Today we’d like to introduce you to Janice Gassam.
Janice, before we jump into specific questions about your business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Growing up, I always had an interest in the race–the idea of race as a social construct, how we define ourselves through our race and how race is part of our identities. My parents immigrated to the United States from Cameroon, so I am a first-generation American, and growing up, I grappled with my own identity. W.E.B. Dubois discussed the idea of Black people living in a double consciousness. I felt like, growing up, I was living in a triple consciousness where I never felt Cameroonian enough, I didn’t fit in with the White kids, and I never felt Black enough. As I got older and started to become more sure of myself and my identity, I started blogging about my thoughts concerning race, Black identity and the Black community. I started a YouTube channel in 2011, and from there, I realized how I wanted to make diversity, equity and inclusion my life’s work. I went to school and got a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology and started teaching college courses in Business and Psychology. I created a consulting firm where I now channel my energy into diversity, equity, and inclusion workshops for companies and institutions, to create a more inclusive world. I have been blessed with many opportunities from being able to deliver a TEDx talk to becoming a contributing writer for Forbes. I have so many more things I want to accomplish, but I am so grateful for the journey I am currently on.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Not at all, but that’s what makes each of our journeys beautiful. Some of the best opportunities I have been blessed with occurred at a time when I was jobless. I did a TEDx, became a contributing writer for Forbes, and got my Ph.D. while being jobless and receiving rejection email after rejection email. One thing about me is, I am relentless and have learned that no matter how hard the path seems, things will turn around eventually and that hard work and consistency will always pay off. Looking at the outcome of the struggles I endured seems peachy, but it’s certainly been an arduous road to get to this point.
Please tell us about your business.
I started my consulting firm, BWG Business Solutions, at the end of 2018. BWG stands for “black, white, green.” It’s the notion that diversity is not about black or white but about green–when companies make diversity, equity, and inclusion a primary focus, they will become profitable. I conduct workshops and give awareness talks on topics around workplace inclusion, unconscious bias, micro-aggressions, racial equity, and diversity program implementation.
What I’m super proud of is in February of 2019 I started doing something called the Diversity Dinner Dialogue, which is a free and informal discussion where I invite thought-leaders, diversity and inclusion practitioners, academics and anyone with interest in diversity and inclusion to come to discuss DEI to increase learning and understanding. So far, I have conducted 8 Diversity Dinner Dialogues in New York City and Richmond, Virginia.
I have a research background and have studied DEI at a deeper level for my Ph.D. My dissertation focused on hiring and selection bias. Aside from that, I teach and have designed courses in DEI, so I have a heavy research background and focus. I am a ferocious reader and stay up to date on all things DEI. I would say what sets me apart is my passion for DEI and the fact that I not only live and breathe it but that I also study it in detail, constantly assessing what works and what doesn’t work in order to help companies, institutions and individuals become better.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I would say consistency. It doesn’t matter how good you are if you are not consistent with what it is that you do. Consistent habits create excellence, and I would say consistency is my superpower.
- Address: BWG Business Solutions
244 Madison Avenue Suite 371
New York, NY 10016
- Website: www.bwgbusinesssolutions.com
- Email: Janice@bwgbusinesssolutions.com
- Instagram: janicejnice