WiT mourns the loss of past president Joan Packard Luks

Published on: 7th September 2023

The former WiT president sadly passed away on Tuesday, September 5th, leaving behind a profound legacy in the world of toys and licensing.

It is with heavy hearts that Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WiT) announces the passing of beloved past president, Joan Packard Luks. The statement reads:

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 5th, 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 plush company, Gund. During her tenure there, Joan forged groundbreaking partnerships with industry giants such as Disney, Nickelodeon, Sesame Workshop, Warner Bros. and many 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 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, and says the organisation will honour her memory by continuing to support and empower women in the toy and licensing industry, just as Joan did throughout her extraordinary life.

A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, September 6th, from 2:15 to 3:00pm at Gutterman and Musicant Jewish Funeral Directors, 402 Park Street, Hackensack, NJ 07601.

For additional details and to share memories, click here.


The Sidemen co-create new card game Hit Send

The Late Late Toy Show showcases this year’s top toys

Did Black Friday boost retail footfall?

It’s the back of the net for Golden Bear’s Soccer Bot

Spin Master’s Unicorn Academy secures top spot on Netflix

Spring Fair announces major upgrade to show experiences

International pavilions well supported at Spielwarenmesse

Profits rise at Smyths Toys in Ireland

Canada’s Mastermind Toys under creditor protection

Master Replicas brings back Doctor Who statue line