Devya’s first career started as a qualified accountant. Her second career was in the world of recruitment, supporting businesses with their recruitment needs and meeting candidates’ career aspirations. To gain more flexibility as a career professional and a working mom, she entered her third career as a businesswoman in the world of entrepreneurship, and Athwal Resourcing was created. The company works with individuals and business owners to empower and transform themselves and their people through one-to-one mindset coaching, career coaching, and tailor-made group workshops. 2022 marks the 10th anniversary of Athwal Resourcing.
“To stay ahead of the game, I’ve kept learning and growing from the best coaches to understand what is best to do and apply tools and strategies to my business.”
What made you pursue career coaching?
When I look back at my time at school, I was always curious to look at my future career and at the time, I didn’t come across any career coaches. I, therefore, sought out business and professional mentors to help me on my journey. Whilst working as an Accountant, I worked with a recruiter who placed me in a role, and I quickly realised the position was wrong for me. I vowed that if I entered recruitment, I would put the candidate’s career values and aspirations at the heart of any recruitment decision.
Twenty years ago, when I first started a career in recruitment, I didn’t realise that I was unofficially career coaching because of my career experience. Over the years, as I talked to candidates, my line of questioning allowed the individual to understand their fundamental skills and attributes, question their choices, and detail what was important to them. I understood where they were now and challenged them to know where they were taking their career.
In 2017, I stumbled on NLP neuro-linguistic programming and coaching. In that course, I got to know myself, what I stood for, and what I wanted out of life and my career. It was what I had been doing with my clients informally for years. So, the coaching training formalised what I’d been doing over the last twenty years with my clients.
2022 marks the 10th anniversary of your business. What are some experiences/events that have made your business last long term? What do you believe got you to this milestone?
In March 2022, I celebrated ten years of my business, Athwal Resourcing. Yes, time flies when you love what you do, adding value to others and having fun. However, it’s not always been easy, and it’s been a rollercoaster of a journey with its ups and downs. I’ve realised there have been some experiences and events that have led the business to where it’s at today.
Be an Avid Learner – In a constantly changing world, there is always something you can learn; be ahead of the curve and invest in yourself and the business. It may be an inspirational speaker, a self-development podcast, or a course to improve myself or business strategy. So go to industry-led events, pick up knowledge through personal assessment, recruitment fairs, specific personal development, or business conferences, and learn from the best experts. Having the appetite to invest in me and the company constantly has put us in good stead even in tough times.
Getting help from coaches – Over the years, I have invested in having several coaches to help me expand my mindset and vision and take the business forward. Over the past ten years, I’ve probably had four different coaches as I have evolved, and the company has transformed. The first was a formal, government-funded business coach where the government led a growth acceleration programme, helping small or micro-businesses grow. It was a six-month programme where we would work with a coach and go to expert workshops. The second was the G200 leaders, which developed my leadership skills when taking on people and shaping how I move the business forward. I’ve also had several coaches, including a mindset and recruitment coach. As an entrepreneur, I have so many balls that I’m juggling at any one time. I think it’s always good to get a different perspective and for someone to challenge you on the way you do things and why you do something. A different perspective is always good to help you move along and meet your desired goals.
Long-term trusted relationships, give back and collaborate. It can be a lonely existence working for yourself. For me, it’s all about building long-term relationships, collaborating, and working with others. I have long-term trusted client relationships built on trust, honesty, and transparency. Likewise, I work with other recruiters and coaches, share experiences, and sometimes use each other’s expertise to source talent. I love win-win relationships; collaborating with like-minded people ensures that I work with the best so we can work together and elevate each other. Ultimately, getting a result for everyone involved – a win for the candidate, the client and both recruiters too.
All experiences, whether perceived as good or bad, we can learn from them. Sometimes it comes from within; we want to evolve and grow, other times it is out of our control, such as the pandemic. So, to stay ahead of the game, I’ve kept learning and growing from the best coaches to understand what is best to do and apply tools and strategies to my business.
Why the passion for empowering professionals and transforming their business?
From a young age, my parents encouraged me to pursue an education which would lead to a decent career. However, what I found when I went through the educational route was that it was so challenging to juggle multiple priorities daily without having flexibility at work. Over the years, especially now as an entrepreneur, I found many unhappy career professionals in their workplace. We spend a third of our time in the workplace; it’s essential to enjoy your professional work, feel that you are in control, feel empowered and motivated and you enjoy the work that you do.
Too many people are on autopilot, working a job they no longer enjoy but the money is great or in a position where they have too much on their hands but are too afraid to speak up. I’m a firm believer that people are the most significant asset to a company. If the people within the working environment are happy, empowered, and intentional about the direction they want to take, then the business will thrive too. In that case, as they evolve, the company will transform too.
What has been the lowest point in your life, and how did you recover and grow from that?
Without a shadow of a doubt, the lowest point in my life was in 2017. I received some devastating news that my mom was diagnosed with MDS, a blood disorder which took her life within a month! She was a woman who lived life fully, and was the life and soul of a party. This shocking news made me reassess my life. I looked at her life, and although I was grieving, I realised that she had lived an extraordinary life. She worked hard and took time out for family and friends. She travelled to over 45 countries. She always had a smile and enjoyed the journey called life. When we arrive on this earth, there’s going to be a day that we leave this earth. But what we do in between is important. So, I started looking at myself, how I lead my life and the impact and contributions to those around me.
There are still moments where I am overcome with emotion, but I also now celebrate mom’s parting with a smile as she lived, loved and made a difference to those around her. I am very intentional in how I live my life now, ensuring that I live the best life I can on my terms. I have grown as a person, which has encouraged me to empower others to live their best lives.
Mom’s passing took me down the route of NLP – Neuro-Linguistic programming, understanding my inner world and how I could create my inner life, my desired life. Today, I am still ‘ a work in progress’, but I am living my life on my terms, and as a mom, wife, recruiter, life/career and business coach, speaker and educator and NED and more.
How do you avoid stress? What do you do for your mental wellbeing?
Like most busy moms, we can all live stressful lives. Most mornings, I have clear routines which prepare me for the day ahead. It starts with my mindset, meditation, or journaling of my thoughts. If my inner world is good, then my outer world is too. Next, it’s moving my body, and exercising around 6.15 am, either to outdoor Bootcamp or going to the gym and taking a swim. Every day, I walk with my dog Kobe; he has grounded me, making me more present, and I appreciate the little things in life. Walking outside in the fresh air is a natural de-stressor, allowing me to reflect on all aspects of my life, and boost my energy levels; it clears my mind, and I am more intentional about the day ahead.
My favourite time is spending time with the family, being a mom, and cooking for my boys. I also get joy from getting through a pile of ironing while listening to an inspirational podcast. I love entertaining family, and spending time with friends to connect, laugh and talk about life and experiences. Before I close off at night, I read a personal development book and practice gratitude every night.
What is next in your career?
In my 20s, I qualified as an accountant; in my 30s, I learned the ropes to becoming a recruiter. In my 40s, I entered the rollercoaster life of a business owner. So what’s next? My 50s are all about education. For me, it’s about sharing my knowledge to add value to others, whether it’s a young person entering the world of work and requiring career advice or a career professional who feels stuck. As well as recruiting, I regularly present workshops to the corporate world and speak at events. Recently I spoke at CIMA accountancy profession on mindset, career, and business mastery. Soon to launch is breakthrough digital masteries to help talented global professionals and the next generation become conscious leaders of their life, allowing them to achieve and create the life they desire.