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How Hallmark’s New CEO Is Harnessing the Iconic Brand to Better Reflect Society

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Wonya Lucas, who joined in August, wants to mirror Hallmark’s successful greeting card brands as she strives to fully embrace inclusiveness and culture.
Vonya Lucas knows how important it is to improve Hallmark’s diversity and inclusion track record.

The daughter of the first Black GM (for the Atlanta Braves) of Major League Baseball and the family’s late and legendary Hall of Fame Hank Aaron, niece to Lucas – like his father and uncle before he rose to the top as death threats her profession.

When she became the GM for the Weather Channel after being threatened, Lucas took a page from her uncle’s playbook and instead focused on the task at hand. Since joining Hallmark last August as CEO, the former TV One exec and CNN brand manager has been focused on making his new media brand inclusive as a greeting card for his parent company.

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“I live in a white neighborhood, where I’m racially profiled,” Lucas told the Hollywood Reporter via Zoom Friday from his Atlanta home after making a virtual debut in front of members of the Television Critics Association. “I live a life that reflects so many different communities.

I can authentically say that I represent those communities, because I know, not just I know, I really know what it is like, however you define it. ”

Lucas took over the Hallmark Channel from Bill Abbott, who was ousted in January 2020 after a particularly large-scale holiday season that saw the basic cable network run a commercial featuring same-sex couples Was removed and eventually apologized for his decision.

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In his first comprehensive interview, Lucas spoke to the Hollywood Reporter about Hallmark’s diversity and his strategy for improving the represented track record, competing with free-spending competitors for holiday programming and a direct-to-consumer plan for a streaming service.

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