Capitol Communicator is running “Up Close and Personal” profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this profile we feature Lance Rodgers. Photography for the series is by award-winning Cade Martin, wardrobe styling by Pascale Lemaire and Sybil Street for THE Artist Agency; and hair and makeup by Patti D Nelson, Janice Kinigopoulos and Lori Pressman for THE Artist Agency.
Lance, please provide us a short bio.
My career as a Creative Director is simply an extension of who I am as a person — a problem solver, designer, maker, empathizer and perpetual learner.
In my current role as Sr Creative Director at Capital One, I lead a team that creates highly effective customer engagements through various rapid prototyping and testing methodologies. This is the most amazing team I’ve had the pleasure of working with in my 33-year career. As a people manager, having the opportunity to help develop and harness the unique qualities of these performers has been a huge highlight of my time at Capital One. But of course, it’s a two-way street, as I’ve learned as much from my team as they’ve learned from me.
Prior to Capital One, I worked at various advertising and design agencies, where I learned the value of human-centered design and the power of integrated marketing and branding. During that time, my most memorable experience was working on a new business pitch team. Super high-pressure and long hours, but incredibly challenging, fulfilling experiences.
When I’m not working or spending time with my family, I can be found working on my own projects, which range from designing and building furniture; creating illustrations, photos and videos; building sculptures — with a keen interest in the kinetic variety — and improving my skills as a woodworker. I’m also a compulsive sketcher — no blank page or scrap of paper is safe when I have a pen in my hand.
Are you involved in any other organizations?
I have a lot of hands on my time which, unfortunately, doesn’t leave me a lot of time to devote to organizations outside of work and family. I do love to participate in volunteer opportunities whenever possible and I’m fortunate to work with an organization that values community and provides great opportunities to give back throughout the year.
What are the things you are most proud of?
On the personal side — Family. I have an amazing spouse who is also my best friend. Two incredible sons who are intelligent, talented, hard-working and just plain nice. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about I how lucky I am to be a part of such a wonderful family.
On a professional side, I’ve very proud of my team — and by team, I mean all the folks I work with day-to-day, not just the people I manage. They’re an amazing group of professionals who constantly challenge the status quo, both in the work and with each other, in an open, supportive and intelligent manner. The level of productivity, professionalism and support I’ve experienced on this team is unlike anything I’ve experienced prior and will certainly inform my approach to teamwork in the future.
Who are your personal role models?
I’ve been fortunate to have many, too many to list them all! But like so many others, my parents were influential role models in my life. They taught me the value of hard work, integrity and best of all, not to take things too seriously — life is just too short.
Did your role models offer professional advice that helped you in your career?
First and foremost, be loyal and true to yourself. Only then can you fully give to your vocation and others.
What professional advice do you have for others?
Clear intent is essential. Avoid going into design/solution mode until you have clearly defined what you’re trying to solve for, who you’re solving for, who the stakeholders are, what are the timelines, how will you define and measure success. Seems basic, but when I hear other creative colleagues talk about challenges, a large portion can be traced back to poor, misaligned intent.
Be nice. Be humble. But be firm in your values and convictions.
When you hire, don’t just hire talent to work in your company, whether you own it or not. Instead, strive to hire people you’d be willing to work for yourself — then be sure to get out of their way. If you surround yourself with amazing people and provide an environment where they can perform, you’ll find yourself in an endless state of growth.
It’s not about how good you are. It’s about how good you are at recovering from mistakes and failure. Devote a little time learning how to recover from failures and they become less of an impediment, and more of an opportunity for growth.
What’s on your Spotify and Pandora playlists?
I have a propensity for music with odd time signatures — music you could try to dance to, but it would probably result in injury. The first album I ever purchased was Permanent Waves by Rush. I’ve been a lifelong Rush fan ever since. A few other bands/musicians that loop high on my horizon these days include Porcupine Tree, King Crimson, Snarky Puppy, Yes, Vulfpeck, Peter Gabriel, The Pineapple Thief, Benny Greb, Steve Roach and Erik Wøllo, just to name a few.
What’s your favorite restaurant?
Whatever restaurant I’m currently eating at. I don’t like to cook!
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
I love to discover and follow great illustrators, photographers, sculptors, painters and crafters. I’m an Audiophile — Life without music is a world without color. I’m also a K9 fanatic. My current pal is a border collie terrier rescue named Linus, a very cool dog with a pretty big ego … and heart to match.