Capitol Communicator is running a series featuring in-depth profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this “Up Close and Personal” profile, we feature Cinzia Gavelan-Vargas. Photography for Capitol Communicator’s profile series is by Cade Martin. Wardrobe styling by Pascale Lemaire for THE Artist Agency; and hair and makeup was by Patti D Nelson and Janice Kinigopoulos for THE Artist Agency.
Cinzia, please provide us a short bio.
I’m originally from Peru, where I lived for most of my childhood until we moved to the states at the age of 12. I pretty much grew up in Maryland, where I attended the same high school as my now husband, and stay relatively local while pursuing a career in graphic design at American University. I’m currently an Associate Creative Director at HZDG, a fully integrated agency, where I’ve been for about eight years. I landed at HZ shortly after leaving AOL, my first job out of school, and worked my way up the ranks in a company that has now more than doubled in size. In a weird way, we’re both growing together, and that’s pretty awesome.
Are you involved in any other organizations?
Do my kid’s activities count? (Just kidding). The short answer is no, but I really should! Unfortunately, being a mother of three children – 8 yr, 4 yr and 5 months – while working full time at an agency doesn’t leave much time for anything else other than to eat and sleep. Fortunately, I get to do work for nonprofits through my work and I donate frequently to organizations that align with my beliefs on social issues.
What are the things you are most proud of?
First and foremost, I’m proud of my family. My husband and I practically grew up together, we’ve worked hard and supported one another in our professional growth and now we’re raising three beautiful kids into better versions of ourselves. It’s design and iteration at its best! Secondly, I’m really proud of the work I’ve done at HZ over the years. Knowing that my hard work has in one way or another helped contribute to the immense growth of the company is extremely rewarding, and I know many other HZers who feel the same way.
Who are your personal role models?
Personally, my number-one role model is my mother. She’s a strong, smart woman who managed to raise three children practically on her own, and who never once complained about her circumstances. She raised me and my sister to be strong, independent women and made many sacrifices to give her children the opportunities she never had. My mother is my heart.
Professionally, I’ve had a few creative directors who have mentored me along the way. I’ve learned different lessons from each and every one of them, even when they didn’t know they were teaching me.
Did your role models offer professional advice that helped you in your career?
Yes, when I was a junior designer, one of my creative directors at the time told me “you don’t want to be a 50-year-old web designer.” What he meant was, at some point you need to become the one that leads design projects, and in order to get there, you must learn to present and sell your ideas and creative work.
What professional advice do you have for others?
Learn from everyone you work with: the good to emulate and the bad to avoid. Never stop learning. Also, hard work produces results, always. Most importantly, it will gain you the respect and appreciation of your peers.
What’s on your Spotify or Pandora playlists?
My playlists are the most random compilation of music there is. On any day I would listen to anything from Beyonce’s Lemonade, to EDM, to KPOP. It seriously depends on my mood. Lately, however, I’ve been listening to classical music while working and it has proved to improve my focus and productivity.
What’s your favorite restaurant?
This little Peruvian restaurant called La Limeña on Rockville Pike.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
I love traveling, and make it a point to visit a new country at least every two years. I think experiencing other places, people and cultures outside of the US gives you a different perspective on life and helps shape your views. Also, I absolutely love a good sense of humor, and I’m lucky to be surrounded by really funny people, at home and at work.