Meet the QLD Mentors
Lisa Summer-Hayes

Lisa Summer-Hayes

Lisa Summer-Hayes

Director, Audiences and Visitor Experience, Queensland Ballet

Currently steering the ship as Director of Audiences and Visitor Experience at Queensland Ballet, Lisa's journey has taken her to the UK and back, etching a career spanning the higher education sector, government, an early childhood not-for-profit, to the Arts. She’s launched products with Australia Post; reduced school absenteeism across one of London’s most diverse boroughs; reimagined university student experiences; led the rollout of the biggest shift in childcare funding in over a decade; and grown ballet audiences whilst the world was in recovery mode from the global pandemic. A master of multi-tasking and squeezing every inch out of her day, Lisa wrangles a young family, whilst working full-time in a demanding but highly rewarding role. She thrives on fostering great relationships in and outside of the workplace and is always up for thrashing out ideas over lunch. Lisa believes that mentorship isn't just about imparting knowledge; it's about listening and learning, nurturing talent, fostering growth, and making the journey as fun as it is rewarding.

Career & Background

What inspired you to do what you are doing now?

Nothing. My career is a by-product of broader life choices.

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

Out of uni, I planned on moving to London to become a fashion journalist. Life got in the way of that dream for a few years, and when I finally made the move, I found that unless I was willing to work for free for months on end, it was an unlikely path. So I kind of fell into general Marketing/Comms roles, as my skillset was pretty broad and I enjoy solving problems with data, insight and creativity. Living in the UK for eight years was enormously rewarding, and I gained some great experience leading teams in large organisations across the education and government sectors.

I’ve spent the past decade in the not-for-profit and Arts sectors, which were two rather accidental pivots. I absolutely love my current role at Queensland Ballet. It’s an ambitious company, operating within a pretty tough fiscal environment, but the work is varied and the team around me are incredible. It’s been almost five years, but as the company continues to push upwards and forward, there’s plenty more to do. I would like to return to more study in the future – possibly in the areas of behavioural economics or data science.

Your favourite food for thought


Surrounded by Idiots – Thomas Erikson
Not a book, but I love the ‘Lives’ stories published by the New York Times.

Haven’t go a third. Sorry!

Podcasts / Thought Leaders

Desert Island Discs (BBC) – I love learning about people’s lives and the music that has soundtracked their journey
BBC World Service – I listen to this in the car on my commute every day.
The Nutrition Science Podcast Dr. Adrian Chavez

What drives and inspires you

What are your core values?

  • Integrity
  • Kindness
  • Leadership

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

I wouldn’t say I had one growing up or professionally. I guess my parents have instilled in me a great work ethic, and fostered my resilience and independence from a young age. That’s definitely put me in good stead for life’s challenges. Nowadays, my children are my inspiration. They have taught me so many lessons in patience, empathy and kindness.

You as a Mentor

Why have you decided to become a mentor?

I had a great experience in 2022 as an Assisterhood mentor, so am back for a second round. For me, this program has mutual benefit and I know I will learn a lot about myself and grow across the course of the program, as I hope my mentee will too.

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

  • Great listener
  • Knowledgeable
  • Open

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!