President and Chief Creative Officer
Jennifer Appleby is a business leader and community advocate whose passion and creativity have fueled the transformation of her agency and the community in which she lives.
Appleby was named president and chief creative officer of marketing communications agency Wray Ward in 2001 and today is the agency owner. Her vision guided Wray Ward through a strategic repositioning and reorganization that shifted the agency’s focus to its home category expertise and significantly expanded its services. Today, the agency provides inspired marketing solutions to help solve complex challenges while delivering meaningful results. Teams in insights, design, UX, motion, photography, performance media, client engagement, public relations, social media, content marketing and delivery collaborate, nurture creativity and inspire better performing work.
Appleby recently oversaw the design of the agency’s new space and transition into a work environment that brought its office area, collaboration spaces and production studios under one roof for the first time. The 39,000-square-foot adaptive reuse and new construction project is in the city’s emerging Free More West area. With a specialty in the home and building products categories, Wray Ward integrated client products such as VELUX skylights, Floor & Decor tile, Sherwin-Williams paint colors and more into the build with a design that captures the agency’s creative culture and is well suited to host an agency of nearly 130 collaborators.
A creative community advocate, Appleby influenced an office design for Wray Ward that offers small and large collaboration spaces for creative workshops, panel discussion and gatherings, and a nearly 3,000 square-foot in-house studio area available to the community’s photographers, production managers and producers for their shoots.
She has held strategic leadership positions in many transformative community projects. She is past board chair of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Board of Trustees, which under her leadership refreshed its brand and is developing a new main library that will be a hub of culture, education and community connection. She served as board chair of the Arts & Science Council, chaired its Annual Fund Drive and has served on the Public Art Commission. She serves on the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council and served on the executive committee of the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance and on the Central Piedmont Community College Foundation Board.
Appleby was selected as the inaugural Business Innovatorin Residence at the nationally renowned contemporary art center, McColl Center for Art + Innovation. Building on that experience, Appleby serves on the executive committee of Charlotte Center City Partners and is co-chair for Charlotte Center City’s 2040 Vision Plan.
Additionally, Appleby extends her community commitment to efforts to make Charlotte a safer, more vibrant and inclusive community. She launched the Wray Ward EmpoWWer service-grant2317 Thrift Road, Charlotte, NC 28208704-332-9071wrayward.com
program, created to support community initiatives and continue its tradition of giving back. Framed by three pillars — creativity, shelter and advancement— EmpoWWer provides deserving organizations with an opportunity to apply for resources of time and talent. EmpoWWer also gives agency employees a chance to get involved in supporting important causes. This past year, Appleby also led Wray Ward and a consortium of agencies creating Mecklenburg County’s Count on Me campaign, through which they raised awareness of the importance of wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A dedicated supporter of critical human services organizations, Appleby also has served in task force and leadership roles for a variety of organizations including Good will of the Southern Piedmont and United Way of Central Carolinas.
She has been recognized professionally throughout her career, including being a recipient of the Charlotte Business Woman of the Year Award from Queens University’s McColl School of Business, the Charlotte Business Journal’s Women in Business Achievement and Most Admired CEOs lists, and the Business North Carolina’s Power Lists in 2018,2019, 2020 and 2021. Additionally, Appleby has been recognized with the Ad Club Silver Medal Award and the Arts & Architecture Alumni Award from her alma mater, Penn State University.
About Wray Ward
Wray Ward is the home of passionately creative thinkers. The marketing communications firm has experience in a variety of categories with a specialty in constructing inspired marketing solutions that position, grow and optimize brands in the home and building categories. The agency’s high-performance teams collaborate closely to help solve complex challenges while delivering meaningful results to regional, national and international clients. That list includes AdvanTech™ Subfloor Assembly, Blum kitchen hardware, Broan-NuTone, Cornerstone Building Brands, Crescent Communities, Floor & Decor, GE Appliances, LEVOLOR®, Moen®, Sherwin-Williams, Sonos, TOTO, VELUX® and ZIP System® building enclosure products.
An independent agency with the energy and enthusiasm of a startup and a deep appreciation for its 45-year history, Wray Ward keeps its sights set squarely on the future. Continually evolving to offer the services, tools and strategic thinking that brands need to stand out in today’s marketplace, Wray Ward provides award-winning and inspired marketing solutions to help solve complex challenges while delivering meaningful results. Teams in insights, design, UX, motion, photography, performance media, client engagement, public relations, social media, content marketing and delivery collaborate, nurture creativity and inspire better performing work.
This past year Wray Ward moved into a 39,000 square-foot space that brought its office area, collaboration spaces and 3,000 square-foot production studios under one roof for the first time. The adaptive reuse and new construction project is in the city’s emerging FreeMoreWest area. With a specialty in the home and building products categories, Wray Ward integrated client products such as VELUX skylights, Floor & Decor tile, Sherwin-Williams paint colors and more into the build with a design that captures the agency’s creative culture and is well suited to host an agency of nearly 130 collaborators led by President & Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Appleby.
A core component to the agency’s culture is its commitment to giving back. Its EmpoWWer service-grant program annually provides Wray Ward employees with a way to channel their gifts for good, being creative and innovative for the organizations that make our community a better place to live, work and play. In 2020, the agency served an organization that helped empower citizens during an eviction housing crisis; an organization that helps improve impoverished neighborhoods through community support and home repair; and an organization that supported teachers during a challenging time.
Wray Ward believes that every task, project and entry to-do list is an opportunity to think bigger and deliver not just great work, but better performing work. Unafraid to embrace bold strategies or make tough decisions, the agency never, ever stops asking “what if?”