Meet Hayley Burgin
Until Feb. 1, 2023, we were Group Health Foundation. This post was written under our former identity. To learn more about our new name, read our announcement here.
Hayley feels a true calling to the work of planning events. Her personal motto is: Where I am, you belong. She further explains, “And if you don’t belong there, I shouldn’t be there, either. I live my life this way and I plan my events this way.”
This motto comes from Hayley’s mother, who deeply influenced her. Hayley’s mother encouraged her to try new things and learn about different cultures. Hayley describes how her mother’s immense trust in her as a teenager helped her arrive at a broader, more inclusive meaning of community. Hayley is a proud Washingtonian born in Seattle and raised in Spokane, but she lived in Mexico for a year as a high school exchange student.
“When I think that my parents let 16-year-old me pack up for a year and fly to Mexico City, I can’t even fathom it. I won’t let my daughter drive to 7-11,” laughs Hayley. Being in a new environment was pivotal in how she started to understand community for herself.
Hayley’s understanding of family and community transformed after experiencing Mexican culture and continues to inform how she moves through the world. “When I went to Mexico and lived there, it’s where I found my idea of what family looks like, what community looks like, and it’s where I found my faith,” she shares.
In Mexico, Hayley spent weekends at large gatherings with her homestay family, their extended relatives, and close family friends. For Hayley, this was a more expansive concept of family and community than she was familiar with growing up with a single mother, but she also notes that this wider notion of family was an important element missing from her life in Spokane. With her roots now firmly planted in Spokane and raising her own children where she grew up, Hayley embraces having a broader community to call her own in Eastern Washington that includes chosen family and friends she’s made along the way.
Event planning is one way that Hayley cultivates community. It’s important for her to connect with people as she plans events and to know what impact a meeting or interaction should have on people. “I try to understand what the underlying belief is in the moment and I hope that it helps me plan better events because I’m not just looking at the logistics, I’m looking at the human desire behind it,” explains Hayley.
As events associate, Hayley supports internal and external events, including meetings, events, retreats, convenings, and conferences. She also makes sure the foundation lives its values by working with businesses, contractors, and consultants who reflect Washington’s many communities. Hayley has built support networks and strong relationships through her work in hospitality and event management, especially in the realm of wedding planning. She’s an avid supporter of women-owned businesses and looks forward to learning more about local vendors across the state as she embarks on her journey at GHF.
Hayley is already thinking about how she can reframe the conversation with peers in her industry to encourage more support of businesses owned by Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. “I’m excited for this challenge,” she says, “and my personal goal is to have that be something I can do in my field.”