We had the good fortune of connecting with Brittany Franklin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brittany, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
“The answer is always no unless you ask.” The answer is already determined for you if you don’t get out of your comfort zone and ask the question- whether that is asking for funds from a new donor, asking for a discount or anything else in life. If you want something, more than likely you are going to have to ask for it. It gives me confidence!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
In 2007, I started my career in the oil and gas industry while simultaneously launching Sky High. For nearly 10 years I worked full time in the pipeline sector, and giving every other waking minute to growing Sky High. This included expanding Sky High’s footprint to three new regions across the state of Texas. I’m most of proud of the decision I made in 2018 to take a full time position as CEO of my life’s work – ending Childhood Cancer at Sky High. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my faith and the incredible mentors that I am still grateful to have in my life today. They’ve helped me both professionally and personally to overcome the many obstacles along the way. It definitely hasn’t come easy but as they say “Nothing worth having comes easy,” and there’s nothing more that adds fuel to fire than facing a challenge head on. Through the years, I’ve learned that mentorship is vital to your growth. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and share the same core values. Also, I’ve learned that work ethic trumps all – even the highest of degrees. Because I run a charity, it’s a common misconception that this was all handed to me. However, I grew up poor in a small town and have overcome more adversities than most. The early stages of my life were the building blocks of my “never give up” attitude and passion to do things bigger than myself.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Wow there are so many places I know and love in Houston! I’d have to start with visiting the heart of downtown in the most authentic Mexican restaurant, Irma’s, where Irma herself is still working and is the head chef. And I promise you her son Tony will whip up the best margarita on the rocks too. For homemade bolognese, North Italia is the place to go. North Italia specifically holds a special place in my heart as that is the location where I was engaged and celebrated after. When I stop by I’m always treated like family and that is a big plus for me. When I’m feeling homesick and craving cajun food, Eunice is where you can find me. Chef Drake is from my part of the country, Eunice, LA. They have the best happy hour and fresh oysters in the city. For a more casual day where you can enjoy the Houston skyline, I’d recommend Buffalo Bayou Brewery and then after driving into a movie at the Drive In at Sawyer Yards. If you’re feeling like coffee and sweets, then Common Bond Cafe & Bistro is your spot. The variety is mind-blowing! Last but not certainly not least, one of my absolute favorites things to do in the city is wake up, go to Church and enjoy Sunday brunch as one of my two favorite spots, A’Bouzy or Brasserie 19. Not a whole lot beats a glass of crisp champagne and truffle fries. When it’s time to escape and bustle of the city life, my absolute favorite thing to do is drive to the Texas coast and enjoy fishing some of the best speckled trout fishing in the world. Nothing beats watching God’s sunrise while you’re on the water.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
While there are dozens, there are two people that immediately come to mind when I think about the success I’ve had in terms of building Sky High. When I was first introduced to the Childhood Cancer community, it was through a small organization “Beanies for St. Jude” ran by Billie Menard. Billie opened my eyes to a world that I didn’t know existed – and that was children fighting cancer. This later led to hosting a fundraiser of my own while I was a senior year of college in Lafayette, LA. Without Billie’s leadership at such a young age, my life would have been completely different. Christl Mafouz was also an intricate part of the success of our first fundraiser that raised and allowed us to donate $50,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Soon after we officially became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Sky High. For 10 years Christl gave her time as a volunteer while she was also growing her own for profit business. Now looking back after 14 years of running Sky High, we wouldn’t be where we are today without their leadership and help.
Joe Reuss, Quy Tran Photography and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.