Wonya Lucas

Lifelong lessons of Calmness, Grace, and Focus

First Female CEO of Crown Media, Wonya Lucas, is committed to evolving Hallmark's iconic and beloved brand.

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Bridget Baker
Bruce Taub
41
/
3
5 Minutes

03.26.2021

The daughter of Major League Baseball's first Black GM (Atlanta Braves) and the niece of the late Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, Wonya Lucas steps into the role of CEO at Crown Media with a lifelong affinity for the brand and a deep understanding of diverse representation.  

Tell me about the journey that got you here

My journey has been a long and winding road!  Getting into this business was not easy for me, but after a year and a half of trying and 37 interviews later, I cut my salary in half and accepted an offer as a Marketing Manager at Turner Broadcasting.  I was never happier and never looked back.

To what do you attribute your success?

Throughout my career, I often took on the difficult assignments or projects that gave me exposure to senior management and insight into business strategies.  I believe the combination of my analytical skills as a process engineer and brand marketing skills I learned at Clorox and Coke and across iconic media brands, have been fundamental to my understanding of successful brand building.  Ultimately, identifying and developing top talent has also contributed.  I try to work with people whom I admire and from whom I can learn.  Of course, I was fortunate to have role models in my family who inspired and guided me.

What makes your cable networks unique?

One major point of distinction for Crown Media is that we are founded in the100+-year legacy of the Hallmark brand.  This is a unique advantage of very few cable networks.  As a brand person, I see the value of leaning into the power, recognition, and associations of Hallmark in our storytelling.  All you have to do is walk into a Hallmark store and you see positivity, and stories, and seasons, and traditions not to mention an incredibly diverse footprint from their Mahogany cards to the humor of the Shoebox line, to their LGBTQ line.  We have a unique opportunity to leverage all of this in a way that strengthens our entertainment content.  

How do you approach leadership?

For me, leadership is steeped in trusting and caring for the individuals who make up your workforce.  I believe, first and foremost, in assembling a great team with diverse perspectives and different talents and letting them do their jobs.  Kindness, respect, compassion, and empathy are critical.  There are, of course, those times when you have to make tough decisions or say things that some may not want to hear -- it’s all about how these things are communicated.  Lastly, coming from a sports family, I am fiercely competitive, and always strive to get a win for the team.   

Tell me about where you grew up and what your family life was like.

Growing up in the South, I had a front row seat to inequality and how to rise above it.  My parents were first generation college grads who rose beyond their humble circumstances to achieve firsts in sports and business.  My father was the first Black GM in baseball, and after teaching for 30 years, my mother was one of the first Black women to serve on a media corporate board.  They both demonstrated an unapologetic and dignified approach to having a seat at the table, and this has been a model for me.

ON POINT

Representing different types of people and going beyond gender and fully dimensionalizing people is really important.

Crown Media Family Networks embraces diversity as an integral part of their corporate culture.  The company is committed to maintaining an open, respectful environment that celebrates inclusion and empowers all employees to share their ideas and make meaningful contributions to the company’s success.  Their mission to cultivate a workplace that represents a range of cultural backgrounds, ethnicities, and voices is central to their values and essential to the company’s strength, innovation, and creative excellence.