|"Working in a toy company as a mom
is a lot of fun," says Erica (Snyder) Buxton, who serves
as Director of Corporate Strategic Planning at Mattel. But
toys are a serious business, as the 2002
chemical engineering graduate has found out while helping
the toy giant meet challenges in a competitive marketplace.
This is not exactly where she
originally pictured herself when attending Rose-Hulman. She
figured she would settle into the healthcare business as a
development engineer. But after about three years on the
job, "I was getting a little lonely in the lab and was
interested in the overall company and how decisions were
So, Buxton and her husband, Rob (ME, 2001),
decided to attend Harvard Business School's MBA program.
"We sold our house, sold our car, quit our jobs, and
moved," she reflects.
Then, with MBAs in hand, the couple landed
consulting jobs in Los Angeles.
|"I got interested in the consumer
space," she says. That led to her job at Mattel. "What's
more fun than working with toys?"
Buxton oversees the toy giant's
annual strategic planning process, working with key
executives to create a strategic plan. "I work with leadership
to figure out how we will continue to drive
shareholder value for the company," she says. "You have a
lot of people who want money for different things. We have to
figure out how to fund investments and
The latest strategic plan was presented to
the Mattel Board of Directors in September, and now leaders
are operationalizing the plan. Buxton helps to oversee
progress throughout the year, but she's already thinking
|elements of next year's strategic
plan. Even as the company moves into the 2012 holiday
season with the latest Hot Wheels variations and a new high
tech Barbie doll, Mattel already has top secret showrooms
previewing next year's hot toys.
Buxton believes it's time for Rose-Hulman to take
on the world in its strategic planning. She asks: "How
can you get the Rose-Hulman name out and get more
students from around the world to Rose-Hulman, and how can you
get students a more global experience?"
Closer to home, Buxton is making plans for
family growth. She has one child approaching age 2, and a
second due next spring. "That keeps us busy."