[Austin, TX] – Ballet Austin Executive Director Cookie Ruiz, C.F.R.E., today announced that Julie Loignon, who has served as a member of the Ballet Austin board of directors since May 2013, will join the nationally acclaimed nonprofit organization as director of marketing and communications effective July 14, 2014. Loignon will report directly to Ruiz.
Loignon will oversee Ballet Austin’s brand development and marketing, traditional and social media communications, advertising and media buying, website and graphic design, promotions and sponsorship fulfillment. Loignon’s team will also assist efforts to explore additional licensing opportunities for Ballet Austin’s original productions, while archiving and preserving the original work of Artistic Director and producing choreographer Stephen Mills for generations to come.
Executive Director Cookie Ruiz said, “We look forward to having Julie join the Ballet Austin team. Her depth of professional experience, paired with her leadership skills, make her a valued addition to our senior staff. As a company with local, national and international interests, Julie brings both a proven track record in the area of marketing/communications and a keen sense of innovation that is the foundation of our organizational culture.”
“I am honored to join such a distinguished organization and a management team working tirelessly to raise Ballet Austin’s profile on both a national and international level,” Loignon said. “Ballet Austin is as authentic and innovative as the city it calls home, and Austin is truly blessed to have an internationally acclaimed ballet company as one of the leaders in its arts community. Ballet Austin is also a center for wellness in Central Texas, offering a variety of dance and fitness programming to benefit the body, mind and spirit. I look forward to working with Cookie Ruiz, Stephen Mills and the entire Ballet Austin family to showcase this remarkable organization and extend its brand to audiences around the world.”
Loignon most recently served as vice president of public and media relations for Circuit of The Americas (COTA), and was part of the original management team that completed and opened the $400-million, state-of-the-art sports and entertainment complex in Austin just in time for the circuit’s first FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX (F1 USGP). Loignon served as national press officer for the F1 USGP and directed the public relations campaign leading up to the grand opening of the facility and its inaugural F1™ event in November 2012, generating $191 million in earned media internationally and earning the circuit SportsBusiness Journal/Daily’s “Sports Event of the Year” for 2013 award. To date, global media coverage of the circuit’s first two F1 races has generated exposure worth $376 million for its host city of Austin, Texas, according to research by F1 industry monitor Formulamoney.
At COTA, Loignon also served as national press officer for MotoGP’s Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas and the Lone Star Le Mans, featuring the FIA World Endurance Championships and the TUDOR United SportsCar Series. She recently managed COTA’s regional publicity and media relations efforts for X Games Austin, which debuted at the multi-purpose facility in June 2014. Additionally, Loignon’s team provided media services for COTA’s award-winning Austin360 Amphitheater, which was named “Best New Major Concert Venue” for 2013 by Pollstar Magazine.
Loignon joined the COTA team in March 2012 after serving as vice president of corporate communications for Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) (NASDAQ: CHDN), the parent company of the legendary Churchill Downs Racetrack and its signature race, the Kentucky Derby. In her previous role, Loignon managed strategic, financial and crisis communications, media relations and employee communications for CDI while providing communications counsel, training and support for the company’s stable of horse racing, online- and casino-gaming businesses. For a number of years, Loignon oversaw media relations and operations surrounding the Kentucky Derby® and Kentucky Oaks®, which annually attract more than 250,000 guests and approximately 1,500 accredited journalists to horse racing’s premier North American event.
Additionally, Loignon was a founding member of CDI’s brand development and marketing team, formed to develop new innovations and revenue opportunities around Churchill Downs’ marquee racing events. As vice president of brand development and marketing, Loignon oversaw the Kentucky Derby Red Carpet program and celebrity hospitality, the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks event websites and the Derby Nation social media network. She was also the architect of the Kentucky Oaks “Ladies First” marketing campaign, featuring the Kentucky Oaks “Pink Out,” and served as liaison with NBC Universal in developing content and marketing promotions for the Kentucky Derby telecast on NBC, the Kentucky Oaks telecast on Bravo (2009), and the Road to the Kentucky Derby television series, which aired on USA and NBC in 2010.
Loignon started her career as a broadcast journalist, working as a television anchor, reporter and producer at WHAS-TV (ABC) in Louisville, Ky., and at WANE-TV (CBS) in her hometown of Fort Wayne, Ind. She graduated magna cum lauda with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind.