Meet Chelsea Borruano
Social Entrepreneur, Mental Health Advocate, Marketing Professional Founder & Executive Director, You Aren’t Alone Project
Communications Director, St. James Episcopal Church
Freelance Marketing Consultant, Gravel Road Marketing
Counseling Intern, Youth Oasis
Tell us a little about your Baton Rouge Story. What brought you to Baton Rouge?
I was born and raised in West Baton Rouge, earned my undergraduate degree in mass communication from LSU, and worked in Baton Rouge since 2014. After way too many hours sitting in traffic on the Intracoastal, I officially moved to the Garden District area two years ago and love it there.
Tell us more about how you’re involved in Baton Rouge (job or organizations).
I would consider myself an aspiring social entrepreneur. For the last ten or so years, I have been working in the marketing field in various roles, from marketing assistant at BSW, to marketing manager for the BREC park system, and project manager at MESH. I currently work as the communications director for St. James Episcopal Church downtown on a part-time basis. Two years ago, I shifted gears and started a nonprofit called the You Aren’t Alone Project, aimed at building a support network for mental health here in Baton Rouge and beyond so that no one ever feels alone. That project inspired me to go back to school last January to pursue a career in mental health counseling. I am currently attending NYU virtually, while juggling working for the church and my nonprofit, doing some freelance marketing work through my company, Gravel Road Marketing, along with a podcast called Along the Gravel Road where I interview people and professionals about their mental health journeys or expertise. I also just started an internship with Youth Oasis providing individual and group counseling for the youth in the transitional living program.
In the last few years, I have been active in several leadership roles within Forum 225 that have given me incredibly valuable opportunities to make genuine connections and gain experience. In turn, that helped me to start and grow the You Aren’t Alone Project and continue to make an impact in the community. I got involved with BRAC after joining Forum 225 and served as ambassador for the organization for a year where I was able to get plugged into local businesses and incredible people who are working to build a better Baton Rouge.
What is your favorite thing about Baton Rouge?
My favorite part about Baton Rouge is how collaborative the local community is. Almost every project I’ve worked on would not have been as successful or even possible without the support of several different entities and minds coming together to make it happen. When I decided to launch my nonprofit in 2019 with the You Aren’t Alone Live Art Event, I saw the power of that collaboration firsthand. As we get ready to host our second annual art event, I am once again inspired and encouraged by the community support we’ve already received, and I am looking forward to continuing to build valuable partnerships.
What is your dream for Baton Rouge?
My dream is to see Baton Rouge lean into its incredible diversity and talent. It’s no secret that we struggle with divisiveness and inequity, but there are also so many passionate changemakers that are doing amazing things here. I see them, or us, as the future of making Baton Rouge better for everyone.
How are young professionals like yourself shaping Baton Rouge?
I believe in the young professional network of Baton Rouge. They’re not afraid to make noise, push back and challenge the status quo. And that’s exactly what we need if we’re going to create a Baton Rouge where people are proud to live, work, and visit.
What would you say to someone considering a move to Baton Rouge?
You get out of Baton Rouge what you put into it. There are so many great organizations here to get plugged into, whether you’re looking to make an impact, learn, grow, or just enjoy good food and great company, there is something for you here. You just have to jump in to experience it.
What is your Baton Rouge favorite?
– Place to eat: Soji, Anthony’s Italian Deli, Umami, Chow Yum Phat, El Tio Taquerias, Elsie’s Plate & Pie
– Place to hang out: French Truck Coffee, Blend Wine Bar, Mid-City Beer Garden, LSU campus on game days, biking the LSU Lakes
– Place to capture the perfect Instagram pic: Explore Baton Rouge steps downtown, Soji bathroom, any and all Walls Project murals throughout the city
– Place to people watch: LSU on game days
– Place to network: Forum 225, BRAC
– Way to give back: You Aren’t Alone Project, Youth Oasis – Event: You Aren’t Alone Live Art Event, Forum 225 Uncorked, Club Blue Great Futures Gala, Spanish Town Ball, Wearin’ of the Green Parade (fingers crossed for a return of Mardi Gras & parades in 2022!)