In her four years at Strategic Prevention Solutions, Research and Technical Assistance Director and Senior Research Associate Brittany Freitas Murrell has worked with various tribal entities in both local and state agencies in project evaluation, technical assistance, and training. Having worked in much larger organizations before joining the SPS team, she has come to appreciate the amount of hard work smaller entities must put forth.
“I’ve learned a lot about managing and leveraging resources," Brittany says.
When asked if her work at SPS could change one thing in society, Brittany talked about breaking down walls and barriers around evaluation, data collection, and analysis. She believes it’s important that communities are empowered to use those tools themselves, so they can communicate their own needs to larger systems. She also mentioned the value-driven work SPS does in communities, especially the focus on social issues and equity.
“It’s something I really appreciate from SPS in terms of how we do the work, why we want to do the work, and being transparent about that," Brittany says.
Part of that work involves multidisciplinary collaboration. In reflecting on the changes in community social-behavioral work over the last 10 years, Brittany discussed the moderating and mediating factors that interact to make people who they are. The past decade has led to greater recognition of the overlap in disciplines and more collaboration between specialties, which she finds very promising.
Another thing Brittany is passionate about in her work at SPS is data visualization.
“I could talk for hours about how to organize infographics or graphs themselves in reports, documents, and presentations for sharing findings. I could go on and on and on about that.”
The importance of setting boundaries
Though she keeps busy with her various work roles, Brittany knows how to set boundaries for herself. To someone looking to make a career in community work, she advises, “Stay mindful that there’s a lot of work to be done and you have to keep yourself healthy.”
Brittany understands many people go into helping professions because they are passionate about the work. She also knows setting limits and boundaries is a good way to enable people to remain passionate and stay in the work.
Some of her professional life does creep into personal time. When asked about recent reading choices, Brittany laughed and held up Purposeful Program Theory and The Business Planner’s Roadmap. She’s also thoughtful in her media consumption. A question about if she’d ever walked out of a movie prompted this response: “I don’t walk away from difficult dialogue; I wouldn’t walk away from a difficult film. It’s important to sit in situations that are thought-provoking in that way—not in a harmful way—but situations that are causing some cognitive dissonance. I like to search for why it’s upsetting me and spend time reflecting on my internal experience rather than having a reaction and walking out.”
Outside of work, Brittany pursues hobbies that allow her to cultivate her creative side. She enjoys gardening, spending time with friends, and competitive VR play. This year, she became a first-time homeowner. She is excited to have her own space and add a dog to that space!