Have You Met Pete Griffin?
Energetic, active and involved, Pete Griffin is enthused about expanding the reach of his nonprofit. "As the new President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona I hope to build on our reputation for improving the lives of young people in our community. There is such a need for positive adult role models in the lives of young people here. I plan on finding those adults who care about children and the community they live in, then creating programs so we can be sure that as a result of their involvement with us, these children are becoming successful Arizonians."
Griffin has a strong professional background that will enhance his work with Big Brothers Big Sisters. "I spent almost nine years at MTV where I managed the network’s campaigns on social issues. My work ran the gamut from our Emmy Award winning ‘Choose or Lose', and Think MTV campaigns, to efforts focusing on high school graduation, climate change and digital abuse and bullying. I would often partner with nonprofits to create and promote these campaigns, and was constantly impressed by how much bigger of an impact we would have when collaborating with great community focused organizations. My love of Arizona and passion for working with young people and improving communities made this position with Big Brother Big Sisters a dream come true." His team was awarded an Emmy in 2008 for Best Community Service Campaign in the country.
This New York native moved to Phoenix in June, but he has visited family here regularly for the past 20 years. "What I appreciate about Phoenix is that although it is the fifth largest city in the country by population, it truly has a small town feel about it. Professionally, there is a lot more work that is needed to be done to help young people here, and I'm excited to take on that challenge.
He adds, "Since I worked at MTV you might not be surprised that I’m a music junkie! While it’s a huge passion of mine and I’m always looking for new music to discover or a live concert to attend. As a long time New Yorker, I’m not much for sitting still, so I like to stay busy visiting museums, checking the calendar for local events, and enjoying the local sports teams. We think it’s important to stay active!"
Returning to the nonprofit, Griffin emphasizes that "The strongest feature of Big Brothers Big Sisters is our long history of success in improving the lives of both our youth (or "Littles") and our adult volunteers (or "Bigs"). Most people volunteer with us to help a child, but it’s not too long before they realize that the experience has also made a profound change in their own lives. Typically, after a couple months into the mentoring relationship, our Bigs always say ‘this is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in my life!’ It brings joy into their lives when they realize how such small things like listening to a child, introducing them to new experiences, or giving simple advice can make such a profound impact."
He continues, "Recently I talked to an executive at Wells Fargo who told me about an employee of theirs who was totally changed by being a volunteer with BBBS; it transformed him as a person and made him a better employee. Because of that, Wells Fargo, who is one of our biggest supporters, is looking to get more employees involved with us because happy employees are good business. Ultimately, many people come to us wanting to give, but they always find out they get more in return."
Pete Griffin sums up his philosophy, "At Big Brothers Big Sisters we are not just concerned with how many matches we can accomplish, but we are concerned about the outcomes we generate. Are kids graduating? Are they staying away from drugs? Are their family and school relationships improving? We have found that what we do really does change the outcome of a child’s life and we are eager to grow and serve more!"
If your life were a movie, who would you want to play your part?
Steve Carell, I think you would need a sense of humor to play my part well and his sense of humor is the best.
Do you have any pets? No, but I'd love some if they came with someone to take care of them too!
What was your first job?
First job ever was refereeing youth basketball, first job after college was interning at Sony Music in NYC.
What are your local volunteer activities?
Being new to the Valley, I'm just starting to get introduced to local opportunities. Prior to moving here however I volunteered at First Step in NYC, an organization that helps women from domestic abuse or substance abuse backgrounds acquire the personal and professional skills they need live independently. I volunteered at the Museum of Natural History in NYC where I introduced children to the sciences on display in the museum. I also volunteered with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of American and a variety of environmental organizations.
When you move, what will your home tell its next owner about you?
I'm not responsible for any damage done from loud music.
What is your greatest indulgence?
Eating bad food. I steer clear of most fruits and vegetables which I'm not proud of.
What is your most treasured possession?
I'm quite nostalgic so I have a host of items from family members of mine who have passed…from my grandmother’s rosary beads to my grandfather’s WWII medals.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Professionally: Winning an Emmy Award in 2008 for the Best Community Service campaign in the country.
What is the quality you most like in people?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Favorite books / Writers?
I love US history so many of my favorite books are biographies of our founding fathers or of early American history. Stephen Ambrose is one of my favorite authors.
What's the best lesson you're learned through the years?
The only true currency in this world is what we share with others.
Who inspired you to give back to your community?
My parents were my inspiration. They led by example and had my siblings and me involved in community service when we were just elementary school students.
Which fundraising event is your favorite?
I like fundraising events that allow you to give while you are doing something you already enjoy. For example, I used to put together concerts with bands that people would want to see anyway, and have proceeds from the show go to a charity. I think fundraising should be fun and meaningful for everyone involved and think people find more value in giving when it's doing something for which they already have an affinity.
Who do you most admire, and why?
In my life I admire my parents because they are the most loving, caring and thoughtful people I've ever known. Historically, I admire Thomas Jefferson. I appreciate people who are passionate about learning and have a broad scope of interests, all while using that knowledge to improve our lives and communities.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love spending time with my family and I'm a music junkie so finding new music and going to concerts is a favorite pastime.
What would we be most surprised to know about you?
In my 31 years I've had an array of diverse and unique experiences that has inspired some friends and family to call me Forest Gump! From speaking at the United Nations, to traveling around the world in a boat, playing Division I college basketball, trying out for the Cleveland Indians, working at MTV for 9 years, meeting presidents, touring with a rock band, winning an Emmy Award and having the honor of my current position. It's been an amazing and interesting ride so far.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
The two most important things you have in this world are your name and your integrity. Don’t do anything to compromise either.
What are some challenges facing nonprofits?
I think one of the biggest problems non profits face is creating that emotional connection with people that differentiates themselves from other organizations out there. The nonprofit world is so diluted with organizations doing the same or similar things, I think it’s challenging to create that unique space for many organizations.
I liked your site.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is so lucky to have you as their leader! You are making this world a better place each and every day.
We are excited to have Pete as our leader and we are looking forward to great things and the positive impact he will bring to our community and agency. Welcome aboard!!