BRAND AMBASSADOR | a conversation with GRIFFIN MUELLER
An exclusive interview from Whitby's very own Brand Ambassador, Griffin Mueller.
Born on July 19th, 1988
Lives in Durham, North Carolina
WHAT IS YOUR OCCUPATION?
I work in corporate strategy at Cisco. My title is program manager. Basically, I make sure that when companies are purchasing from Cisco it's profitable for them to do so instead of having them go to our competitors. I look at revenue streams and profitability.
WHERE DID YOU ATTEND SCHOOL AND HOW HAS EDUCATION IMPACTED YOUR LIFE?
I did my undergraduate and graduate work at Stanford. I just got accepted to Duke’s MBA program, so I start business school in the fall. When I thought about what education really did to change my life, more than anything else, it provided me with choices. I had the privilege of choosing among a lot of different career options and I am really grateful for that. I think that is what Whitby is trying to provide to young women and men - the choice to avoid sex slavery and have the opportunity to pursue something that is meaningful and significant to them. Whereas right now given their circumstances, which are really challenging and unfortunate, they might not have choices.
In my personal life, my parents came from a really really poor background and education allowed them to change their stars. I am a profound believer in the power of education to help you change your life.
HOW DO YOU CARRY JUSTICE ON A DAILY BASIS?
For this question I had to start by thinking about what carrying justice means. I think that it means living generously. I think that it’s something anyone can do regardless of how wealthy you are or how old you are. I think that anyone can live in a way that leaves the world a little bit better than when they found it.
For me, education has always been a huge part of my life and provided me with amazing opportunities that I am so grateful for. [Education] was also really transformative for my parents and my family. [With that in mind] I have always prioritized volunteering with NGOs that help underrepresented people groups have access to quality education.
Recently, I have been volunteering at a local middle school teaching after school classes on entrepreneurship and design thinking to middle school girls. My goal is really to drive diversity in the tech industry where the numbers are just appalling. The disparity between the tech executives and CEOs who are women and people of color in the tech industry is mind boggling. We are supposed to be this innovative and progressive industry that is pushing boundaries, but we are terribly non-inclusive and not representing what the world looks like. I really enjoy reaching out to help these young girls see themselves reflected back in the tech industry and in the world around. One day I hope to be a senior tech executive who can inspire the next generation of tech leaders who are diverse.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES AND PASSIONS?
The two things that I do on a normal basis and that I save all of my pennies for are adventure and learning. I am a firm believer that travel and the ability to continue to learn and to grow at every stage is really what adds beauty, joy, and creativity to my world and broadens my world view. I am headed to Cuba in May, and then I also have a plan to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro later this year. The reason why I prioritize travel is because as an aspiring leader I believe it is important to broaden your worldview and thinking by experiencing different cultures, ways of life, and different people groups. Challenge yourself to see the world in fresh and new ways.
This is also the reason why I pursue education. Even though I have been in school for decades, I am going back to school for my second graduate degree and pursuing my MBA in the fall. I am mostly excited to be in a room full of people from diverse backgrounds and to learn about their varied life experiences. I know that for the rest of my life I am going to be traveling, reading, and learning. I will be taking a class either for a grade or for fun because I know that travel and education improve my quality of life. Both help me understand the world around me better and also be prepared as a leader to approach problems with an innovative and unique perspective.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WHITBY PRODUCT AND WHY?
I am absolutely in love with the Namfon Tote and look forward to carrying it this summer when it launches. I like the tote because I am that gal on the go that needs a larger purse that is stylish but also ample. I can just imagine myself going through my day with that bag and piling in my tablet, my phone, and my wallet, and all the many other things I like travel with. I especially appreciate that it has neutral colors because although Brittni (Whitby Designer) is phenomenally fashion forward I am that girl that needs to be able to wear the same bag with multiple outfits without worrying about whether it compliments my look. So for me, it is the perfect bag for a very busy woman on the go who wants to look professional and polished without spending too much time trying.