Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator, Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development
What's a Bio really? Is it just supposed to be professional or does it have to include personal activities as well? I was advised to talk to you as if we are just friends, so here it goes...My name is Barrinique Natalya Griffin. I love to use my full name because it's just who I am, plus at some point in my life I had to learn how to spell it. For that reason, I use my full name its a way of me reaping the benefits of all the hard work I've put in...Haha!
I grew up on the Island of Nassau, New Providence located in the Bahamas. If you haven't heard about it before it's in the Caribbean and is commonly confused with Bermuda or Barbados just because it begins with the letter B! I grew up with my mom and enjoyed spending time with my extended family. When you grow up on an Island everyone assumes you love the ocean and beaches and in my case, it's sort of true. I love the ocean, the way the wind feels on my skin, the scent of the saltwater and the waves, I don't really like swimming but the beach is my happy place. I moved to Nova Scotia when I was 17 to study commerce at Saint Mary's University. When you're an only child of a single parent and the money isn't necessarily rolling in leaving your country to pursue a university education is a bit of a challenge. It was a risk I was willing and excited to take. After 4.5 years, countless student jobs later, I graduated from Saint Mary's as the Valedictorian in January 2017 with a Bachelor of Commerce in Entrepreneurship. I am currently the Entrepreneurship Facilitator at the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development. In my role, I coordinate with schools to provide hands-on workshops for youth on topics such as Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship. I guess you can say taking the risk to leave home was hard and challenging but worth it.
What are you most proud of professionally? And who or why?
I love leadership. I love talking about it, reading about it, studying it and observing great and not so great leaders. I don't know when or why I got so fascinated by this topic but I'm hooked. In my second year of university, I started a Leadership Conference at Saint Mary's for students in their first or second year. I am very proud of this because it all started out as an idea and I was able to see it come to life. I had to secure funding, space, speakers, and attendees. I was able to see the conference grow each year from the number of speakers, funding and attendees. The conference grew to the point where I was able to be paid for my work and other participants involved. I am most proud that I was able to lead it for three years but to also see it continue years later with other great student leaders.
Currently, I am proud of the work I get to do with youth and adults when it comes to Entrepreneurship and helping them realize entrepreneurship is a viable career option.
What’s your vision for Atlantic Canada in 10 years? What’s our biggest opportunity now?
My vision for Atlantic Canada: Affordable Housing, Improvements within the Education System and Trades, Wage Equality, Representation for those most vulnerable in our communities. My list of hopes and aspirations not just for Atlantic Canada but the world can go on. I am a very optimistic person and instead of looking at problems, I try to look at problems and possible solutions. For that reason our biggest opportunity is to be a part of the narrative. If you want to see something changed within Atlantic Canada find like minded people or groups and get to work. The narrative for Atlantic Canada can't change unless we grab the pen and start writing it today.
What was your greatest stage of growth? What made it a shift for you?
Ahh, growth another word I love. I believe that we have to be constantly growing and improving ourselves because when we do this we are able to make better contributions to ourselves, family, friends and our communities.
An example of a stage of growth for me was university and the year that followed it. It was my official becoming an adult stage. As an only child, I have always been very independent but my "becoming an adult stage" has taught me how to be more responsible with my time, money and the value of friendships and family. This stage has also taught me the value of asking for help and that it's okay.
What’s your favourite or most read book or podcast? Now or at each of your greatest stages of growth?
This is a hard question for me because I love to read so as a recovering book worm here's my cliché answer, I like books because they allow me to open my mind and expand my perspective and for that reason I don't have a favorite book. My most recent read is “The 5 love languages: singles edition” by Dr. Gary Chapman, my current read is “Option B” by Sheryl Sandberg.
What’s your deepest learning from this past year? How did/will you apply it?
This year for me has been a roller coaster of emotions, to say the least. This year I lost the person I've shared my entire life with to an illness. Losing my mom has taught me the importance of friendships, family, self-care, and reflection, doing the things you love and asking for help. Asking for help is hard for me to do because of my independent nature but I am constantly learning that people tend to help you when you are honest and vulnerable. So I've applied "asking for help" when I have to travel a lot for work and Tango (my cat) needs a sitter. I've asked for help at work when I take on too much on my plate, and I've asked for help with my finances and taxes (why did I ever try to do that by myself?)
Who’s inspired you, directly or indirectly? How have they inspired you?
I am inspired daily by the women who have gone before me and that surround me. They are not perfect nor do they care to be, they show up unapologetically themselves and for that I am truly grateful because it gives other women the permission to do the same.
What would you have done differently?
Since I love growth and learning, I don't think I would have done anything differently because it has all worked together to make me who I am and taught me a lot of valuable lessons such as how to handle my finances.
What are the principles you live by?
" Progress not Perfection"
"Always find something to be grateful for"
I wholeheartedly believe that we get to choose and create the life we have. For that reason, the principle I live by is to choose to be brave, choose to be compassionate, choose to work hard. Whatever you want for yourself choose and then get to work. Also, don't do anything you don't what to do, just don't it doesn't end well... trust me!
Entrepreneur, Community Volunteer, Educator, Multifaceted Badass (only in my head), Traveler, Bookworm, Tango's Mom but if you were to ask my family they would say that I'm an "Island Gyal", I'm "Brazen"and I'm "Sudge" (a nickname I can't escape and I still love to this day)