Our opening day began at Mattel Headquarters El Segundo, California with Playworks pumping up our leaders with icebreakers to help harness our excitement for the day. We were welcomed to Mattel by the toy company’s Senior Vice President of Global Communications, Stephanie Cota who opened up our convening with inspirational words, “You are here to identify challenges and figure out how to make the world a better place. You are here to find solutions and that is what we get to do at Mattel everyday.”


Tim Shriver continued to greet our leaders and applauded the group for being “the kind of people that support each other” as some traveled two days to join the Summit! Mr. Shriver charged the Summit participants to be the type of leaders that lead outside the box. “So here you are ready to learn to lead. Great leaders are not ones that think they have all the answers. Great leaders are leaders who know others have the answers. Great leaders have humility and simplicity and empower people to see.” He ended his welcome address by bringing the crowd to their feet by singing and dancing to altered lyrics to Walk the Moon’s song Shut Up and Dance with Me.

Before the leaders were introduced to their Future Project Dream Directors they were addressed by Special Olympics’ Board member Kim Samuel who reminded participants “What this movement is all about is taking hold and making change to build a more welcoming world.”

Leader Tanzila Khan and Dream Director Shantae Edwards

Each participant was assigned a Future Project Dream Director who will serves as a mentor for the remainder of the Summit to help develop their Project Pitches. Each Passion Project will be presented and judged during the Summit with the top five projects receiving funding. Timbo Shriver, one of the Dream Directors, shared his excitement with participants  “We are going to take the next 6 days by storm and create magic together!”

Leaders Eugenia Maldonado (SO Venezuela), Cherish Aperocho (SO Philippines), Jennifer Sassone (SO Minnesota)

Leaders Eugenia Maldonado (SO Venezuela), Cherish Aperocho (SO Philippines), Jennifer Sassone (SO Minnesota)

As one of the breaks during the day, leaders were able to model and take home JCPenney’s accessory from their accessory wall.

One of the highlights of our day was Leader, Mitchal Bonar’s excitement for Mattel! In an interview, Mitchal shared his love for Hot Wheels and playing Barbies with his sisters. He feels like Mattel has helped provide a way for his family to spend time together. Mattel’s Hot Wheels Cycling Team was ecstatic to hear about Mitchal’s experience and came over to meet him! The team even brought our leader Hot Wheels cars to add to his collection. Mattel has truly helped to make this an extraordinary day!

itchal and Mattel’s Hot Wheels Cycling Team

Mitchal and Mattel’s Hot Wheels Cycling Team

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