While most of us consider a day at a theme park an exciting yet occasional treat, Laresa Thompson gets to wake up every day and head to Carowinds Park — and call it work! (If you can’t tell, we’re typing this with extreme jealousy!) Today she tells us what a typical day looks like for her at the park, the hardest part of her job and, of course, what her favorite ride is! We are thrilled to introduce you to today’s FACE of Charlotte, Laresa Thompson, Public Relations Manager of Carowinds.
How many years have you been with Carowinds, and what led you to this job?
Just over two years. While my previous positions in some of the top companies in the Carolinas groomed me and taught me a great deal, I was looking for a leading role filled with daily excitement and fun. I came across the Public Relations Manager position via LinkedIn in December 2014 and thought Can’t get more exciting than this! I applied, and well the rest is history!
What does a typical day look like for you?
No day is ever the same at the park — and that’s one of the things I love the most. I may be doing live shots with a television station at 5 a.m., riding a coaster at lunchtime or sampling our next favorite dish to hit the Carowinds menu! I love a good challenge, and this helps to keep me on my toes!
How about during the off-season?
There’s an off-season (LOL)? My job is to ensure Carowinds stays top of mind, whether it’s January or July. I am constantly thinking of ways to keep smiles on the faces of our guests and potential guests. That may be a visit with the PEANUTS gang to Levine Children’s Hospital, or working with a reporter to showcase our outstanding associates.
What’s the hardest part of the job?
Saying no. We receive hundreds of requests from local organizations asking Carowinds to be a part of their programs or to donate tickets. It truly breaks my heart not to be able to say yes to everyone. I’m thankful for the lives we’ve been able to touch for the more than 40 years we’ve been a part of the Charlotte area.
How about the best part of the job?
Bringing smiles to the faces of big kids and little kids alike.
What’s something people may not know about the park?
People aren’t fully aware just how much it takes to run the park. It’s like running a small town, if you will. You have lights, plumbing, electrical, etc., all of the things we need to live daily in our communities.
What’s your favorite ride in the park?
Moving outside the park, what’s your favorite thing about Charlotte?
The Queen City has an array of scrumptious food places. Whether it’s sushi, Southern cuisine, Italian or whatever your taste buds are craving, Charlotte has it! #foodie
What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
I love watching old shows like The Golden Girls, Andy Griffith and I Love Lucy.
How do you like to relax and unwind?
I do meditation and deep breathing techniques. Playing with my dogs, Kinsey (cockapoo) and Cooper (Shih Tzu), always makes me happy too! And if I’m at work, a quick walk around the park to watch families enjoying the Carowinds experience.
Best piece of advice?
Make sure you are balancing work and life. While work is important, your family and friends are the key to why you are who you are and where you are. Enjoy spending time with the people you love, and cherish the memories. And spoil yourself! You (we!) deserve it!
What are three things you can’t live without, excluding faith, family and friends?
The three W’s: wine, water and warm weather. [We’re right there with you, Laresa!]
Thank you, Laresa, for your time! You can check out more on all the fun Carowinds has to offer this season here. Thank you also to Piper Warlick of Piper Warlick Photography for such creative and fun pictures throughout the park.
To read about more inspiring women in Charlotte, check out our FACES archives.
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