COLORS NW ARTICLE
G3 & Associates
Date founded: 2003
Services: Public Relations/Business Consultants.
Specializes in Government Affairs and Community Outreach
1425 Broadway #42
Seattle, WA 98122
For George Griffin, it’s all about "making connections."
Ask him what he does for a living, and that phrase is likely to pop up.
As a business owner, you would expect him to extol the virtues of being connected.
But Griffin, the sole owner of Seattle-based G3 & Associates, is in the business
of public affairs consulting. For him, and for the type of work he does, making
connections is more than simply fattening his Rolodex.
“We specialize in government relations,” Griffin
explains, “as well as outreach to communities of color.”
This can be any number of things: helping a corporate
client become a better community partner, assisting community
organizations in wending their way through layers of city bureaucracy,
or bringing disparate groups together to find solutions to civic problems
before they land in a courtroom. “I’m sort of a middleman,” he says “bringing
the right people together to solve problems.”
While the inner workings of city government are something many people would
find perplexing and impenetrable, it’s a place inside which Griffin navigates quite comfortably.
He has worked for the Port of Seattle and Seattle Water
Department, cut his civic administrative teeth as deputy chief of staff for
then-Mayor Norm Rice and later as regional administrator for the District of
Columbia Housing Authority. About five years ago, he began managing public affairs
projects for Seattle communications firm Gogerty Stark Marriott. It was there that
his affinity for public affairs work solidified, along with a growing desire to be
out on his own. About a year ago, he made the break with his founding of G3.
As an African-American business owner, he stands out a bit more than he would prefer –
especially inside the world of public affairs. “I really do wish I had more
competition in this business from other people of color,” he says,
convinced that more would be attracted to the world of public affairs if
they had a deeper understanding of what it entails. “A lot of people think
of this type of work as only PR, and don’t realize there’s a lot of
strategic planning involved, trying to find solutions so that people on both
sides don’t feel as if they’ve been stepped on.”
Finding those solutions is often a balancing act, and
Griffin is quick to concede that his candor regarding race and the economic
disparity across those lines doesn't always please some colleagues or
potential clients — just as his pro-business outlook has rankled some
critics on the left. But to Griffin, the two worlds don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
“You fight the battle on many different fronts,” he says, asserting his
belief that changing institutionalized problems starts by sitting at the
table, often beside others who may not see those problems exactly as you do.
So, to George Griffin and G3, public affairs consulting is about being
many things: a diplomat, moderator, entrepreneur and civic volunteer.
These roles are all essential to making a living out of bringing
people together, out of making connections. And, a fat Rolodex doesn’t
– Peter Graff