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Sowing the Seeds for Orchids & Onions Success with Alicia Griffiths

When Alicia Griffiths returned to San Diego after 10 years in London, she didn’t know what was in store. But it’s clear she’s landed in the right place.

With 14 years of public relations experience to her name, Griffiths is the newest addition to the Orchids & Onions team — a public relations volunteer at the San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF). Having worked for tech startups in San Francisco before leading communications campaigns in London for the likes of L’Oreal, Salesforce and Mastercard, Griffiths brings a keen PR and marketing awareness to the role.

Craving a career change, Griffiths returned home to San Diego in 2016 with her husband, Laurence. The daughter of an interior decorator, design long has played a pivotal role in Griffiths’ life. Feeling a creative itch, she wanted to give it a try herself.

“I did my interior design schooling while raising two kids, and here in San Diego, I wanted to combine both of those passions,” she says. “The San Diego Architectural Foundation allows me to do that.”

For Orchids & Onions, Griffiths serves as a liaison between the committee and local media, inspiring them to promote the annual people’s choice awards (and SDAF’s signature event) in their communications. She also provides strategic input on the event’s wider marketing strategy.

Although Orchids & Onions is a San Diego tradition of 40-plus years, Griffiths was new to it, having spent so many years overseas.

“What I love about my role is the ability to help the community see why design matters,” she says. “I love the aesthetics of design, but it actually has a concrete benefit for people that they’re not always aware of. It impacts quality of life, well-being, how we interact with the community and workplace. And I think all of that is really impactful.”

As a San Diego institution, Orchids & Onions introduces the public to exceptional (and questionable) design where they live, work and play. Part of Griffiths’ role is to nurture the public’s appreciation for design.

She’s doing it at a time when the 2020 Orchids & Onions awards will be different from any other in its history. For the first time, O&O, as some call it, will be virtual. That will allow the awards, long considered an exclusive celebration, to reach a much wider audience.

“With it being virtual, Orchids & Onions 2020 will be really unique,” Griffiths says. “There’s no blueprint for this type of event. I embrace the challenges and opportunities in bringing more people into the SDAF fold as we face a pandemic. It feels like there is no limit to what we can do, and that’s exciting.”

Have you nominated a project for Orchids & Onions yet? The deadline to nominate is July 10, so nominate a project while you still can!

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San Diego Architectural Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to education and promotion of outstanding architecture, planning and urban design throughout the San Diego region.

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