Former Mattel CEO to speak at March assembly

Jill Barad (Justin ’01), former CEO of Mattel, Inc., was able to ascend the ranks of Mattel and serve as one of the first female CEO’s in the country of a Forbes 1000 company.

On March 17, Barad will share her experiences at the Women’s History Month assembly.

Barad joined Mattel in 1981 as a product manager and was named president and chief operating officer of Mattel in 1992.

She assumed the role of CEO in 1997 and left the company three years later in February 2000. She was one of only four women running a major American corporation.

“Ms. Barad broke a glass ceiling in a predominantly male world,” Gender Studies teacher and organizer of the assembly Martha Wheelock said.

“She must be extraordinary to have worked her way up from a mere office gal to being the CEO of Mattel Toys.”

Barad is noted for her mass expansion of the Barbie doll brand to international recognition and increased revenue. She resigned from the company when it posted significant fourth quarter losses, according to a New York Times article from 2000.

“This representation of what women can do and have done inspires all young woman, and even gives guys an awareness that we share this world with them,” Wheelock said. 

Barad will join students at a reception held in Feldman-Horn Gallery after the assembly for those interested in pursuing business careers.

“She is a woman who earned her spurs and is a strong role model for what women can do,” Wheelock said.

Wheelock explained the criteria for selecting a Women’s History Month speaker, that she “wants women who are not just celebrities but who have actually made a difference, and of course, ‘herstory.’”