Meet the Assisters
Lisa Summer-Hayes

Lisa Summer-Hayes

Lisa Summer-Hayes

Head of Marketing and Audience Development, Queensland Ballet

Lisa is a lively marketing leader who enjoys the immersive nature of client-side roles. Her extensive experience leading teams in the education and not-for-profit space, in Australia and the UK, has given Lisa a strong sense of purpose. Her strength is navigating complex organisations, using insights and intuition to achieve growth whilst building up internal marketing capability.

Career & Background

What inspired you to do what you are doing now?

I’m not sure I was necessarily ‘inspired’ to be in this area of work. I’ve always been a very logical thinker but am drawn to the creativity of others. I wanted to be an architect, but had a very average work experience stint that really put me off it.  I think marketing is the perfect intersection between logic and creativity. 

What was your journey and where are you headed in your career right now?

My journey has very much been a kind of meander. After realising I didn’t want to pursue architecture, I studied Journalism and Media Communications at UQ. I wasn’t a very dedicated student, but I loved the freedom and independence of university life. I had loose ambitions of moving to London to become a fashion journalist, but didn’t do much to actively pursue that path. 

After a short spell in their call centre, I sort of fell into a B2B marketing role with Australia Post. After four years there, I got itchy feet and took off to Europe in my mid-20s, eventually settling in London. 

I considered rekindling my fashion journalist fantasy, but the need for a steady income soon quashed that daydream and I got a MarComms role with a local council in one of London’s most diverse communities, covering:  education, social care, youth services, and early years. It was eye-opening, professionally, but mainly just seeing the depths of vulnerability in one of the world’s biggest cities. I saw education as a way out for many vulnerable young people, so set about pursuing further work within the education sector. I stayed in London for almost eight years, working across the education sector, in colleges and a university.

I eventually moved back to Australia to start a family. I’ve been back just over 10 years now, with two children in tow. Prior to my current role with Queensland Ballet, I was the National Marketing Manager for Australia’s largest not-for-profit early learning provider, Goodstart.  

I honestly don’t know where my career is heading now. Moving into the Arts sector just before COVID has had its challenges, but I love my current role and the entrepreneurial spirit of Queensland Ballet. I’d quite like to return to the books and study behavioural economics.

Your favourite food for thought


The New York Times Best Essays – Submitted each year by high school seniors, these short reads are equal parts inspiring and heartbreaking, covering topics of money, work and social class. 

Martin Buber – I and Thou. Seminal text about the human condition and very relevant in the context of our digital/ remote existence.

Podcasts / Thought Leaders

Desert Island Disks – One of the longest running BBC radio programs. Each instalment provides an incredible insight into the weekly guests’ life, through interview and their seven music selections. I love stories and personal history. This is a perfectly intimate peek into someone’s life. Fascinating stuff. 

What drives and inspires you

What are your core values?

  • Authenticity
  • Empathy
  • Tenacity
  • Humour

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

My 8yo son is my biggest inspiration. He was diagnosed with hearing loss at birth and has worn hearing aids since he was a toddler. His resilience and full-throttle approach to life is insane. He is by far the best teacher I’ve ever had. 

You as a Mentor

Why have you decided to become a mentor?

I never had a great mentor in my early career, so I love this program and the opportunity it presents to both parties. I’d love to support someone to navigate their career trajectory, whilst also gaining an insight to the forces at play for 20-somethings navigating their early career today.

What are the top 5 skills or qualities you bring to mentoring?

  • Honest
  • Collaborative 
  • Respectful 
  • Fun

brisbane mentorship program

Ready to be a part of Assisterhood as a Mentee?

We are now up and running in QLD and VIC – and we’re only just getting started! Let’s shoot for the stars – together!