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Next Up Columbus 2022: Brittany Stricklen-Hillyard

Brittany Stricklen-Hillyard
Brittany Stricklen-Hillyard

Photo courtesy of Brittany Stricklen-Hillyard

Interview by Derek Grosso

Name: Brittany Stricklen-Hillyard
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Age: 36
Profession: Development Director at Star House
Neighborhood: Westgate
Education: B.A in International Studies from Bowling Green State University, Masters in Public Administration from Ohio University
Community Involvement: Association of Fundraising Professionals, National Philanthropy Day Committee, Columbus Early Learning Centers Development Committee
Quote: “Look for the helpers. You can always find people who are helping.” – Fred Rodgers
Connect: LinkedIn | Facebook

Give us a snapshot of your career path: Throughout my career, I have always sought out opportunities that allow me to make a difference and create change in my community. I have had the privilege of working with a multitude of non-profit organizations that provide human services in Columbus. Fortunately, I have been able to grow in my fundraising career at Star House to support the mission and youth experiencing homelessness in our community.

What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the workweek?
For me, it is the benefit of working for an organization, like Star House that provides critical services to youth experiencing homelessness, whether that is 24/7 drop-in services, clinical services, case management, and transitional housing for youth. Knowing that I am providing a need in our community through fundraising and brand awareness, allows me to feel needed every day.

What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way?
I have been blessed with many mentors and leaders in my life. I feel the biggest advice they have given me is to trust the process and your gut, and know everything will work out.

What do you do or where do you go to unwind?
I love exploring the city with my family and friends, whether at the Columbus Zoo, COSI, or the Franklin Park Conservatory. Columbus is a great city and has so much to offer.

What are a few of your favorite local spots in Columbus?
Third Way Cafe, Tommy’s Diner, and HOYO (in the North Market).

When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
I knew from a young age that I wanted to help people and knew whatever I did I wanted to have a positive impact on others.

What books or podcasts are you reading/listening to right now?
Currently, I am reading The Sum of Us by Heather Mcgee and Northern Spy by Flynn Berry. I haven’t listened to many podcasts lately but listen to NPR every day.

What does it mean to you to be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award?
I am honored and humbled by this opportunity to be recognized for my experiences. I feel lucky and blessed to be on this list and to be with so many inspiring young professionals.

If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
The pulse of Columbus is growth and diversity. Columbus is expanding quickly to become a more welcoming and progressive city. Everywhere you look you can see new opportunities and I hope for the future this includes everyone.


The Next Up Columbus Awards highlight emerging leaders who are connectors and ambassadors in central Ohio and who are making a positive impact on the future of Columbus. The Columbus Young Professionals Club would like to offer special thanks to our 2022 co-presenters, Discover Financial, Ohio Dominican University and Spectrum for their support of this year’s awards program. Meet the entire “Class of 2022” »

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