Employee Spotlight: Meet “Shark Lady” Nancy Jones

Sometimes, it seems like your life just leads you a certain way, doesn’t it? For Nancy Jones, her adventurous life and love of water led her right to us – as the Assistant General Manager of our Goldfish Swim School in Dayton, Ohio – and it’s really no surprise.

A life of swimming; a love of the water

You never know how much of an impact the things you do as a child will have on your adult life! Nancy started swimming as a toddler, then competitively at the age of 8 and never looked back. She had a pool at home and her father ran a pool business, so you could say that Nancy came from an aquatic family.

And she loved the sport so much that competitive swimming began when Nancy was in high school and continued through college – where she attended St. Louis University, an NCAA Division I school.

“I got to swim at a lot of great colleges across the country,” Nancy said.

But Nancy’s love of the water extended far beyond simply swimming. While she was in college, Nancy worked managing pools in the area and even ended up running the university pool as a manager.

After college, Nancy worked for a director of the newscast at ABC News in St. Louis. Even though her day job left her landlocked, she still found herself gravitating towards the water when she wasn’t at work. Nancy taught swimming lessons to others.

She also got into scuba diving, which turned into becoming a scuba instructor.

Do what you love and you’ll never “work”

When she was 28, Nancy did what some of us only dream of: She moved to the Bahamas to teach scuba diving! The scuba diving morphed into training dolphins, and Nancy also became a “shark diver.”

“We would feed the sharks dead fish,” Nancy said. “Six to a dozen Caribbean reef sharks would come back get the fish, swim into the distance, then they’d come back and get another bite.”

Nancy played the role of “safety diver” as well, and she would hit sharks in the nose to keep them away from divers.

“That’s how I got the name Shark Lady,” Nancy said.

Nancy met tons of celebrities on her group scuba dives – including former Vice President Al Gore; Kevin Costner; numerous fashion models; Elijah Wood; a princess of Saudi Arabia; and Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich.

“He would come for shark dives and he would request me,” Nancy said.

Not only did her life in the Bahamas bring her fulfillment of her work dreams, but she also met her husband there! The couple eventually moved to the U.S. Virgin Island St. John, where both were scuba instructors. Nancy also became a sailboat captain during the nearly five years they lived there.

Back on dry land

After a couple hurricanes and the birth of their son, the duo decided to return to the U.S. and wound up in Missouri – where Nancy became the aquatics director at the local Y.M.C.A. After a job transfer to Dayton, Ohio, Nancy continued on with the aquatics life as director for several different clubs and teaching swimming lessons at local pools. She has also run numerous swim teams and was a swim team coach.

But then Nancy’s career brought her into marketing, where she was a facilitator for relationship education programs. The position was funded by a grant, so when that funding ended she had to opportunity to work for Goldfish Swim School!

“It was finally time to get my feet wet again,” said Nancy.

Jumping in at Goldfish Swim School

One day, Nancy was working out at a neighborhood gym with her friend and walked past a Goldfish Swim School. One thing led to another, and Nancy ended up working with us (and, coincidentally, so does her friend!).

“It was nice to get back to what I loved, my passion, which is teaching kids to be safer in and around the water,” Nancy said.

Plus, Nancy said the entire experience at Goldfish Swim School is encouraging and fulfilling for employees.

“It’s a great environment to have a successful, rewarding career,” Nancy said. “The people I work with are amazing, and the corporate people are out of this world, getting us to train and up and running. The people we’re able to hire are amazing. They’re so good with kids. I can’t brag enough about the team we have!”

But as someone who has a real passion for swimming and all that it entails, Nancy was really impressed with the way Goldfish Swim School incorporates water safety into each and every lesson.

“I love that safety is always first, that it’s the number one priority,” Nancy said. “That’s not always seen in a lot of aquatic environments.”

And Nancy values safety not only for every child learning to swim, but from a personal standpoint as well.

“Being a grandma now, it’s more important to me to be able have something like this to bring my grandchild to, to learn how to swim,” Nancy said.

You’ll LOVE Goldfish Swim School, too!

Stop in a Goldfish Swim School location near you and you’ll discover our WOW! customer service, and how our instructors always use integrity, compassion and trust to help deliver extraordinary results so everyone can celebrate their GOLDEN experience!

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