New executive-in-residence says conversation is crucial in a digital world

Former marketing VP for Monopoly and Scrabble co-invented Coffee Talk, conversation in a bag

Published Sep. 21, 2011


Gary Carlin, Lynn University’s newest executive-in-residence in the College of International Communication, is self-proclaimed as wired.

“I love electronics,” said Carlin. “However, nothing replaces conversation. Young people can't break away from their phones or computers. They should force themselves to simply talk, face-to-face.”

Carlin boasts an impressive resume. As the vice president of marketing for Hasbro, Inc., Carlin managed brands – and their transition into the digital world – including Monopoly, Clue, Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble. He is currently a toy inventor, a landlord and a Lynn professor living in West Palm Beach. Prior to joining Lynn, Carlin was teaching marketing and entrepreneurship at Florida Atlantic University.

Carlin’s latest invention, Coffee Talk Game, attempts to bring people out from behind their computers. He co-invented the game with Richard C. Levy. Together they developed the name, game play, prototype and packaging. Then, they licensed the product to Pressman Toy Corporation to produce and distribute it. Coffee Talk sells for $15.99 and is available at, Toys "R" Us and specialty retailers throughout the U.S. Go to or to learn more.

Coffee_Talk“In our testing and early reviews of the game on, people are loving the fact that you play this game with other people – not a computer,” said Carlin. “It gets people laughing in groups and learning about each other in a way that can't be replaced by a digital device.”

Currently, Carlin teaches two courses at Lynn: Public Relations Strategy, and Advertising and Society. He uses Coffee Talk, and his corporate experiences, to help students understand the real world from creative and business perspectives. In addition, Carlin requires his students to interact face-to-face through discussions, group projects, team decisions and presentations.

“My classrooms are very interactive,” said Carlin. “I expect and require that students participate. In my opinion, these requirements are preparing them for careers in their fields.”

Read more about Coffee Talk in the September issue of Boca Raton Observer.

More on Carlin:

Carlin joined Lynn University’s College of International Communication as an executive-in-residence in the fall of 2011. Prior to Lynn, Carlin spent more than 30 years of his professional career inventing and marketing toys.

From 1990-1997, he served as the vice president of marketing for Hasbro, Inc., a worldwide toy and game manufacturer. While there, he developed successful marketing campaigns for existing and new products, spearheaded Hasbro’s entry into computer and Internet games. Carlin’s most recent invention is the Coffee Talk Game, available for purchase online, at Toys “R” Us and Carlin earned a B.A. in Marketing from the University of South Florida and an M.B.A from the University of Massachusetts.

Carlin can discuss the importance of conversation in today’s digital world and the role board games – both traditional and digital – play in American society, among other topics.