A self-described free spirit with a “rebel heart,” Brittany Lippert’s career plans were never set in stone. She knew one thing for certain, however — the 9-to-5 world wasn’t for her.

“I’ve always had this part of me that doesn’t love status quo,” Lippert said. “I feel like a lot of people are trying to hold on to that corporate mentality of ‘9 to 5, in your seats,’ but there’s kind of a shift happening… especially in the United States. There have been so many studies about the creativity that can flow from just changing up your environment.”

Lippert, 31, did just that when she joined advertising agency Vladimir Jones as a traffic coordinator in 2014. Without any agency experience, Lippert rose to account coordinator, assistant account executive and account executive before being promoted to senior account executive in February. Her accounts include the Telluride Tourism Bureau, the U.S. Olympic Museum and the Colorado Department of Transportation.

“I think I was scared to death to attempt to go into this department,” Lippert said. “I’m a little bit more of a free spirit, and it seemed like most people in this position were more rigid… [but] I gave it a shot and that’s been five and a half years ago — which I know in the scheme of life seems like a minute, but to me, it seems like my whole life.”

After graduating from Liberty High School in 2006, Lippert earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a concentration in international marketing, from Colorado State University in Fort Collins. She now lives in downtown Colorado Springs with husband Alex. The couple are expecting their first child in September.

Lippert sat down this week to discuss what she loves about the company culture at Vladimir Jones, why Colorado Springs is “the best-kept secret,” and the advice she wishes she’d received as a young professional.

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Talk about your role with Vladimir Jones.

Our team acts as the liaison between all of our internal teams at the agency and then our clients. We’re serving our clients and their needs and understanding their business strategies, while at the same time working with our creative and production and digital teams — everyone across the agency, we get to work with and design strategies for clients. The cool thing about being on the account services team is you’re basically part of the efforts from start to finish. … Everyone wants to see it to fruition, but we really get to. We get to see new strategies evolve, campaigns come to life. While we’re not creating the actual assets … we’re using the strategies from insight and client intelligence and conversations to help bring that to light with the creative team.

How did you find yourself in the advertising industry?

I interviewed at both Vladimir Jones and a PR company in Denver, and I got offers from both on the same day. It felt like a life choice in that moment: ‘Do I want to stay in the Springs, or do I want to move to Denver?’ My heart said Vladimir Jones. I had been looking at the company for a while and it felt very exclusive to get in from the outside.

… When you’re working [at Vladimir Jones], it’s like you’re giving into this legacy. They have really good hearts. I always have felt like I wouldn’t be doing my daily allotments of breath justice if I didn’t work in a place where I felt like I was giving back. … I think that I’ve been able to bring a different style to the way things are done and somehow it just worked. I hope it continues.

What do you think you bring to the culture at Vladimir Jones?

It’s almost like pushing boundaries respectfully. I think that’s the only way you can shift culture. My goal there is to serve people. If I’m serving people — and that’s not only my clients and not only my internal teams, but in everyday interaction — then I think you’re doing things well.

There’s a way to do it right … and I think if you just are serving people and have grace for yourself and people in the everyday, but are pushing boundaries in order to make people around you feel supported, then there should always be a place for that.

How are you involved in the community?

I taught [yoga] up until about a year and a half ago, first at Studio Ethos and then at Core Power. … I dabbled in it in college but I feel like I got more into it when adulthood hit. … It’s so healing in a lot of ways. They even have baby yoga. I feel like every age of life, you can alter yoga to meet people’s needs.

[Now] I’m really into the community-focused studios, like Cycology. … I love supporting anything local like that. My husband and I run and hike. We did the Pikes Peak Ascent last year, which was an amazing accomplishment for both of us. It’s so cool to look at Pikes Peak … and be like, ‘We did that.’

How has Colorado Springs changed from your childhood?

I honestly never, ever thought I would move back to the Springs — not because I didn’t love it. When I did move back here, it was interesting because over this timeframe of almost nine years now… it’s almost like a slow revolution is happening. I grew up on the north end of town and… it’s so different up north. … It’s almost like a whole different city that I didn’t know existed growing up. It’s shifted and it’s continuing to shift.

I feel like Colorado Springs is becoming less about chains and corporate entities and more about local experiences and owning what’s so great about living here. The camaraderie, these coworking spaces… the heart of things simplifying and being more about [what is] unique to here… that’s kept me here.

I love the Springs. I honestly wouldn’t have said that to you when I went to college. … Even on the onset of me starting at Vladimir Jones, I was like, ‘Yeah, I don’t know if I’ll stay in the Springs forever.’ I think that was the beginning of the shifting of the culture here. It’s pulled at my heartstrings. I’ve lived and breathed and sweated, and got married and now got pregnant here. There’s no desire for me to be living in the bigger city. I feel like this is home.

You say Colorado Springs and Denver are equal in job opportunities for young professionals. What do you think elevates the Springs?

I think Colorado Springs is like the best-kept secret, which I feel like is starting to get out. The cost of living is jumping more now, but it’s still way more affordable than Denver. Part of me is like, ‘I don’t want to tell you why it’s better than Denver,’ because I love that it’s still not known. … I think there’s everything Denver has, but on a smaller scale. To me, it’s for the quainter local living, the access to the outdoors. I can drive 10 minutes and feel like I’m three hours into the mountains. … I didn’t have a car for two and a half years. I biked and walked to work every single day. It’s a livable community without a car.

What advice would you give to other young professionals?

The best advice that I don’t think is given enough is, ‘You’re never stuck.’ That may seem too simplified, but I feel like for so much of our lives, we’re asked about, ‘Where are you going? What are you doing?’ There’s always this expectation of performance. There should be more encouragement for young people to explore. … Choose something, try it out. I had no agency experience, I had no advertising experience, and here I am. It’ll come.