During the peak of the pandemic, most people started a new hobby or adopted a pet. UNC junior Devon Triplett took a different route and started a nonprofit: Bridging the Gap.
BTG is a national 501(c)(3) that launched in January 2021. The organization’s website says the group is committed to increasing representation in the business community and providing students with unprecedented economic opportunities. Triplett said he hopes BTG can change the business community by identifying, cultivating and connecting BIPOC’s future business leaders.
Triplett said it was only his first year at UNC when he created the vision for the company from the comfort of his childhood bedroom. With the help of his “underdog” mentality of being a first-generation college student, he set out to make an impact in the community.
“For me, it was just getting to college and wanting desperately for some of those opportunities and being willing to work hard to make it happen,” he said.
Triplett admitted he faced some challenges and doubts along the way. His love of helping people and consulting, which he said his grandparents instilled in him, gave him endurance.
He said his grandfather was a lawyer who represented disadvantaged people and therefore did not make much money. But, like Triplett, he was primarily concerned with helping others.
When Triplett was in high school, two of his cousins died of opioid addiction. That, he said, prompted him to create and lead a summit to help reduce the stigma of addiction. This summit was the first of his leadership ventures.
The summit was a success and was even featured on several media outlets, including ABC13 and Blue Ridge Public Radio.
“I had seen the work I was able to do in high school,” Triplett said. “And I think that’s where I was able to overcome limiting beliefs.”
BTG currently represents 52 universities and has four associations in a network of over 130 students.
Eugenia Trakal, BTG’s current COO, discovered BTG through LinkedIn in late 2021.
“I saw how many followers they had and I saw the impact they had, just starting in January 2021,” Trakal said. “The impact they had in just one year, I said, ‘This is absolutely crazy,’ and that’s why I wanted to get involved.”
Trakal is currently a sophomore at Arizona State University and credits BTG with much of his success. She said the company not only helped her prepare for her career and land her dream internship at Goldman Sachs, but gave her the motivation and confidence she needed to apply.
The most rewarding thing for Triplett, he said, is seeing his BTG family succeed. He said his group chat would celebrate every time a person got an internship or job offer.
“So it’s really fun and a lot of them credit BTG with their success, which is really amazing,” he said.
He continues to build on his mission at BTG, as the company recently began working to support students to pursue higher education, starting with deferred MBA programs.
Kana Cummings, the group’s former COO, is a Stanford graduate student who was recently accepted into Harvard Business School’s deferred MBA program.
“I’m grateful to BTG and Admit Soon for giving me this opportunity,” Cummings said. “So hopefully, in the future, many more BTG students will also be able to take advantage of these resources and get into the schools of their choice.”
Triplett said he is equally grateful and hopes BTG will continue to help more students and diversify the business community.
“I think what we’re doing now is great. We’re keeping a close-knit family feel, so we call it the BTG family, which is something I’m very proud of,” Triplett said.
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