By Christina Cavazos

Victoria Atencio loves the simple act of creating.

Whether she’s leading a digital marketing campaign for the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region, doing graphic design or honing her skills as a photographer, Atencio is dedicated to communicating ideas that will inspire, inform and captivate audiences.

“I love all things digital, visual and creative,” Atencio said.

Atencio, 28, serves as digital marketing director and graphic designer for the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region.

Growing up in a military family, Atencio said she moved around a lot as a child, but her family settled in Colorado Springs and she graduated from Sand Creek High School. She attended college at MidAmerica Nazarene University, where she earned a bachelor of arts in graphic design.

In 2015, she began working at The Broadmoor World Arena as its digital marketing manager, also managing social media and print and digital marketing for the World Arena and the Pikes Peak Center. That included creating marketing campaigns and collateral, such as posters, flyers and billboards, for upcoming shows and performances.

After serving four years at the World Arena, Atencio accepted her current position at the YMCA in June 2019.

“As the digital marketing director and graphic designer, I help with all of their Google ads, Facebook campaigns, graphic design for their programs. I’m also in charge of the website. On the side, I’m also a photographer. So, at the Y, I do take photos for their programs, sports and other things,” Atencio said. “Basically, anything digital is me.”

Atencio spoke with the Business Journal about graphic design, her creativity, and leadership opportunities for fellow young professionals.

Talk about the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region and its programs.

We serve thousands of children in the community through a lot of different programs. We have at least 10 locations in the Pikes Peak Region, and that includes Camp Shady Brook. We offer a variety of after-school programs and youth sports. We usually offer camps, but unfortunately this year, due to the pandemic, we aren’t offering camp. I grew up in a military family, I’m a military brat, so one thing that was important to me is that the Y does have programs for military families.

The YMCA really does a great job of helping serve this community. We even have a senior center here. I like the aspect that they tie in not only youth, but families, seniors, military families. The Y ties in all these different demographics under one [umbrella]. I get to work with a lot of different people, and there’s always some new event going on. Now, during the pandemic, we have been limited on what we can do. But, we are open and we do have some people coming in.

What is your favorite aspect of your job?

At the Y, there is something new going on each day, whether that be a program or someone I’m working with. I really like the Y stories, meaning that each person has a story of why they come to the YMCA. It’s not just a gym, it’s a bigger community.

How has the digital landscape changed since the COVID-19 pandemic?

Before COVID, things were going digital but the virus and this pandemic really pushed people toward digital more. To me, people seem to be even more accepting of digital because it is a really quick means of communication. Instead of having to send out something to print, when communication is changing so frequently, we’re able to reach audiences very quickly and communicate effectively through the digital marketplace. I would say we’re in a constant state of change, but digital has been a constant throughout this time.

As a graphic designer and digital marketing director for the Y, where do you find inspiration?

I’m a super creative person and I’m really into art. I work in marketing, and I think there’s an art to marketing. I find my inspiration from what brings me joy. I draw a lot of inspiration from nature. We live in a beautiful state, so I love spending time outside. I love taking photos. It’s always good for me to get away from the computer, even though most of my work is online. I thrive with art and standard photography. Doing something outside of the computer really helps inspire me.

What other hobbies do you enjoy?

I’m an artist on the side. I do a lot of pottery at Cottonwood Center for the Arts. Fine arts is, I would say, my true love. I’m also really digital-minded and graphic design is a great avenue as well, but whenever I want to do more fine arts things, I do pottery and I really have made a lot of friends there. I also enjoy being outdoors; I like rock climbing and running.

I do spend a lot of time behind the computer, but sometimes you need a different outlet. If I need inspiration, sometimes I’ll go do something physically and then come back to my project and I’ll have new ideas.

In terms of photography, what do you most enjoy taking pictures of?

I love taking pictures of people because I value others a lot. I believe that each person has a true smile and I love bringing that out whenever I photograph people.

I love taking photos at my job as well. I get to photograph kids in different programs at the Y. I’ve photographed kids playing soccer and playing volleyball. When I was at The Broadmoor, I took photos of concerts at the arena. I really value those experiences. I would consider myself an artist but I’m also in a professional realm.

What other ways have you been involved in the community?

I was a part of Leadership Pikes Peak and I also served on their steering committee, which I really enjoyed. This is actually the first year I’m not doing it, but for the past two years I helped with their program sessions. I would just encourage young professionals, if they want to get connected within this community and learn more about themselves and our city, go through Leadership Pikes Peak. I also met a lot of cool people there.

What other advice do you have for fellow young professionals?

To not be afraid and be consistent with what you’re passionate about. Get involved, make connections. There are so many events and you’re just one person, but find the things you truly care about and that truly interest you and focus on those.

Why would you encourage other young people to get involved in the YMCA?

We really are much more than just a gym that you check in to. If you want to give back to your community, the Y is a great way to do that. The YMCA really focuses on the things that will build you up as a person and that will build your character.