Meet the Management Team

Meet the Sales Team

Peter Gainsley Headshot Animal Adventure CEO

Peter Gainsley

Chief Executive Officer
LinkedIn Profile
Since starting the company in 1998, I have remained committed to offering retailers unique and elevated product designs, safe and carefully produced merchandise, and outstanding customer service. Over the years, I have built a team that brings passion and expertise to fulfill these important objectives. Today I am responsible for steering Animal Adventure’s dynamic business, protecting its special culture, offering transparency to our retail partners, driving financial growth and product innovation, and positioning the company for what is sure to be an exciting and prosperous future.

Personal facts: When I am not working, you can find me spending time with my fabulous wife and three incredible kids, traveling the globe, or at random ice rinks playing my own brand of mid-life hockey.
Douglas Gunderson

Douglas Gunderson
Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing
LinkedIn Profile
I joined Animal Adventure in 2019 to lead and inspire the Sales and Marketing teams to achieve their personal and professional goals. I am excited to bring my extensive retail experiences from The Walt Disney Company, MGA Entertainment, Best Buy Enterprises and Target Corporation to drive the overall success of Animal Adventure. My ability to draw upon professional experiences in Branding, Creative, Finance, Marketing, Product Development, Sales and Space Planning enable me to develop go-to-market strategies, tactics and execution to meet our retail partners’ expectations and delight consumers.

Personal facts: My wife and I have a son and two Labrador Retrievers. In our free time, we enjoy watching our son play high school hockey and participate in hockey tournaments throughout the country. We also enjoy entertaining and getting together with friends and family.

MaryBeth Lassman
Director of Finance & HR
LinkedIn Profile
At Animal Adventure I get to oversee the areas of Accounting and Human Resources. I joined the team in the spring of 2017.I graduated from California State University –East Bay (formerly Hayward) with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting. I started my accounting career in the San Francisco office of Deloitte and Touche, LLP, serving audit clients in the real estate, retail and agricultural industries.After leaving public accounting I worked in the homebuilding industry for several years before relocating my family back to my home state of Minnesota.Since returning to Minnesota, I have worked in both professional services as well as the manufacturing industry.

Personal facts:I enjoy spending time with my family and volunteering to help with whatever team sport my kids are participating in at the time.When we get a break from all the sports, we like to spend time with family up north at our cabin boating and fishing.

Michael Kohn
Senior vice President of Business Development
LinkedIn Profile
Since joining Animal Adventure in 2008, I’ve enjoyed working closely with the entire Animal Adventure team to develop a well-rounded, long term focused and globally minded company that builds successful relationships with retail partners.  I’ve worked since 1996 in the children’s space, including 10 years at my own company developing a licensed property and product catering to the independent and specialty markets, and three years with a very established mass market plush company. I have been fortunate to experience many angles and business models in this fun and always changing kids’ world. 

Personal Facts: I currently live in New York City and long ago, attended the University of Pennsylvania. In 2002, I married my lovely wife Rachel and together we have two children, Jacob and India.  While I spend way too much time working, I do enjoy playing guitar (poorly), visiting museums and playing in the snow with our kids and dog.
Laurie H
Laurie Hollinger
Creative Consultant
LinkedIn Profile
I have the pleasure of helping Animal Adventure’s PD and Marketing teams identify new opportunities to engage and excite consumers. I am passionate about trend, innovation, and the study of the consumer marketplace. Degrees in merchandising from the Fashion Institute of Technology and North Dakota State University prepped me for a retail buying career starting in New York City with buying positions for Saks Fifth Ave and Henri Bendel. Upon a move to MN, I worked within Target Corporation as a Sr. Buyer for the Department Store Division. A desire to be immersed in marketing, creative, and product development work led me to a Mosquito, a Minneapolis based product design studio. As the Director of Business Development, I led teams to concept, design, and manufacture original products for B2B marketing programs and retail sale. While in this role I had the opportunity to partner with Fortune 500 companies and category leading retailers such as Ulta, Sephora, and Nordstrom to help them achieve brand objectives and fill white space in their assortments. I love fact gathering, story-telling and being a driver in the ever-evolving retail industry. I value the collaboration of the Animal Adventure team, knowing that it takes many perspectives to turn big ideas into great programs. I have a heart for service that finds joy in investing in others. My motto is, “simple is best” as we strive to move quickly and stay relevant with today’s consumer.

Personal facts: When I’m not working, you will find me enjoying activities with our two sons, active on my church council or at my 2nd job as a roadie for my husband’s AC/DC tribute band. Rock-on!
Jeanne Fondell
Accounting Manager
LinkedIn Profile
I joined the Accounting team at Animal Adventure in the fall of 2017 and was promoted to the Accounting Manager position in March 2018. I graduated from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and went on to pursue my Master’s degree in Business Management from the University of St. Thomas.  I started my career in the international accounting arena, first with a company providing OEM-compatible imaging products and then most recently a railway maintenance services and manufacturing company until finally landing with Animal Adventure. I am excited to be a part of the Animal Adventure team.

Personal facts: When I am not working, I enjoy time with my husband and three beautiful daughters, I try to take a relaxing vacation by the ocean at least once a year, or I am planning my next travel adventure. You could also find me reading the latest novel or watching a good movie at home.

Kyle Frink
Director of design
LinkedIn Profile
I’ve been with Animal Adventure since 2008 and I am accountable for the creative interpretation and visual personality of all lines in the company’s product portfolio. In addition, I provide conceptual creative leadership in order to maintain company visual brand integrity. I graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD).

