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Brittany Trujillo, AFP-CO grassroots engagement director (center), with the rest of her AFP-CO El Paso County team.

How one engagement director is changing Colorado’s grassroots advocacy

Jul 19, 2023 by AFP

Brittany Trujillo works as the grassroots engagement director for Americans for Prosperity in Colorado. She was nominated for the 2023 George Gibbs Outstanding Engagement Director of the Year award. Brittany works hard to help make government better, and people are noticing that.

“I’m deeply honored to be nominated for the George Gibbs Outstanding Engagement Director of the Year award,” Brittany said. “It means so much to me and my community that our work toward reforming the institution of government is being recognized by AFP. We are more excited than ever to achieve our goals in 2023.”

Her job isn’t easy. She needs to talk with lots of different people like her co-workers, customers, investors, and people in her community. Brittany said she tries to always remember AFP’s mission to guide her:

This is why it is critical to be anchored to the vision of our organization to make the correct trade-offs. While I can’t say I am perfect when it comes to this, I always make sure I have my north star in my sights and our goals in mind.”

It’s important to know her local community really well and match what they care about with AFP’s plans. She explained,

You need to understand what unique characteristics your local community can bring to this strategy and then have the confidence to drive that narrative.”

Part of Brittany’s job is to make sure people have fun while they’re learning and making a difference. She adds,

It needs to be fun and informative. People want to learn and make a difference, but they also want to have fun.”

Now we know a little more about what Brittany does. But how did she get here? Let’s find out more about her story, from when she first joined Americans for Prosperity to what she’s doing now to help her community.

Brittany Trujillo, AFP-Colorado grassroots engagement director, with Representative Gabe Evans and an AFP colleague at the Rocky Mountain Homeschool Conference in June 2023.

June 16, 2023 – Denver, Colorado: Brittany Trujillo (left) with Rep. Gabe Evans and a colleague at the Rocky Mountain Homeschool Conference.

How did you get involved with Americans for Prosperity? How’d you get into grassroots organizing, and what intrigued you about it?

BT: During COVID I watched as the government used the pandemic as excuse to intervene in every aspect of peoples’ lives. I knew that I could no longer sit idly by and let this continue. But more importantly, I wanted to be involved with an organization that provided solutions.

A close friend of mine worked at AFP and told me about an opportunity to get involved in grassroots advocacy. While I was initially skeptical about the difference I could make with one-on-one conversations; I quickly saw the power an individual has in those moments. After just a few short months, I realized the impact I had in my community. [I wanted to] help steer our state in a better direction through better policy.

What challenges have you faced in fostering engagement and how did you overcome them?

BT: One of the biggest challenges my community and I face are when we bring in people who are excited to make change but are focused on priorities outside of our organization. This is why it’s so important to connect them to our vision, so they understand the importance of our priority initiatives and why we need to achieve them.

This is what separates AFP from other organizations. We stay focused on long-term solutions and don’t get caught up in the “shiny object” political or policy fights that pop up across the state.

While some may end up leaving to volunteer for other organizations to address those “shiny object” issues, the people who stay quickly become committed activists for AFP who donate considerable time and energy to our causes.

Can you speak about a time when your engagement efforts had a significant impact on your organization/program/project?

BT: Colorado has seen a dramatic increase in new movers to the state over the last several years. These people are primarily coming from California, New York, and Illinois and tend to lean toward unaligned policies. While organizations within Colorado and pundits shake their heads about their voting patterns, we have taken a different approach.

I have been working on our New Movers Project with the purpose of welcoming these movers and educating them about the policies that have made Colorado such an attractive place for so many people. These are some of the best conversations, too! We also connect them with ways to get involved in their communities as well.

What have you learned from your experiences as a GED that you’d like to pass on to other grassroots engagement directors?

BT: Understanding and utilizing Principles Based Management is critical to your success.

One of the dimensions that you should use the most is knowledge. Sharing ideas, best practices, and being open to challenges will ensure you employ the best tactics in the most efficient way.

You should also have the humility to share your failures as well. If you never fail, you aren’t taking any risks. Failure is part of the growth journey and shouldn’t deter you from trying something new.

Brittany Trujillo (second from left) on stage with other AFP staff and George Gibbs Award nominees.

May 25, 2023 – Orlando, Florida: Brittany Trujillo (second from left behind the podium) stands onstage with fellow George Gibbs Outstanding Engagement Director nominees at the AFP All-Staff conference.

What trends in engagement are you observing currently, and how are you adapting to them?

BT: In Colorado, some people are feeling demoralized about the direction of the state and questioning whether or not they can make a difference. Which can make someone extremely apprehensive about donating their time. I see my role as connecting them to a vision of a better state and what is possible if we offer real solutions to the state’s problems.

What was once smoldering embers of activism is now becoming a small flame, and I expect it to be a raging fire very soon. People are beginning to wake up to what is possible, and I am honored to be a part of this movement.