Hinsdale native on a mission to help others

Briana Brandt Murray said Christmas Day for her family is a usually a low-key day at home. Christmas Eve? Not so much.

"We usually go to my sister-in-law's house nearby. My husband is the baby of 14 kids. My daughter is the 46th grandchild," Murray related, estimating a 65-70 person guest list. "It's large."

Growing up in Hinsdale, Murray fondly recalled the holiday season, seeing her St. Isaac Jogues School decorated for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the town festooned in Yuletide style.

As a working mother of three young children of her own - fourth-grader Luke, second-grader Camden and preschooler Harper - Murray said she endeavors to keep the season from being too hectic. The real estate agent said the quieter winter housing market allows for a more intentional pace.

"It's kind of my slow time. It's nice to be able to focus on my kids. It gives me that break to kind of just take the mornings slow and focus on them compared to the rest of the school year," she said.

Community service is an integral value for Murray, who in 2018 helped establish the Hinsdale Hospital Foundation's Associates Board to help engage the next generation in supporting the community's health center.

"It was a good way to get younger people involved," she said.

Two years ago she was invited to join the Wellness House Board of Directors. It's a role that carries deep personal motivation for Murray.

"My mom passed away from gallbladder cancer eight years ago. It's such a wonderful way to feel that I can honor my mom," said Murray, adding that her father is currently in remission from prostate cancer. "She had a huge philanthropic spirit. And obviously it's a good way to show my kids about the importance of giving back, and they can kind of have a memory of my mom in that form."

Last week she was asked to chair next year's Wellness House Ball, the agency's biggest fundraising event. Where does the she find the bandwidth?

"Parenthood and motherhood has made me realize that I can handle just about anything," Murray said.

She views real estate as a type of outreach, too, shepherding clients into the home from which they will become part of the community's fabric.

"It's really rewarding because it's more than just a purchase," Murray said. "They'll get to celebrate all their life moments in a home that you helped them pick."

Interior design is one of her favorite sidelights, and free time with her family

is precious.

"Anything I can do with them is special, like just watching a movie together on a Friday night," she said.

She especially looks forward to Harper serving as a flower girl at her cousin's wedding next month.

Murray views the upcoming Giving Tuesday as a natural expression of holiday joy.

"After Thanksgiving, it's a time to look around you and realize how lucky you really are," Murray said. "A good way to honor that, for me, is giving back to those families and cancer survivors and patients who may not be able to be around family for the holidays (because of treatment).

"We need to be grateful for the time we have," she added.

- story by Ken Knutson, photo by Jim Slonoff