In February 2018, Jo Lynne Jones was named the John Kirkpatrick Executive Director of the Oklahoma City Ballet. In her role, Jones handles everything from financial accountability to administrative management and board engagement. Prior to joining the Ballet, Jones spent nearly two decades with Infant Crisis Services, and before that, she had a successful broadcast journalism career with KWTV and OETA. Jones spends her off-hours giving back; she is a board member for Brave Woman, a national organization giving voice to domestic abuse survivors, and was also the past president of the Oklahoma chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Oklahoma County Bar Auxiliary. We caught up with Jones and got her thoughts on … 

… her typical day.

My responsibilities entail just about everything other than ballet. I oversee the business side, such as fundraising, ticket sales, marketing, staffing, facilities and the like. But when I’m tired of meetings or spreadsheets, I have the pleasure of popping into a studio to watch a rehearsal. 

… what drew her to the ballet.

One of my first volunteer positions as a young professional was serving on a fundraising committee for the Ballet. Returning 30 years later as the executive director is a dream come true. It is an absolute privilege to help lead this 50-year-old institution.

… community service.

I am deeply passionate about the nonprofit sector in Oklahoma and the important role nonprofits play in our community. I particularly gravitate to missions that support children. That is why I love our community engagement programs at OKC Ballet, which expose children to the joy of dance.

… her previous career in broadcast journalism.

Working in television teaches you to be a good storyteller. You only have a minute or two to tell a news story. It works the same way at a nonprofit, whether giving a speech or meeting with someone one-on-one, you have to clearly, and sometimes quickly, communicate your mission.

… her favorite
memories thus far.

After canceling our March and April 2020 performances due to the pandemic, we planned an October outdoor performance at the newly-opened Scissortail Park in Oklahoma City. We had no idea how many people would attend the free performance, but I would have been happy with 500. That evening, some 3,500 people showed up for Ballet Under the Stars. I was in awe and won’t soon forget how exciting that evening was for our company.

… her objectives going forward.

My goal is to see audiences return to the theater. Oklahoma City Ballet has emerged from the pandemic in relatively good shape given the financial hardships that all performing arts endured, but we are all ready for audiences to see our work again. 

… what she’s looking forward to.

Summertime at the Ballet is energizing. More than 100 students from across the country attend our 6-week long summer intensive. It is great to see our beautiful and iconic building filled with tomorrow’s professional ballet dancers. 

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