Bhavik R. Shah: Championing Mental Health & DEI Accountability – 40U40
By Evan C. Loving
New York, NY — Bhavik R. Shah’s work and life mission intertwine education and accountability – across mental health and diversity, equity, and inclusion. He is a first-generation bisexual child of Gujarati South Asian Immigrants, born and raised in New York. Though he began his career in financial services, Bhavik made a major shift after 12 years to find his true purpose.
“After over a decade working in private investment banking and management consulting, I realized I wasn’t being fulfilled by the work,” Bhavik shares. “I diligently worked to discover how my values could be incorporated in my day to day.”
Now, Bhavik serves as the principal for Mind Share Partners, a national nonprofit changing the culture of workplace mental health so that both employees and organizations can thrive. In his role, Bhavik advises companies and business leaders to better support mental health in the workplace through impact-focused corporate culture.
“I facilitate workplace training and lead strategic projects across various industries,” Shah explains. “At my personal LLC firm, I offer consulting and speaking services primarily focused on creating inclusive environments across communities that are historically underrepresented.”
“Throughout my work, I do my best to be as inclusive as possible,” he continues. “We all come from different identities and communities, and the support cannot be generalized. I ensure that organization leaders understand this undeniable fact and implement practices and policies that are fit for purpose. For example, organizations should offer employee resources that go beyond yoga & meditation; They should conduct a deep dive into resource investment that reflects the unique needs and experiences of historically underrepresented or marginalized communities.”
Bhavik’s purpose-driven approach to leadership is grounded in a simple, but profound perspective: Be Human. “A leader across any organization must understand they are managing individuals from different backgrounds,” he explains. “They should take on an empathetic lens when managing employees – supporting the individual in how they can effectively do their job. Do not penalize your employees if they require curated support. Educate yourself on the specific needs your employees require to ensure you are setting them up for success.”
Education is another cornerstone of Bhavik’s philosophy and work. When he isn’t leading trainings at Mind Share Partners or consulting at his firm, he is connecting with members of his community through his writing. “I aim to inform and educate my readers on issues that are prevalent – so they are empowered to tackle various challenges,” he said.
In October, Bhavik published a vulnerable and igniting piece for the Harvard Business Review reflecting on the trauma of surviving a hate crime and the commendable corporate support offered by Mind Share Partners.
Looking forward to the new year, Shah reflects on steps companies can take to demonstrate accountability to their employees and commitments to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
“Creating psychological safety is essential for all employees, so that they feel comfortable in sharing their opinions and feel the comfort to have healthy debates,” he explains. “Managers should be trained on creating environments on their team that promote inclusion, rather making decisions for their employees. Every leader and manager should ask themselves these questions:
- What type of team environment are you fostering?
- Have you included your employees in important decision making? If not, have you provided transparency about the decision?
- Do you understand their unique background and skillset they bring to the table?
Without asking these questions, organizations will fall short in creating equitable and inclusive work environments.”