COMMUNITY LEADERS GUIDING OTHERS, BRINGING A SENSE OF HOPE DURING THESE CHALLENGING TIMES.
By Natasha Bourlin
She’s been to more countries than states.
She holds a degree in international business from the University of Nevada, Reno.
She’s the vice president of Reno Engineering Corporation, a civil design and development services company with a 23-year history.
She’s served and led more regional boards of directors that this writer can even list.
She funneled her community passion and desire to better her hometown by campaigning to become a member of the Reno City Council.
She’s up for sainthood next year …
I kid on that last one (hey, you never know!), but fifth-generation Nevadan Britton Griffith soon decided that, in the midst of the global pandemic and racially based social unrest dramatically affecting her community, people were more important than politics.
In an election year, attention suddenly turned away from endless campaign chatter.
It had to.
Newsfeeds were saturated with negativity. What local businesses and residents truly needed during the epidemic wasn’t being communicated effectively. Northern Nevadans were getting infected by COVID-19, businesses were shutting down, nonprofits were struggling, the homeless population was rising and families were going hungry.
Soon after, Black Lives Matter came to the forefront of societal concern.
The world seemed to be spinning out of control.
A longtime community advocate, Griffith entered the local political realm intent on earning a council seat. But then, her campaign signs started disappearing.
Instead of using funds to replace them, Team Griffith used them to provide supplies to the Boys and Girls Club.
She recognized that, as her opponents dropped out of the race seemingly due to the pandemic, because of her political platform, her family’s lengthy Nevada history and her own long-earned respect within the community, she needed to pivot.
Turning with the times
You mean, helping the community won out over campaigning?
Indeed it did.
Because true political authority is more than just a title.
It’s also recognizing that activating influence and implementing direct action can be far more effective than working to create policy from behind a desk (oh, there’s far more to it, we understand).
She states, “It was time to shut up and listen, but there’s also a time to deliver the message.”
So, she busted out her fully activated social media megaphone. Team Griffith had community champions behind them and the momentum to take constructive action.
Using her well-followed social media channels, she facilitated positive efforts to help those suffering. She used them as an informational beacon for small businesses, nonprofits and other entities now in great need.
During the BLM protests in Downtown Reno, Griffith also became an active catalyst for correct information on what was really happening in a city full of misinformation. She participated in the protests against social injustice, spoke with protest leaders, then amplified their voices to correct the narrative for the curious.
“People had access to and lived in the world of social media, and we needed to use these platforms as information resources, it became really important,” Griffith says. “There was lots of fear and a lack of leadership, so we took the microphone we had access to and shared how to keep businesses open, resources, what organizations needed, what they were doing and what we were hearing throughout the phases.”
“There was lots of fear and a lack of leadership, so we took the microphone we had access to and shared how to keep businesses open, resources, what organizations needed, what they were doing and what we were hearing throughout the phases.”
“Passionate commerce” is a term Griffith weaves into conversations often.
“It’s a concept that . . . we are here to keep the economy moving as a whole, appreciating ambassadors and making sure groups like the Volunteers of America had masks. We weren’t paying attention to how much people were being emotionally impacted, not just financially. Everyone was in emergency status but there was a huge void, people were scared and confused,” Griffith explains. “It became less about the virus and more, ‘how are we going to get through this together? We’re a small town and rely on each other.’”
Griffith’s mission is now becoming an info superhighway for small businesses and nonprofits, among others. She works with many organizations to gather food and goods donations. If businesses are working to benefit a cause, she’s there to share the news and how locals can help.
With her campaigning days behind her, she’s shifted to directly helping people have a mission, participate and make an impact themselves.
Because, in a big-yet-small town, everyone needs to feel that sense of community.