Flipping through the newspaper at a cafe near her college campus, a help wanted ad caught Ingrid Christensen’s eye. At the time, her career path was uncertain – even as graduation from the University of Minnesota loomed in a matter of days.
The job was to do administrative work with a language services provider in the Twin Cities. It sounded better than her current job serving food at a sports bar, so Ingrid applied – and got offered the job. Just a few weeks into the role, Ingrid’s new employer discovered she was fluent in Spanish. They encouraged her to ditch the office work and become a Spanish interpreter for them.
It didn’t take long for Ingrid to fall in love with the profession of interpreting. From babies being born to people taking their last breath, she was present for some of the most profound moments in people’s lives. It was easy to see the impact her work had on those who desperately needed access to information in their own language.
“The thought of being able to be someone’s voice when they need to be heard in another language is so energizing to me. I can’t think of more important work to be doing.” –Ingrid Christensen, President + Founder, INGCO International
Ingrid knew she wanted to go deeper into this field, so she earned a certificate in Translation and Interpretation and spent several more years interpreting. Curious about what it might take to run her own business one day, she enrolled in the MBA program at Hamline University. While in grad school, this real-life Wonder Woman continued interpreting during the day and studying at night. If she thought life was busy then, it was about to get much busier: Ingrid found out she was expecting a baby. With no family nearby to help with childcare, she frequently brought her infant son to classes.
As she wrapped up her MBA coursework, Ingrid started getting requests to do interpreting directly for those in her network. Soon, she had so many of her own clients that she did less and less for other agencies, until she realized it was time to start her own company. INGCO International was born in 2006. So was her son!
Today, Ingrid is CEO of a thriving global translation and interpreting company and super mom to her 15-year-old son. She is active in the Twin Cities business community and is passionate about giving back and engaging in social justice issues.
Meet Ingrid Christensen, a Real Life Wonder Woman!
KR: Will you please tell us about what brings you joy and fulfillment?
IC:I love spending time with people, engaged in meaningful conversation. I love striking up random conversations while sitting at a bar, especially airport bars. People are amazing and I always learn so much.
KR: We all have inner superpowers. What are some of yours?
IC: I am an energetic optimist and seeker of knowledge. I also have fierce resilience in my blood.
KR: Fierce resilience. Oh, how I love that statement! (Did you know the first chapter in Wonder-FULL is all about the power of resilience?) Ingrid, can you tell us about an influential woman in your life and how she inspired you?
IC: I can think of no greater influence on my life than my mom. She inspired, and continues to inspire me, every single day to be the best version of myself.
KR: If you could have one super-human power, what would it be?
IC: For sure it would be the power to speak all of the 7000+ languages; the ability to communicate with every single person, to truly get to know them, would be a dream.
KR: What do you do for fun? What are your hobbies?
IC: I have a healthy obsession with my Peloton and all of the classes they offer on their platform. I believe that a body in motion stays in motion. I am an avid reader – I read at least 45 books a year. I love wine — can drinking wine be a hobby? I haven’t quite mastered collecting wine since I tend to drink a bottle before it sits in my collection. I love travel, adventures and experiences – I’d much rather spend resources on experiences over things. Scrabble is by far one of my favorite past times, especially playing with my mom. And anything that I can do with my son — I’ll take any time with him doing whatever he wants.
KR: We have both wine and Scrabble in common. And yes, wine can be a hobby–I speak from experience. Before we go, I have one last question for you. Knowing what you know at this stage of your life, what words of wisdom would you give to your 20-year-old self?
IC: Guard your yes – be very intentional about who and what you say yes to; if you are a yes to everything, you are a yes to nothing.
Want to be inspired by other Real Life Wonder Women? Want to feel empowered and celebrate YOUR superpowers?
Order your copy of award-winning Wonder-FULL: Activate Your Inner Superpowers (No Cape Required) today.
CLICK HERE to order.