It is with heavy hearts that Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment announces the passing of their beloved past president, Joan Packard Luks. Joan was a revered licensing executive, mentor to many, and an industry luminary. Her radiant spirit and warm demeanor made everyone who knew her feel like family. Joan passed away on Tuesday, September 5, 2023, leaving behind a profound legacy in the world of toys and licensing.
Throughout her impressive career, Joan dedicated herself to the world of licensing, becoming a longstanding member of Licensing International. In the 1990s, she made an indelible mark as the Director of Licensing at GUND, a plush company. During her tenure at GUND, Joan forged groundbreaking partnerships with industry giants such as Disney, Nickelodeon, Sesame Workshop, Warner Bros., and many others. Her strategic vision and commitment to excellence helped elevate GUND into a significant player in the industry, with a remarkable portfolio that included iconic properties like Winnie the Pooh, Sesame Street, Dragon Tales, Dora the Explorer, Beatrix Potter, Barney, Curious George, Pat the Bunny, Scooby Doo, Harry Potter, Olivia, and countless others.
For the past two decades, Joan led her own company, The Serenata Group, where she continued to shape the licensing landscape with creativity and dedication. She collaborated closely with her partner, David Wollos, for over 15 years at The ThinkTank Emporium, where they crafted strategies and partnerships for children’s intellectual property, licensing, and publishing projects.
Joan Packard Luks was not only a luminary in the licensing industry but also an integral part of the Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment community. Her unparalleled commitment to making WiT feel like a close-knit family welcomed everyone with open arms. Joan was a trailblazer in bringing forth the next generation of WiT leaders, investing tirelessly in the development and growth of women in our industry. She offered unwavering support, sage advice, invaluable guidance, and abundant opportunities to countless individuals. As a mentor to many and a friend to all, Joan’s impact on the WiT community was immeasurable, and her legacy will forever resonate in our hearts.
“Joan’s vibrancy, positivity, and warmth brightened the lives of everyone fortunate enough to know her,” said WiT President, Janice Ross. “Her contributions to our industry were matched only by her genuine kindness and unwavering dedication to uplifting others. Joan will be deeply missed but will remain forever in our hearts as a beacon of inspiration and a beloved friend.”
WiT extends its heartfelt condolences to Joan’s family, friends, and colleagues during this difficult time. They will honor her memory by continuing to support and empower women in our industry, just as she did throughout her extraordinary life.
A memorial service for Joan will be held Wednesday, September 6, 2023 from 2:15 PM to 3:00 PM at Gutterman and Musicant Jewish Funeral Directors, 402 Park Street, Hackensack, NJ 07601. For additional details and to share your memories, please click here.