An Interview With Brianna Buch [Fresh Voice Friday #3]

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This post is the third installment in a series called Fresh Voice Friday, where we’re talking with inspiring leaders who are living meaningfully. So far we’ve heard from Merci Ngozi Best and Drea Herrera, two awesome individuals who motivate others with their takes on life.

Every time I hear a new story about what Brianna Buch is up to, my jaw inevitably drops. It’s like this chick can’t stop accomplishing things, like success just happens to her. But in actuality I know Brianna is always hard at work on a new project intended to change the world. She’s a mover and a shaker, and she’s got quite a bit of wisdom to share with others.

An Interview With Brianna Buch

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Who are you, anyway?

Half dreamer, half doer. Full of gumption and vision. I believe in vocations and I’m doing my best to find mine, then live it out – in the quiet moments and the not so quiet.

You’re suddenly in an elevator with your favorite author and s/he asks you your life story. What the heck do you say?!

I’d say it’s the story of an impish girl with extraordinary luck and an onus to do the right thing.

Let’s get deep, speed-dating style. What’s the purpose of life?

Each of us is given a certain quantity of ‘life’ – time, talents, energy, and resources. At the end, we are measured by what we did with what we were given.

Some people know from the day they were born what their purpose is, but I don’t think most of us are like that. I’m not. I think it takes work to find what makes you come alive and how you can use that. It’s about leaving things better than you found them in a way that only you can.

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What do you get passionate about?

Right now, I’m focused on improving healthcare and politics in our country.

How did you get interested in that?

Healthcare – I’ve been studying healthcare since high school, and have always been interested in how we best design a system to care for our population. America is unique because it’s a melting pot – our healthcare system mirrors this with so many organizations, insurances, products, doctors. Today, a lot of people slip through the cracks and a lot of money is wasted in the mix. Not good!

Our U.S. healthcare system largely came out of necessity rather than design. Because of this, there are competing priorities, a lot of overlap and a lot of cracks. We, as consumers, want the innovation that’s found in for profit businesses and the dignity of quality treatment for every patient no matter their ability to pay. Some organizations treat healthcare like a human right, some treat it like a business. In reality, it’s somewhere in between.

To me, it’s a human invention and it can be reinvented at any time – with the right work and the right people paying attention. I think we can do better.

Politics – I grew up in a family grounded in an ethos of service. Every generation has served our country and I grew up with their stories of sacrifice — and a constant reminder of what it takes to maintain the country we live in. I didn’t understand how this affected me growing up, but I see now that it was the root of my interest and involvement from an early age.

In college, I found my way to student and local government. I found a love for the democratic process on the local level — people from all different walks of life coming together to discuss the best way to achieve common good. The more I got involved, though, the more I found ways that democracy is broken – lack of trust, lack of engagement, lack of representation. I wanted to understand why, and then work to redefine civic engagement in our country.

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Anything you’re working on now?

Last summer, I built a project plan (with 11 other individuals) to hold a convention for our generation with the goal of finding common ground and committing towards solving problems over partisanship, dogma and special interests.

In June, I crowdfunded $2,026 to represent my congressional district there – 60 others are also crowdfunding their way there (with more on the way). You can check it out at a2026.com!

No false modesty, now. What’s your proudest achievement and why?

Honestly (this isn’t a copout!), it’s living day to day excellently. I’m a person with big dreams and big goals, but I think it’s harder to be excellent in the small things – running errands, or calling family or keeping the house clean. When I’m able to do these things with a good heart and a good head, even when no one is watching, that brings me a lot of pride. It’s the idea of doing small things with great love. Those little things – day in and day out – turn into the big things over time.

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Everyone gets it from somewhere. Who inspires you?

It’s cliche but my father is my biggest inspiration. Beyond that, I’ve had several mentors over the year who have put time and effort into my growth. They’ve been bosses, coworkers and friends.

Some are from history and I’ve learned from reading about them or their work. A few that come to mind are: Martin Luther King, William Wilberforce, Margaret Thatcher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Joan of Arc and Elizabeth the First.

From a faith perspective, I’ve learned a lot from St. Josemaria Escriva.

Top 3 things on your bucket list. Ready, go.

  1. Get as good as my mom on snapchat
  2. Complete the ice bucket challenge (whoops)
  3. Eliminate the middle seat on all airplanes – there is no need

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If you could communicate one message to a large group of people, what would it be?

Be a problem solver. If you want to live a good life and make a difference ask this question: What is the most important problem facing [my family, my community, my country, my world] ? Spend time trying to understand the problem before you figure out the solution. Then, when you’ve thought about it and studied it, get to work trying to solve it.

Expect life to be hard.

One of the best pieces of advice I received leaving college: You’ll never know the answers to every question, but be realistic and humble about what you know and don’t know, and couple it with a relentless pursuit of the truth. (Put simply: do your best to see things as they are, not as you wish for them to be).

This might sound limiting, but that’s the rub: can you get comfortable knowing you’re working toward an impossibly difficult vision, embrace how far away you might be from it, and take on the day-to-day grind of knocking barriers out of the way?

And now for the most important question of all. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

Cleaning vision. Or a babel fish so I could understand every language.

Isn’t she the most inspiring girl you’ve ever met? Thanks, Brianna, for taking out the time to share your perspectives with us! Send her your thoughts in the comments! If you’d like to find out more about what Brianna is up to or reach out to her, you can find her here:

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