When it comes to Star Wars toys, few people match the enthusiasm of Patrick Schneider. As one of two global brand managers working on Star Wars toys at Hasbro, the franchise’s master toy licensor, Schneider’s mission is to expand the business selling Kylo Ren electronic lightsabers, remote-control BB-8’s, and black series diecast Millennium Falcon vehicles.
Schneider oversees the brand management of a number of new toy launches each year. The timetable for some three-dozen artists, designers, engineers, finance managers, and other Hasbro employees to collaboratively develop new toy lines is a mere 18 months. The accelerated process relies on consumer testing but also instinct. “Making decisions quickly and based on our gut is surprising, but also very liberating,” says Schneider.
Having Confidence Without Attitude helped Schneider land the Hasbro job last August. He had been working at Minneapolis-based General Mills, where he held a variety of positions before rising to senior associate marketing manager in charge of frozen biscuit sales to schools and businesses.
Schneider says it was his experience leading cross-functional teams that drew Hasbro’s attention, and he credits Haas with teaching him how to manage. “I need to strike a balance of building capital with other people, asking for their advice, and winning them over—and then pushing to get products on the shelf at the right time.”
At Hasbro, it’s helped too that Schneider has proved his bona fides. “I got so much into Star Wars growing up,” he says, “that I can talk the talk.”