April 19, 2017

Alumni Spotlight: Lisa Stone BA'09 (Communications)

Arts alumni are an accomplished crew. They have great advice for students and fellow graduates, and know that arts degrees teach skills that are sought-after in the professional environment.
Arts Alumn Lisa Stone Kontakt poses in her office at Edelman, a global communications marketing agency
Arts Alumn Lisa Stone Kontakt poses in her office at Edelman, a global communications marketing agen

Lisa Stone is an Account Director at Edelman, a global communications marketing agency, working in their Frankfurt, Germany office. She help clients – some of the world’s largest healthcare companies – develop their brand story and identify ways to establish meaningful relationships with the communities and people they serve. 

What is your favourite University of Calgary memory?

I wrapped up my post-secondary days in Spain with Dawn Johnston and Lisa Stowe exploring food culture and globalization. Because we were able to take in the curriculum and culture first-hand, the content really stuck with me. While I had traveled before, I would have to credit this trip for lighting the fire in me to explore international career opportunities. The world seemed so much bigger to me after that. Unsurprisingly, I would absolutely recommend to anyone that they participate in a travel study program.

What was your favourite campus hang out spot?

I loved grabbing a Starbucks in the University Bookstore and pouring over General Studies text books.  

If you could give one piece of advice to a student completing the same degree that you did, what would it be?

I once heard Deborah Yedlin, a Calgary Herald reporter describe a BA as a “Be Anything” degree. I loved that, and moreover, I believe it to be true. From studying Greek mythology to eating the best falafel of my life in Spain, to dissecting the culture of pornography and unpacking mass media and communications in Canada – I felt I had left no stone unturned. I would say, be open to new possibilities and if you come to a fork in the road, take the path that seems less obvious, but potentially more interesting.  If you get through your undergrad feeling engaged and challenged, you’ve doing everything right. 

How has your career evolved?

When I first started working in an agency in Calgary, my role was fairly media relations-centric. I was writing press releases, cold calling assignment editors and accompanying spokespeople to interviews. Today – aside from now living and working in Germany –  I am much more focused on strategy and insight-driven, channel-agnostic storytelling. I counsel my clients and help them to define communications strategies that help solve their business challenges; focus on harnessing standout creative that speaks for itself; and, roll out integrated campaigns across multiple markets. I think the gradual shift in my career has been both a reflection of how increasing seniority changes your responsibilities, but also the catatonic shifts we are experiencing in the media landscape and what that means for brands that, more than ever, need to be part of our communities. 

What is the best thing about your job?

Two years ago, I relocated from Edelman’s Calgary office to Frankfurt to join a team focused on supporting multi-national clients. I’m really enjoying the global nature of my role here, which allows me to work with colleagues from London, to Sydney to Singapore and Stockholm, and that the work I do for my clients needs to be adapted and localized for the many markets where they have a presence. Learning about the cultural nuances has given me so much perspective, both professionally and personally. 

How did your arts degree help you get to where you are now/your current career?

For me, the skills and knowledge I took from my arts degree – the power of storytelling – translated into a curiosity, critical eye and keen instinct for insight-based work have helped me get to where I am today.