Four women were honored at the 29th annual Outstanding Women of New Hampshire Awards ceremony on March 4 in the Alumni Center.
Keene State Senior Briae Robillard was one of the extraordinary honorees who fit this year’s theme of “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence.” Double majoring in Geology and Chemistry-Physics, Robillard is currently the 2019 Class president and is involved in the geology club. Robillard enjoys reading books, writing, running, hiking, and being outside.
Coordinator of Multicultural Student Support and Success and Equity Education Kya Roumimper, who was in the Outstanding Women of NH committee, says Robillard really fit the theme.
According to Roumimper, “the committee chooses the nominees based on a rubric that we use to assess all the nominations, how well someone fits the theme, and the work that they’ve done.” Robillard received multiple nominations, according to Roumimper. “Briae has done a lot of wonderful work around helping or assisting domestic violence survivors.”
Robillard is the founder of a non-profit organization called Project InspiHER while maintaining a full credit course load. The non-profit helps local teen girls become financially independent and learn leadership skills through online entrepreneurial endeavors. Robillard says her organization “teaches young girls in high school how to start their own businesses, so if they are teen-moms, not academically inclined to go to college, can’t afford to go to college or if they are financially dependent on someone else, teen pregnancy […] they can get out of it by starting online businesses from wherever they are [be]cause they just need the wi-fi.”
Robillard’s end goal is to be an entrepreneur full time. An abusive relationship in her first year directed her towards entrepreneurship, she said. In order to bring herself back up from a low mental place, Robillard spent a lot of time in social media watching motivational videos where she also ended up learning about entrepreneurship. Robillard said, “Probably for six months, I lived like a hermit just learning all the stuff backward and forward living off of Google.”
On the night of the awards, Debora Robillard, mother of Briae Robillard, said she was very happy for her daughter. She said, “[Briae] works hard for everything she does, she’s always willing to take challenge… She puts herself out there, that’s what makes me proud. When she wins, of course I am proud, but I am more proud that she tries.” Debora Robillard said that she is thrilled for her daughter that all of her hard work is being rewarded.
Briae is not just an entrepreneur but also runs her own podcast, “Slay in your Lane.” Robillard said “the podcast is more personal however, I do love it and I use it as a platform to support the organization (Project InspireHER).” The podcast is available on iTunes and Google Play and will soon be on Spotify. Her podcast focuses on self-help and tools and tactics to be productive. Robillard is trying to rebrand her podcast to make it more educational regarding how to start up a business. Robillard is also publishing her first book this coming June.
Robillard said networking, community, and using the resources that you have or you don’t have and applying them are some of her primary takeaways from Keene State College. Right after graduation, she wants to work for petroleum geology. She said, “It’s a good income, great benefits, can pay off my loans, things like that, but I really want to work on my online projects as much as possible.” However, her end goal is to still to become an entrepreneur. Out of many of her goals, she aims to be in Ford 30 under 30 in the upcoming ten years.
Describing her experience of the award night, Robillard said, “I was with such amazing women and I was like I need to do more. It was a great networking opportunity that I don’t think I would have had otherwise, a platform to build on. So yeah, it was humbling, and exciting and pushed me to get up this morning and be like, ‘Go.’”
Puja Thapa can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org