During the outbreak, many people took up new hobbies or adopted pets. UNC junior Devon Triplett took a different route and founded a nonprofit organization: Closing the Gap.
BTG is a national 501(c)(3) launched in January 2021. The organization’s website says the group is committed to increasing its representation in the business community and creating unprecedented economic opportunity for students. Triplett said he hopes BTG can transform the business community by identifying, developing and connecting future BIPOC business leaders.
Triplett said it was his freshman year at UNC when he created the vision for the company in the comfort of his childhood bedroom. Being a first generation student, he is prepared to make an impact in the community with the help of the “from below” mentality.
“For me, it was just coming to college and really wanting some of these opportunities and being willing to work hard to make it happen,” he said.
Triplett said he faced some challenges and doubts along the way. His love for helping and counseling people, which he said was instilled in him by his grandparents, gave him his perseverance.
He said that his grandfather was a lawyer who represented disadvantaged individuals and therefore did not earn much money. But, like Triplett, he cared primarily about helping others.
When Triplett was in high school, two of his cousins died of opioid addiction. He said this inspired him to create and lead a congregation to help reduce the stigma of addiction. This conference was the first in his leadership.
The conference was a success and was featured on several news outlets such as ABC13 and Blue Ridge Public Radio.
“In high school, I saw the work I was able to do,” Triplett said. “And I think that’s where I was able to transcend those limiting beliefs.”
BTG currently represents 52 universities and has four partnerships in a network of over 130 students.
BTG’s current Chief Operating Officer Eugenia Trackl found BTG on LinkedIn in late 2021.
“I’ve seen how many followers they’ve had and the impact they’ve had since they launched in January 2021,” Trakal said. “The impact they had in just one year was like, ‘This is absolutely crazy,’ and that’s why I wanted to be involved.”
Trakal is currently a sophomore at Arizona State University and credits BTG with much of her success. She said the company not only helped prepare her for her career and land her dream internship at Goldman Sachs, but also gave her the motivation and confidence she needed to apply.
Triplett says the most rewarding thing is seeing the BTG family succeed. He said his group chat celebrates every time an individual gets an internship.
“So it’s really exciting and a lot of them credit BTG with their success, which is really amazing,” he said.
The company continues to build on its mission at BTG as it recently began working on helping students pursue higher education – starting with MBA programs.
The group’s former COO, Kana Cummings, is a Stanford graduate student who recently entered the deferred MBA program at Harvard Business School.
“I’m grateful to BTG and they recognized me early on for giving me this opportunity,” Cummings said. “So in the future, more BTG students will be able to use these resources and get into the schools they want.”
Triplett said he is equally grateful and hopes BTG continues to help more students and expand the business community.
“I think what we’re doing now is good. We’re maintaining a close, family feel, so we call it the BTG family, and that’s something I’m very proud of,” Triplett said.
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