Behind The #BBATX Grants: Meet Richelle Ouellette
In April 2019, we launched a grants program, providing funding opportunities to businesses that uplift our core tenets of arts empowerment, diversity and equality, creative entrepreneurship, professional and personal curiosity and collaboration.
Since that launch, we’ve been collecting applications from women and nonbinary leaders across Texas for three $500 to $1,000 micro-grants, each funded by businesses in our community who want to offer others the opportunity to come up.
As applications come to a close tomorrow, we’re excited to introduce you to the voices behind this program who have made it possible. Meet Richelle Ouellette, a serial entrepreneur and the founder of the Get It, Girl grant.
ABOUT THE FUNDER
With a background in corporate events, Richelle dove into freelance work after simultaneously breaking up with her boyfriend, quitting her job, voiding her lease, and selling the majority of her belongings in one particularly rash summer. With literally nothing to lose and a heart full of hustle, Richelle grew Alchemy Events into a six figure business that less than three years later produces national events and employs dozens of contractors. She has an obvious passion for entrepreneurship and once started 30 businesses in 30 days just for the fun of it.
what were your motivations for contributing to the start of #BBATX's grant programs? What motivates you to invest in the community around you?
Richelle Ouellette: I have enjoyed significant privilege and been the beneficiary of many incredible opportunities for mentorships, internships, and things like free rent at multiple points in my life—all of which contributed significantly to my success. I wanted to donate to the #BBATX grant program because I am on mission to offer similar stepladders to other women-identified entrepreneurs. I believe as we raise up others (especially those who have historically been marginalized) by providing access to the knowledge and/or tools to get started, the result is a powerful blend of new ideas and innovation that bring exponential improvement to our entire community and economy.
which of #BBATX's tenets speak most to you? Why?
Ouellette: #BBATX embodies the power of community, and I love it. I attended one of the first meet-ups within a couple weeks of taking the plunge into full-time freelancing. There, I met the woman I hired to be my first coach, which greatly impacted my early results. At the same event, I met another woman who today is one of my best friends in Austin. These are minimal, though hardly isolated, examples. I love the power of people coming together with a shared vision to connect, learn, share, and grow. The ripple effect of this is unimaginable.
what kind of support do you wish you had had when you were just starting out?
Ouellette: As I mentioned, I truly thank my first business coach. I am grateful that I hired one when I didn't think I could afford it. (Shout out to my mom who paid for the first month's fee because it was "cheaper than grad school.") I am grateful for the general outpouring of support I received, but it would have been wonderful to have more direct guides to success and concrete models for what I was trying to create. (Although, looking back, I probably learned more quickly by having to seek out those things on my own.)
you'll be advising the recipient of your grant. what are you hoping to share with that person? what can they learn from you?
Ouellette: I hope they learn confidence. I hope they can get a grasp on the power of planning for a vision, then creating it. I am excited to help someone take what they have dreamed of and create it into a real, tangible, profitable thing.
how do you exercise personal and professional patience?
Ouellette: Yikes. This is honestly one of my biggest flaws—I’m terribly impatient! I am constantly working on waiting, trusting that most great things take time. I am always reminded of how important this is looking back—at old goals, brainstorms, to-do lists. Seeing that I now have what I once wanted always teaches me to be more patient with the process, because with persistence the results will come.
when do you know it's a "yes?" when do you know it's a "no?"
Ouellette: It’s hard to describe, but I have always had decent intuition when it comes to trusting my gut. I sometimes have a hard time saying no, but I look for the “f*ck yeses,” letting anything short of that sit on the back burner. When I follow the ideas and projects that light a fire inside me, they tend to work out pretty well. Usually, the things that I am less passionate about are the "no's" or the "not right now" ideas and I try my best to honor that.
what are your thoughts on concepts of work/life balance?
Ouellette: It seems we are being asked to balance all things, even balance. I try to structure my environment so that my work and life blend nicely together—it's a lot less stressful that way. The key for me has been learning to listen to my body, mind and heart. When I need to slow down, I respect that need and take more time for myself and my relationships. When I'm feeling motivated to work, I embrace the flow and focus on my goals. It ebbs and flows, but I wouldn't want it any other way.
how do you take care of yourself?
Ouellette: I make promises to myself and I keep them. I surround myself with wonderful people who energize me. I honor my creativity and big ideas and pursue them with passion. I act according to my beliefs. I follow my curiosity. These are the things that bring me the most joy, and when I’m joyful I am my healthiest and best self.
what's something you've unlearned lately that you're grateful for?
Ouellette: This is such a great question! Both learning and unlearning are a lifelong process. Recently, I have been unlearning that my worth or value as a citizen of humanity is in any way tied to my ability to achieve, my financial success, my weight/body/how I dress, etc. As women, we are taught messages so early in life that we have to be, look or act a certain way to be seen, and I'm really working on unlearning any of those beliefs and just being myself.