Personal facts: I’m married with a daughter and enjoy golf, woodworking and time with my family.

Gary Tuet
General Manager, Asia 
LinkedIn  Profile
I graduated from the University of Guelph, Canada with a major in marketing. I entered the soft toy manufacturing industry in 1997, specializing in production management, product development, and costing. My main role is to manage the entire Animal Adventure Asia office and the Hong Kong showroom, including the Operation team, Sales Support, QC/QA and Logistics.

Personal facts: I am married and enjoy coffee, visual art and technology products.
Ali Simonson
Director of Product Development
LinkedIn Profile
I joined the Animal Adventure team in 2008. My first role with the company was in Logistics as a Coordinator, providing me with in-depth exposure to our production pipeline and factory relationships. This job allowed me to build a strong foundation for an eventual move to Product Development in 2011. As a PD Specialist, I utilized my skills in organization and relationship management to balance the workload and needs of our internal Design and Sales teams with the timelines of our extensive factory network. My account base included Target, Walmart, Hershey and Mars as well as several of our key private label accounts. In 2016, I was promoted into the Assistant Department Manager role, giving me more exposure to the strategic objectives of our department. As the Director of Product Development, I am looking forward to further developing an amazing team, maximizing our departmental productivity, and helping to drive Animal Adventure towards continued success in the years to come.

Personal facts: When I am not working, you can find me hanging out with my husband and 2 daughters, running the lakes, or checking out the local brewery scene with friends.
Sarah Kennedy
Marketing Manager
LinkedIn Profile
I joined the Animal Adventure Marketing team in 2013 after graduating from the University of St. Mary’s. Since then, in my various roles, I have enjoyed collaborating with my colleagues on the conception and activation of innovative marketing solutions to position our unique brand of creative soft toys in the marketplace and drive our continued growth. In my role as Marketing Manager I leverage my strong conceptual ideation and graphic design skills - and my keen understanding for consumer motivations to help illuminate and guide the Marketing Department’s trade and promotional strategies. As the company continues to expand its global footprint, I look forward to working with the Animal Adventure team to cultivate a culture of innovation as a benchmark in all of our marketing products and programs.

Personal facts: I’m your quintessential dog mom, of which my camera roll can attest to. When I’m not completely doting on my canine companion, I can most likely be found paddle boarding on one of our many lakes or finding my beat on the city’s music scene.
Alice Song
Shenzhen Office Manager
LinkedIn Profile
I joined Animal Adventure in 2012, beginning my career as a merchandiser in the Shenzhen office. I help organize the SZ operation team and provide support to them as necessary. I coordinate customer requests with factories to achieve on time and high quality PO deliveries. I enjoy being a key link between the US and Shenzhen teams to smooth all communications.

Personal facts:  I have lovely twin boys and enjoy spending time with them. In my free time, I am taking law courses to improve my logical thinking.

Alec Geiser
Sales Operations Manager
LinkedIn Profile
I joined Animal Adventure in 2017 with the objective of developing processes and implementing systems that will elevate our sales process in order to become the most effective partner to our customers that we can be. I have worked in the retail industry for the past 7 years both where my main focus has been operational and analytic support for a diverse customer and client base in the Beauty, Grocery, Stationary, and Electronics retail spaces. I consider myself fortunate to have found a place at an organization that prides itself on quality, partnership and fun in everything that it produces.

Personal Facts: I graduated from Carleton College in 2008 and after a brief stint trying to change the world, I’ve settled down in Minneapolis where I spend my time rebuilding vintage motorcycles and tackling the “next project around the house.”

Tina Hu
Shipping Supervisor
LinkedIn Profile
I’ve worked in the areas of Supply Chain, Logistics and Business Development since 2001.  I have worked in the Shenzhen area, focusing North & South China export/import activities. I’m so glad to be working for Animal Adventure, bringing my experience in operations and technical skills to customers, whether worldwide supermarkets or famous trading companies. With valuable experience gained previously by working in a multinational company, I understand different cultures and diverse ways of thinking and problem solving. I’ve helped smooth the shipment processes during my time at Animal Adventure, working to find a solutions when any complications arise.

Personal facts:  I spend time reading and traveling. I graduated from Central South University, and I initially started my career in English.

Emily Moody
Director of Operations
LinkedIn Profile
I’ve been with Animal Adventure since 2008, beginning my career here after graduation from the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Technology. I get the best of all worlds overseeing AA’s fantastic supply chain teams: Purchasing, Logistics and Quality Assurance. I’m an expert in CPSIA requirements and played a key role in the opening of Animal Adventure’s Asia office. I enjoy working with China and maneuvering the challenges that arise from being a presence in the global marketplace.

Personal facts: In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and keeping up to date on the Twin Cities theater scene.

Kasie Gonczy
Assistant Director of Design
LinkedIn Profile
I joined the Animal Adventure Design team in 2012 and began my career here after graduating MCAD with a Bachelor’s Degree in illustration. In 2018 I became Assistant Director of Design. My tasks and responsibilities include helping manage and motivate the internal designers, as well as providing creative leadership and department support within the company. I enjoy taking on the many challenges that designing fantastic product entails, and seeing the final result of what hard work and pure talent can produce.

Personal facts: I enjoy camping and fishing during both the Summer and Winter seasons, and love to travel whenever free time allows.

Meet the Sales Team

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