As an undergraduate student at Presbyterian College, Ginny Ingels spent a summer in Haiti working in health promotion at a rural hospital. That experience, coupled with a lifelong passion for health, made her transition to director of development for the College of Public Health all the more easy.
Ingels, a UGA School of Law graduate who spent three years as a public defender in Newton and Walton counties, found herself in a familiar field when she accepted her current position in 2013.
“Health in general always has been in my background, even down to the fact that my mom has been a nurse for 40 years,” Ingels said. “When I went to law school, I intended to do something nontraditional with my degree and took many health-related classes as part of my coursework.”
Now, as director of development for the college, Ingels is surrounded by health-related research and activities.
In this position, Ingels is responsible for raising support for the College of Public Health. She handles all gift and fundraising efforts for the college. Ingels also works to stay engaged with alumni, students, faculty, staff and external partners.
“My role is to raise support and promote the college to help us keep doing what we’re doing,” she said. “Often that means I’m sharing positive stories about the work of our students and faculty and how donors can impact this work.”
Ingels started at UGA in 2011 in the central development office in the Division of Development and Alumni Relations. There, she was introduced to fundraising at UGA.
“My experience in the central office provided a strong foundation in the fundamentals of fundraising, a holistic view of the amazing things happening across UGA’s campus and the opportunity to witness really great collaborative processes,” she said. “The move to public health was a great opportunity for me because of my personal interest in the field.
“The rewarding part of fundraising is when you are truly able to match someone’s passion to a need and see the impact and outcome,” Ingels also said.
Ingels calls her time as a public defender “a good test” and believes that experience helped prepare her for development.
“When practicing law, each client and case was different. While navigating through the legal aspects of a case, I also learned a great deal about communicating with individuals-how each situation is unique and may require a little bit different response,” she said. “There is no one way to work with people-you have to learn to listen really well.
“Here at UGA, I’m dealing with individuals as well-trying to match them to the university and their passion,” she said. “It’s just a different, more positive story I get to tell that can often have a lasting impact.”
Ingels also believes that her prior experiences working as part of a team helped prepare her to work as a director of development, who coordinates with a central unit on campus.
“Just like in my previous roles, I’m working with a team of people who are handling separate situations, but we’re all committed together to the same goal,” she said. “It’s just a much bigger team. I’m also lucky to have started at UGA in the central development office as I already knew the team well when I began in my role at public health.”
Outside of work, Ingels and her husband, Justin, are involved in the community. Ingels serves on the board for the Sparrow’s Nest, a local ministry center that works primarily with disadvantaged youth and the homeless. Ingels and her husband have volunteered for years mentoring local children. The couple lives in Normaltown with 10-year-old Dretavious and are expecting a daughter this month.
Ingels also spends her time outside the office exercising and running. She enjoys biking and plays soccer at the Athens YWCO. She loves traveling and reading when she can find the time.
With a new house near the College of Public Health’s home on the Health Sciences Campus and a husband working on his doctorate in epidemiology at UGA, public health will remain in Ingels’ future. Her challenge now is to spread the word about the College of Public Health and what it does.
“Our mission is to improve health, locally and nationally, but really for all Georgians,” Ingels said. “It’s a good story that I get to share, particularly because I know our students are going on to give back and impact their