Capitol Communicator is running “Up Close and Personal” profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this profile, we feature JP LaFors. Photography for the series is by award-winning Cade Martin. Wardrobe, hair and makeup by Michelle Torres.
JP, please provide us a short bio.
I’m part of a growing agency services team at EAB. EAB is a Richmond- and D.C.-based firm partnering with the most progressive colleges, universities and graduate programs in the country. We’re making education smarter and our communities stronger every day.
Over my 25-year career I’ve been fortunate to be a part of marketing campaigns for UPS, Wells Fargo, Bon Secours Health System, HBO, The Denver Broncos and many more.
I started my career as a marketing intern at Madison Square Garden and have since worked at agencies big and small, including what is now FCB New York, global B2B leader gyro, and here in Richmond at The Martin Agency and ndp, which acquired Free Agents Marketing for which I was the COO and handled strategic planning duties.
I love building communication strategy for brands and extending creative ideas into digital and multi-channel campaigns.
Are you involved in any other organizations?
For the past six years I’ve held a number board and committee roles at ChamberRVA, a non-profit organization dedicated to the greater Richmond region that provides a strong voice for the business community and develops leaders and entrepreneurs. ChamberRVA is a productive and fun group I’ve been proud to serve and be a part of.
What are the things you are most proud of?
Professionally, being asked to the stage with my colleagues to accept the Impact Award was pretty special. The award recognized Free Agents Marketing because we had made a significant impact on our employees, community and industry. To me, it demonstrated that meaningful work can produce meaningful results for both brands and the people behind them.
Personally, I’m most proud of getting up the courage to ask my wife Laura to join me on this life journey. We are a formidable mixed doubles tennis team and have two amazing children, Claire and Cole.
Who are your personal role models?
I’m most inspired by creators—those who generate brilliant ideas from consumer insights.
Did your role models offer professional advice that helped you in your career?
I admire Ken Wayland who centers his life around five things: family, friends, faith, fitness and fun. Focusing on these things in life makes all the sense to me. Admittedly, it’s not always easy finding balance working in a deadline-driven service industry, but it’s some of the best advice out there for anyone.
What professional advice do you have for others?
Love the journey, not just the destination.
Other advice? My high school soccer coach often repeated, “preparing to win always beats the will to win.” Putting in the time matters, as does being a committed team member.
What’s on your Spotify and Pandora playlists?
I doubt anyone remembers Metallica’s Ride the Lightning album. Throw in some Bruce Springsteen and Death Cab for Cutie and you’d sufficiently be tortured by my all-over-the-place Pandora account.
What’s your favorite restaurant?
One of my first agency jobs out of college was to do market research for the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont. We got paid for our work with amazing cuisine! Nowadays, I’m all about legit BBQ and thankfully Richmond has a number of go-to places. I’m still a Buz & Ned’s fan.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
I’ve loved skiing all over the United States and Canada on family trips since being a kid. There’s a lot to like when you’re hanging out on a lift and the slopes with family and friends.