Alumni in Focus: Brianna Kilcullen, BBA '11

Combining a passion for activism and drive for entrepreneurship, Brianna Kilcullen, BBA ‘11, serves as founder and CEO of sustainable towel brand Anact.

June 26, 2023

Brianna Kilcullen Headshot

What is your current professional role and why does it excite you? 

“Currently, I'm the founder and CEO of Anact, an activism and sustainable towel brand made out of natural plant fibers. I love being a founder because I love to build and grow professionally and personally. Being a founder, there’s never a dull moment and there are always new obstacles and challenges coming down the pipeline, which help me evolve and be a better person. For example, right now, I am super excited about a collaboration we are doing with Patagonia in Austin, Texas next month. I'm scared out of my mind to host an event of this size, but I also love the opportunity to learn, stretch myself, and create impact in our community.”

Was there a standout course, professor, or organization from your time as a student that inspired your career path?

“Dr. Liesl Riddle! She's my girl! I took her course ‘Managing Developing Countries’ in my last semester at GW and it was a game changer. I absolutely inhaled the content and her teachings. That's where I learned that there were jobs in corporate social responsibility in the private sector that needed people like me who understand business but have a conscious mindset to lead their social and environmental programs. I have since maintained a relationship with Dr. Riddle and work with her in various ways to this day!” 

Did you receive a scholarship at GW? If yes, how did your scholarship help you succeed?

“Having a scholarship to GW allowed me to attend a school outside of Florida and be in an ecosystem where I could build my career early on instead of after graduation. For example, while at GW, I interned as a government contractor, which created an opportunity to get a research assistant position as well as my top secret clearance working for the U.S. Secret Service.”

What is a piece of advice you would offer to someone seeking to pursue your field of work?

“Connect your own dots to your own story and why and play the cards that you have. If you're interested in sustainability, it's best to implement sustainability into real world needs in the economy instead of trying to create a sustainability role in silo.”

What accomplishment are you most proud of personally or professionally and why? 

“Being a keynote at Harvard University earlier this year was a huge personal and professional accomplishment that I didn't see coming. It was such an honor to share with my family and friends all of my work over the years in the textile industry and be at such a legendary campus. 

“Overall though, I am most proud that I have never given up on myself or my dreams and that I am constantly willing to put myself into uncomfortable situations to strengthen my skillsets. I am proud to create a sustainable and profitable business that provides jobs for people who value the same things I value in this world and believe in the vision of Anact.” 

How do you give back to the GW community?

“Now that I am living in Austin, Texas, I am working with fellow alumni to create IRL events to bring the community together and learn what everyone is up to and how we can support each other personally and professionally. I also love to come back to GW and speak to students and mentor. Most recently, I was a judge for GW's Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship program led by Kate Heath. She's doing a fantastic job creating entrepreneurship at GW and inspiring students.”