Wednesday, 05 October 2016 11:58

New program manager at Lyric Theatre brings a wealth of experience to position

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The Lyric Theatre’s new program manager brings a wealth of experience as an entrepreneur and business owner to her role.

Corla Rokochy started her new job at Swift Current’s historic theatre in early September.
“There are lots to learn, but it’s been really exciting and everybody is very helpful and it’s very interesting,” she said. “It’s a busy place with lots of people coming and going, and so many exciting events. It’s easy to get excited to get up and come to work.”
Her appointment to the position happened after she initially applied for a different position at the Lyric Theatre. She felt the position of front of house assistant will fit in with her schedule as a substitute teacher.
“I would teach during the day and then work events or be involved, because every event that I’ve ever come to at the Lyric, I’ve always had a great time and thought that it was really well organized and great people here,” she said. “So I wanted to become involved in a part of that, and then when I applied for that position they let me know that the program manager position was available.”
The full-time program manager position became vacant after Paula McGuigan, who has been in that role since March 2015, decided to focus on her musical career.
Rokochy felt it was a good opportunity at the right time to move into a full-time job. She is a mother of five children who has been working from home, but they have now reached an age where she can focus more on a career.
“My kids are now all full-time in school, the youngest is starting Grade 3 and the oldest is 20,” she said. “It was time that I could make a change from working for myself and having more stable hours and one employer as opposed to doing sort of seven different part-time jobs.”
She has been the owner of Lasting Impressions Photography, since 1994, that allowed her to work from home. Her interest in visual arts therefore complements her new role at the Lyric Theatre.
“I’m very interested in photography and visual arts and it’s a different side of things coming here and seeing all the talent on stage,” she said. “For me to have a full-time position, I really wanted to make sure it was being around creative people and I just really felt that this would be a place that would be very inspiring and not just your regular office job.”
The Rokochy family has been living in Swift Current for 13 years. They previously lived in Gravelbourg, where she was a teacher.
“I started doing photography so that I could stay home and raise my kids,” she said. “It allowed me to do that for 20 years. ... It wasn’t only until about three or four years ago that photography started slowing down, so I started substitute teaching.”
She will continue to take on photography assignments while working at the Lyric Theatre.
“My photography has always been mostly evenings and weekends, so it really was a good combination with my husband working full-time in a bank” she said. “I still have weddings booked and things like that, but I’m finding that it’s not enough to keep me busy all year long.”
As part of her photography business she has also organized the annual Lasting Impressions Wedding Show in Swift Current.
“I’ve done it for 10 years and I have such great vendors,” she said. “It’s just a one-day event, so I may continue to run that one also.”
Rokochy’s name might be familiar to many people because of her successful appearance on the hit television show Dragon’s Den, where she landed a deal for her business Snappy Socks.
“I have lots of ideas and I kind of follow my dreams, and so that was definitely an adventure and something that was very interesting and exciting,” she said.
She has already decided last year to sell that business and not to pursue it anymore, but it was an inspiring experience. Dragon’s Den panelist Brett Wilson’s commitment to give back to the community has left a lasting impression on her. She went to Mexico to built homes for the homeless with Wilson’s company, she judged the Dragon’s Den style competition at the Great Plains College and she spoke to different organizations to inspire people to follow their dreams.
She is continuing to follow her dreams in her new position at the Lyric Theatre. She has already been impressed by the commitment of the people who are involved with the theatre, where a new fundraising campaign will be starting for the ongoing building renovations.
“I’ve already seen what a great organization it is and the board is a working board,” she said. “I’m still learning my role in things because everyone on the board takes on different facets of the fundraising and the grant writing and the sponsorship. So I’ve just been inspired and amazed by the work of the volunteers and what they’ve accomplished so far. ... I’m really looking forward to the next stage and the developments that are coming along and lending my hand to whatever I can do to help, but I think they are doing very well and it’s a great organization.”

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Matthew Liebenberg


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