Hispanic Heritage Month: How Caroline Griffith Found Joy in Her Job Through Her Culture

Caroline Griffith credits her diverse family background for the joy she has found in her career.

Griffith is a member of the Employee Life Cycle Team in the SFPUC’s Human Resource Services department (HRS), where she updates and maintains both SFPUC and City and County of SF (CCSF) systems to reflect employees’ employment status. Her main responsibilities include processing various employee requests, including conviction history reviews, administrative leaves, verification of employment, starting salary negotiations, and probation status for new employees. Her favorite tasks include hosting a virtual meet and greet where she and her team welcome and introduce new employees and those transferring from other CCSF departments to the SFPUC. In addition, Griffith has enjoyed being a member of the HRS all-hands planning committee, where she has helped to organize bi-monthly staff meetings to share updates, attend workshops, and host safety tailgate training.

Griffith’s mother is of German descent and she grew up in Oakland, California. Her father is of Spanish, Indigenous, and Italian descent and he grew up in Lima, Peru. “My maternal grandmother moved my mom from Oakland to Lima to attend High School and live with a family she knew from her brother, who married a Peruvian-American nurse,” she shared. “This family cared for my mother and treated her like their daughter.”

In 1980, Griffith’s mother graduated High School from Colegio María Reina in Lima. The school endorsed Catholic values and met the equivalency of a high school diploma in the United States. During high school, Griffith’s parents dated, and then ten years later, gave birth to her in California. “My mom and grandmother loved the different aspects of Peru, including the family-oriented and Catholic-based culture, good food, and lively society,” she said.

Griffith shared that her cultural background has contributed towards her work in human resource services. “For example, in Peru, people are generally hospitable, warm, kind, and welcoming. When I collaborate with colleagues in HRS, I strive to show respect and kindness towards people and work with others to solve problems and complete projects,” she explained. “Whether giving credit to a colleague for their work or delivering sincere appreciation when I receive assistance, I aim to maintain mutually beneficial relationships with colleagues.”

In reflection of Hispanic Heritage Month, Griffith shared it is a time to celebrate the diversity and contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Americans. “It is important to recognize the variety of cultures, regions, and racial backgrounds amongst Latinx and Hispanics,” she said. “Generally, Hispanics are connected through the Spanish language. People who identify as Latinx can be Hispanic, people from Latin America (not including Spain), those from Portugal or Portuguese-speaking Brazil. There are over 20 countries in Central and South America, and I think the diversity amongst Hispanic and Latinx people is a beautiful part of life.”

Caroline Griffith is a member of the Employee Life Cycle Team in the SFPUC’s Human Resource Services department.