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Get to Know Groundwork: Brittany Boulton, Managing Director, Advocacy & Engagement

As part of our “Get to Know Groundwork” series, we've been spotlighting members of our amazing team. This week, we’re getting to know Brittany Boulton, who joined Groundwork Ohio in January of 2024.

Brittany is the Managing Director of Advocacy & Engagement at Groundwork Ohio. Brittany brings a passion for building relationships and coalitions to drive impactful advocacy to this work. She oversees advocacy and engagement efforts to support Groundwork’s goal of making Ohio the best place to be a young child.

A committed advocate for Ohio’s families for over 15 years, Brittany has devoted her career to advocating for policies that improve the lives of households throughout the state.

Brittany’s career has always been anchored in public service, beginning as a staffer in the Ohio Statehouse and continuing to support the advocacy, engagement, and communications efforts of a variety of nonprofits working to improve the lives of Ohioans through access to food, housing, and other basic needs.

Check out our Q&A with Brittany to learn more about why she’s a passionate advocate for young children and families in Ohio.

Q: What drew you to early childhood policy research and advocacy? Tell us more about your “why!”

A: My advocacy work has supported community development, access to affordable food and housing, small business support, and operations for a wide variety of nonprofits of various sizes. Children have been a thread through it all, including after-school programming for K-12 kiddos, housing and wraparound services for young adults exiting homelessness and foster care, and students in grandparent care in Chicago Public Schools. Children are the heart of our communities, and that work has become even more personal to me as I began raising my own daughters and navigating early learning opportunities for them.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received or a lesson that you’ve learned that has helped you in this work?

A: When I was learning to garden in my first backyard and trying to discern weeds from plants the previous homeowner had seeded, my mom told me, “Brittany, a weed is anything in your garden you do not want.” While she was talking specifically about the flowerbed at hand, it felt like a revelation to me about taking on the responsibility and power to decide which elements I welcome not just into my backyard, but also into my life. Just as I weed through my flowerbed, I can weed out the distractions and negativity that prevent me from focusing on the tools and relationships that will help me drive meaningful impact.

Q: What’s your word for 2024?

A: My word for 2024 is intentional. It can be so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of tasks both at work and at home. I want to be intentional with my time so that I am driving the deepest engagement with Ohio’s families and most impactful advocacy with Ohio’s policymakers that I can through my work at Groundwork. And at home, I hope to create as much joy as I can with my family.

Q: When you aren’t advocating on behalf of young children and families, what do you enjoy doing?

A: I am currently the President of Ohio Women in Government, a membership organization dedicated to developing the skills of women working in or interested in government. I also chair the Clintonville Area Commission, providing community voice to the Columbus City Council on proposed Zoning changes. I help lead my daughters’ Girl Scout troop and love to take them camping! My husband Justin and I love to take the girls to music festivals and to visit our parents in Northeast Ohio. I have a messy, overflowing backyard veggie patch, and you can find me most Saturday mornings at the Clintonville Farmer’s Market, at the Whetstone soccer fields, or running on the Olentangy trail.  

Q: Describe a scene from your vision of the future for Ohio’s youngest children and their caregivers.

A: A mom walks into her child’s care facility to drop her daughter off before her workday begins. One of the classroom aides greets the mother and child, and the aide is friendly and well-rested because she is no longer losing sleep over financial stress as she is earning a fair wage. Mom is glad to observe that there are ample teachers and aides in the classroom and each child is receiving adequate attention. She even hears some giggles and happy shrieks as she signs her daughter in. The facility is clean, bright, and fully stocked with healthy snacks and engaging toys, books, and other tools for learning. The child is bonded with her teachers and grins when she spots her favorite one. The child looks back at her mom, runs back for one more hug, then darts back into the classroom when she hears one of the aides start story time. The mom breathes a sigh of relief, checks the time on her phone, and realizes she has an extra few minutes to take for herself, enjoying her morning coffee in the fresh air before walking into her workplace. She mentally notes that it’s warming up outside and is glad her child will have a chance to play on the center’s playground with her classmates, and this mom can start her own workday confident that she can look forward to picking up a happy, healthy child.

Connect with Brittany on X/Twitter, LinkedIn, or by email.


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