We had the good fortune of connecting with Devika Brij and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Devika, how does your business help the community?
Brij the Gap Consulting partners with organizations focused on advancing, empowering and retaining underrepresented minority employees and turning them into the future leaders. Some of my clients have included Facebook, Reddit, Converse, etc. My own challenging experiences in the corporate environment influenced my decision to step away from my career as a Sales leader in large tech companies (LinkedIn, Google, etc) and focus on advancing my community instead. I created Brij the Gap Consulting in 2019 and have helped thousand of BIPOC individuals attain their dream careers and economic opportunity. I’m grateful for 2020 despite how heartbreaking and exhausting it was (has been and still is) discussing social and racial injustices and its impact to BIPOC individuals in their careers. At the height of these conversations, companies finally started to realize the huge gap and specific challenges underrepresented minorities face daily, especially the Black community. Minority individuals also started to realize that they need help navigating these challenges if they want to attain their vision for their professional (and personal) lives. That’s where I come in. I provide my career advancement program, BrandU, to companies who want to retain their minority talent and turn them into their next leaders. BrandU provides personalized coaching and five weeks of career advancement content including creating your professional brand, owning your narrative and influencing decision makers, creating your personal board of directors, etc while factoring in challenges minorities face in the workplace every day. I pride myself on providing prescriptive strategies that helped me transform my career from a junior level marketer to a sales leader and increase my salary 6X in 6 years while navigating the challenges of being a minority in the workplace. As a continue to expand my services to companies and individuals, I’m creating a better experience for communities of color to win in their workplaces, their professional lives and economically. My vision is to see everyone I work with share what they’ve learned to their friends and family. That is how we can create impact for minorities everywhere and win together.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
What sets BrandU apart from other programs is the career advancement content and personalized coaching combination. My pet peeve when I was in the corporate world was going to conferences, panels, signing up for workshops and all the information was highly motivational, but never applicable. I would go to the drawing board ready to implement the advice I received and realized I didn’t know where to start. So, when creating my programs, masterclasses and coaching services, I ensured the strategies I would teach would be digestible and immediately applicable. I provide my clients with the exact, prescriptive methods to help them attain their career goals. DEI programs are popular right now given the height of social and racial injustice conversations, but few serve the individuals who need the “how to” strategies to actually move the needle in their careers. I also meet with my clients weekly to support them through the mental shift needed to implement the out-of-the-box strategies I offer. I don’t believe in the one size fits all approach. I’m here to deliver the tools, resources and strategies that matter to my clients, while customizing them to the specific challenges minorities face. Simultaneously, I’m teaching the companies they work for how to better support them and set them up for success. Whether I’m working with individuals specifically or coaching leadership teams on how to create an environment where minorities can excel, my clients feel heard and seen. I know their names. I know what they’re experiencing; and, that personal, relational approach is one I will always take.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We would be learning about Atlanta together given I’m new to this wonderful city. Exploring with friends would make it that much better. Given I’m a city girl who is relocating from Toronto, Canada, city views and drinks on a rooftop would definitely be on the agenda. Also, any ATL restaurant got spots would be on my list. I hear The Slutty Vegan is a good one!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would not have been able to take the terrifying jump from a successful leader in tech to business owner, starting from scratch in a space where advancement challenges for underrepresented minorities was ignored, without the village of support around me; but, most important of them all, I give all credit to God who opens every door and gives me what I need to walk through them successfully. My mom is a single mother who worked several jobs to raise us three girls in the Bay Area solo. When I close my eyes, I can still see the exhaustion on her face from those days. Seeing me excel in the tech space gave her comfort and joy, and I’m sure, a sense of pride knowing that my professional trajectory was secure. It would have been easy for her to discourage me from leaving my safe, high salary, role to start a business from scratch, but her belief in me enabled me to courageously step towards my God-given purpose. My sister’s and my mother’s love and words of affirmation have kept me going, even in moments where I thought I would not make it. I’m also blessed to have a tribe of strong, fearless, brilliant women around me who constantly cheer for me, help me process challenges, pray for me and remind me that I CAN and WILL accomplish my mission. There are too many to name but I thank God for these queens.