Growing up, Devon Brooks didn’t know there was a name for “doing your own thing.” Today, she’s a successful entrepreneur whose latest company, Sphere, connects coaches and clients through a seamless online, global ecosystem. Her vision of a more curious world is becoming a reality, one coaching conversation at a time.
1. You are no stranger to entrepreneurship. Where does this spark come from?
Growing up with entrepreneurs, this way of life was organic for me – I honestly didn’t know there was another way. I didn’t have parents who wanted me to be a lawyer, doctor, or accountant. I always felt empowered to follow any path that was right for me and it always came very naturally to me to conceive ideas, articulate them, and solve business problems.
My mom, Judy, started her first company when she was a single mom. She met my stepfather, Denis, who has been a great role model for me. He’s a “Steady Eddie.”
I had always wanted to do something with my mom and she had two companies at the time we started Blo Blow Dry Bar together in 2007. We built that business together…and the entrepreneurial fire has continued to burn brightly.
So…the sparks have always been there…and I’m always finding different ways to make them fly!
2. We read that your trade secrets are Grit and Gratitude. Tell us more.
My experiences as a victim of trauma, sexual assault, and physical assault have informed everything I do. Those awful events gave me the gift of perspective. I had a knife to my throat and forced to write a ‘suicide’ note to my parents, he told me he was going to kill me – that I was going to die. But I got out alive. I look back now and I see how strong I was – and I am reminded of what I’m capable of. I don’t panic over small stuff today. It doesn’t mean I don’t have a hard time getting through the difficult things life throws my way, but I am always looking at things through a growth mindset. I believe there are other possibilities – they may not be obvious but they are there. My job is to find them.
3. You’ve described Sphere as the “one-click-wonder for accessing and delivering guidance.” Tell us about how you came up with the concept, how it fits with your brand, and what need it fills.
After I backed out of Blo Blow Dry Bar and started the negotiation of a sale, I fell naturally right into coaching. After personally experiencing the power of coaching conversations throughout my twenties both in my personal life and early career, it was humbling to be on the other side of the table. I was being asked for guidance, and all I wanted to do was help people unfold, articulate and reach their potential.
I scooped up my laptop, and traveled throughout Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, ultimately building up a new idea: to scale the impact of guidance and democratizing coaching. And it ultimately stemmed from my own frustrations. The more I moved around, the more my practice became fully digital, and I was getting critical of the technology serving the space. I couldn’t find a technically elegant product or platform that truly increased the ability to both access and deliver guidance. People who wanted to grow didn’t know where to go to find a great coach, and coaches were spending way too much time on business development, administration, and management – when they wanted be spending time doing what they’re great at … changing lives. I asked myself: Where is the Airbnb for personal growth?
Coaching is a multi-billion-dollar industry with so much opportunity to expand. I’m incredibly excited to be entering into a new wellbeing frontier and re-inventing another market category.
Blow-drys weren’t new, but taking blow drys out of the previous salon environment where they were under-serviced and under leveraged, and then giving them their own category was what changed the game. Blow drys became the fastest growing category in beauty. We’re doing the same thing with Sphere in the wellbeing space.
Sphere is a world-class personal development tool focused on personal and professional coaching, scaling and serving the knowledge economy. We believe people have potential, and we are the ultimate tool to unlock it through high-impact conversations with a professional coach.
Our brand and platform connect a global ecosystem of clients to coaches – Seekers and Guides– offering a seamless and simple growth experience. We envision a world where deep personal understanding, evaluation, self-awareness, and self-regulation enables us all to live more inspired, fulfilling and deeply connected lives.
With Sphere you can get coached anytime, anywhere, at the click of a button; our matching algorithm offers Seekers a personalized Sphere of best-fit Guides. This fall we had a small pilot and received positive feedback including people starting to see opportunities for fulfillment for Seekers and client outreach and decreasing administration for Guides.
I’m proud to say that our Beta just launched this past November in Canada on iOS. (You can get early access here.)
4. You’re not only an entrepreneur – you’re a Futurpreneur. Tell us about your involvement in Futurpreneur Canada.
My involvement with Futurpreneur Canada started in my early 20s. I truly believe that you never know who is capable of building something big – so much of what someone can become is about confidence, education, and accessibility.
Through the umbrella of mentorship, I have supported many founders from concept to company. I’ve worked with so many brilliant and bright mentees, from Sarah Shabacon who now has Boheme Goods, to Zach and Ryan of The Juice Truck, to Melissa from Kunye, to Allison Weldon of Sangre de Fruta. I watched Allison take her company from the first few months of grinding – to shipping orders all around the world, being covered by Harper’s BAZAAR, carried by Goop, and considering her business growth and leadership as she became a mother to her daughter. It’s such a cool thing to be able to feel so close to the journey of other creators.
After mentoring within the Futurpreneur community for half a decade, I joined as a board member and have been serving for the past four years. I was the organization’s youngest mentor and board member! Futurpreneur has accomplished so much through their its partnership with Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), and strong relationships with various levels of government to consider and shape policies. It’s been incredibly enlightening and powerful to be in those rooms.
5. Finally, as someone who has accomplished so much already, what’s next?
I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my accomplishments. I wake up every day and I want to make an impact and elevate people. Elevate my family, myself, and everyone I can possibly reach.
I think about building a company that will make my children proud, that helps the world become more curious and helps us on our journeys of self-inquiry. The more curious the world, the more conscious the world.
Whatever I choose to do and wherever I choose to go, I will stay true to my Personal Reason for Being which I’ve defined as Igniting transformational dialogue and cultivating intimate community in unconventional ways.
Guest Writer: Jori Lichtman