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Beyond Balance Sheets: Divya’s Career in Marketing and Social Impact

YIF Alumna Divya Bansal (YIF '17) has received offers of admission from NYU School of Professional Studies (Masters in Integrated Marketing) and Columbia University (Masters in Nonprofit Management)

Divya is a seasoned Chartered Accountant and Company Secretary who is trained in Bharatnatyam and Kathak. She harbors a profound love for cinema. She curates a page dedicated to insightful movie reviews in her spare time.

Post YIF, Divya worked in consulting and sales for seven years, honing her skills with industry giants like Salesforce and Gartner. But her story doesn’t end there. Deeply passionate about making a difference, Divya founded a trust in her hometown Jodhpur—Bharat Foundation. This initiative, created in her brother’s memory, focuses on advancing girl child education by crowdsourcing funds. She lent her expertise as Director of Conscious Culture, a firm dedicated to promoting workplace equity. Amidst her professional endeavors, Divya discovered a newfound fascination with storytelling and marketing. With each project she undertook for friends and family, her passion only grew stronger. Now, driven by her desire to formalize her expertise, she embarks on a quest in marketing, aiming to seamlessly merge it with her nonprofit endeavors.

We recently spoke to her about her YIF experience and future aspirations, here is what she had to share:

What are your personal and professional takeaways from the YIF?

The Young India Fellowship (YIF) gave me the opportunity to engage with diverse voices and made my thought process more inclusive. One of my favourite courses from the Young India Fellowship (YIF) has been the classes by Prof. AF Mathews. His words encouraged me to open up, address my biases, and view people around me with more kindness. I have always been exposed to the knowledge within books throughout my student life, but YIF took me out of it and practically gave me a platform to engage in dialogue. I judge less and understand better now.

I’ve had the courage to change my career trajectory primarily because of the fellows I see around me, who pursued their passion with utmost sincerity and the vast Ashokan network I could tap into in times of uncertainty. I feel blessed that both my passions could come together. Moreover, the friendships that I formed during my fellowship days have been an anchor both personally and professionally.

How did the fellowship aid and facilitate your career pivot?

YIF gave me the liberty and skills to move away from finance (my education) and work in the field of sales. It also helped me discover my love and potential for marketing as a career. Even though it was difficult to get roles in marketing without a formal degree, I continued doing free gigs to enhance my skills within and outside my YIF group with a hope that I will be able to shift from sales to marketing. Through the Ashoka network, I finally got an opportunity to work in a startup that is revolutionizing giving in everyday life for causes people care about for V-ALL India full time now as their marketing and communications head for more than a year. I am not just running their marketing and communications, but also got an opportunity to launch a podcast. This experience became a major milestone in leading to my admission in NYU (Masters in Integrated Marketing) and Columbia (Masters in Non – profit).

Could you tell us how you have been giving back to society?

The Bharat Foundation, founded in 2019, is a living tribute to my brother, taken from us far too soon in a tragic road accident back in 2015. Growing up together, we shared a profound passion for one cause: the education of girls, especially in Rajasthan, where opportunities for them are often overlooked.

Following his untimely passing, I felt a profound calling to carry forward his mission. Despite being in my early twenties and lacking proper financial resources, I refused to let his dream fade away. I turned to the kindness of strangers, crowdfunding our way to making a difference. Today, with gratitude to countless compassionate souls, we’ve raised around 60 lakhs over the past five years to empower girls through education in our state. Through partnerships with local schools, we’re slowly but steadily making a difference, one classroom at a time. My brother’s spirit lives on in the Bharat Foundation.

What are your future plans?

My ultimate goal is to become a Chief Marketing Officer for firms championing causes like child education and gender equality, either directly or through CSR initiatives. Using my network, in India, I’ll continue to gather support for Bharat Foundation. With my move to the USA, I hope to involve more South Asians and expand our reach even further.

As the new Chapter Co-Head of the US East Coast, I’m excited to forge new friendships with my fellow Ashokans.

Divya Bansal is an alumna from the Young India Fellowship (YIF) Class of 2017. She is a Chartered Accountant, Company Secretary and Social Impact Leader who is currently leading the Marketing and Strategy for V-ALL, a unique tech-enabled multi-stakeholder platform that maximizes the power of giving.

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