Capitol Communicator; portrait; series;

Capitol Communicator is running a series featuring profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic.  In this “up close and personal” profile, we feature Ingrid Vax. Photography for the “up close and personal” series is by Cade Martin; wardrobe styling by Pascale Lemaire for THE Artist Agency; and hair and makeup by Patti D Nelson and Janice Kinigopoulos for THE Artist Agency.

Ingrid, please provide us a short bio.

I grew up in the Washington area.  After college in Virginia, I moved to Manhattan where I landed a job at a national advertising agency, working on the prestigious Volvo account.  With a name like Ingrid, they had to hire me, right?  I spent two years in the Big Apple and then came home, where I’ve spent more than 20 years working on both the agency and client sides of the business for national and regional brands.  It’s been a great ride.  Most of my responsibilities have centered on account management, new business development and agency operations.  Three years ago, I joined Spurrier Media Group — a national research and media firm with offices in Richmond and the Washington metropolitan area.  I work alongside founder and CEO Donna Spurrier and was recently promoted to president of the agency.

Are you involved in any other organizations?

I’m active on the boards of the American Marketing Association-DC Chapter and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation-Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Chapter.  I previously served on the board of the DC Ad Club.

What are the things you are most proud of?

Doing work that improves the lives of others is a true passion of mine.  I’ve always been fascinated with medicine and the health sciences, even thought about going to medical school a few times.  Luckily, I’ve been able to combine my loves of advertising and helping others throughout most of my career.

I loved working with Volvo because it was a car that was designed and built to save peoples’ lives.  Volunteering with JDRF is also rewarding because I’m helping them fund and find a cure for type 1 diabetes.  And the behavioral change and healthcare campaigns that we work on at Spurrier Media Group improve the lives of millions of people on a national scale – everyone from homeowners in high-risk flood zones to returning combat veterans with PTSD to senior citizens in need of medical insurance.

Who are your personal role models?

I am truly blessed.  I’ve met and worked with so many amazing people in my lifetime — people who are brilliant brand marketers; people who are recognized across the nation for their stellar creative abilities; people who quietly protect and defend our nation; people who have faced and overcome tremendous adversity; people whose ideas and talent save lives.  I’m inspired by all of them, and I’m honored to know them.  What they have in common is an inner strength, passion and tenacity that propels them to keep moving forward, no matter the obstacle, for the greater good.

Did your role models offer professional advice that helped you in your career?

Their advice was – and always has been – to be brave, take chances, and most importantly, do what you love.  I would offer the same advice to others.

What advice do you have on what’s appropriate attire for business?

Our team meets with clients, agency partners and media representatives on an ongoing basis every day.  We dress professionally, but comfortable, at the same time.

Where do you buy most of the business clothes you wear?

Ann Taylor.  Their classic style works for me whether I’m meeting clients in the nation’s capital, or at a creative agency in downtown Richmond, or a conference in the Big Apple.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Family lore has it that I’m distantly related to a seafaring Viking who lived between 800 AD and 1,000 AD.  If it’s true, perhaps that’s where I gained my love of the sea.  As a young woman, I worked on two extreme sailing regattas – first the Whitbred Round-the-World Race and then the Volvo Ocean Race –  and I loved every minute of it!   The whole idea of sailing around the globe in one of the fastest racing boats ever made was fascinating to me.  It still is!  I took sailing lessons in Annapolis a few years ago, and I try to get out on the water with friends as often as I can.  There is just something about the water that puts a huge smile on my face.  I suspect it always will!


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