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Lisa Jones
Lisa Jones

Lisa Jones Journey to the Carolina Ballet

Sean Mitton, Canadian Expat Network
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A post secondary degree is a great investment in that it gives us options for future employment opportunities. Often times, those options may not always present themselves right away but in doing so, make for interesting journeys. That could be said for Lisa Jones, a University of Victoria alumnus who obtained a degree in Fine Arts. Today, Jones is the Executive Director of the Carolina Ballet in Raleigh, NC.

"Initially, there were options to get into acting or become a drama teacher. Two US based professors suggested theatre management as another option, which was the path I took. From there, it was on to Graduate School at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fl where I met my husband, who was in the costume design program," Jones states.

Her husband later transferred into Academics and the family relocated to Raleigh, NC where Jones found a position with the Carolina Ballet. "I really didn't learn about ballet until I had moved to the US. We didn't really have any companies perform in Prince George, BC, where I grew up. The Carolina Ballet was really a start up at that time. I was the 3rd employee hired and my focus was to research, market and brand our company. Our model was to have enough investment money for 1-2 years and build a quality product," Jones comments.

That seems to have worked out well for the Carolina Ballet and Jones, as 13 years later the company employs 75 people including 34 dancers from 11 countries. With 3,200 subscribers, they run an operating budget of $5.5 million. "North Carolina has been a very good market and we've tried to differentiate ourselves by offering more new shows each year. Presently, we have 8 different shows a year."

Jones didn't grow up thinking about living in the US and probably didn't think about being a hockey fan in the South either. "In '94, I was devastated when the Canucks lost in the Stanley Cup Final. I probably didn't get back into hockey until I arrived in Raleigh. Watching the Carolina Hurricanes win the cup in 2006 was an incredible experience."

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