit museums and parks, and spend time with her family and friends.

Contact Cora:
(312) 222-0984 Phone
cmccarron@astratoy.org

 

Clare McKeown
Meetings and Events Administrator

Clare is a Chicago native born and raised in the Beverly neighborhood. Clare joined the ASTRA team as the meetings and events administrator in April 2019. She has previous experience working as well as volunteering for non-profit organizations. Clare spent two years working as an administrator at a local Chicago design firm. Her most recent experience was as an event assistant at a family office association.

Clare has a passion for the arts and loves spending time crafting and creating. Outside of work you can find her at a local concert or art show with friends.
 

Contact Clare
(312) 222-0984
cmckeown@astratoy.org