We had the good fortune of connecting with Douglas Bryant Jr and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Douglas, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My Co-founders (Daryll Thorpe Jr & Joshua Hay) and I had a desire to uplift others in our local community. We knew so many people doing great things as individuals but always felt that as a collective unit we could serve our local community more effectively. We wanted to create a business that would serve as a bridge connecting like-minded people and ultimately inner-city youth and young adults to resources they normally would not have access to.The overall goal and vision of this idea generated our 501(c)3 organization: 9th Bridge Jacksonville. We always knew this concept had to be founded on accountability, community service and technical knowledge sharing. Daryll and I also wrote a book about our non-profit concept called “They’re ACTing like T.H.U.G.s” which gives a deeper dive into why we created 9th Bridge Jacksonville.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

Professionally, I am a Cyber Security manager for a “fintech” or Financial Technology company. I have been working in the cyber security space for over 8 years now. I enjoy the challenge of leading and being part of a team that defends data from cyber attacks. I arrived where I am today in my career by embracing failure, learning from my mistakes and focusing on how to enhance my skill set in the midst of several disappointments. Elevating others has been a vital attribute in my continual professional success. With that being said, the desire to elevate and uplift others was the main factor in co-founding my 501(c)3 organization 9th Bridge Jacksonville which was founded in 2016. With 8 bridges already traversing the diverse landscape of Jacksonville, our aim is to structure ourselves to become the “9th bridge” by establishing a connection for those wanting to elevate in life and by providing useful knowledge to help individuals reach a desired destination.

9th Bridge Jacksonville hosts monthly accountability meetings that allow us to collectively challenge, celebrate and inspire our members to become the best version of themselves. In these meetings we uplift, encourage and push each other to become greater for our families, friends, careers and community. The result of these monthly meetings generate success stories that ignite new mindsets, inspire new perspectives and lead to life innovation.

Twice a year 9th Bridge Jacksonville hosts Stock Market Investment sessions to influence our members to enter the stock market to properly invest their money and go down the path of financial wisdom and generational wealth. The goal of 9th Bridge Jacksonville is to build people of holistic character so that they can influence others to conform to the same healthy mold.

Every other month 9th Bridge Jacksonville requires our members to perform community service as a true way to give back to the community. Our outreach involves giving necessities to the homeless population in downtown Jacksonville along with cleaning up under-served communities. In 2020, 9th Bridge Jacksonville distributed and mailed out KN95 masks during the COVID-19 epidemic to various small businesses around Jacksonville. We encourage our members to bring children to assist with these community initiatives to leave an impactful mark on their lives to inspire humility.

In December 2020, We established our 9th Bridge Cyber Research & Educational Workshop also known as 9B C.R.E.W. technology curriculum that will be used to impact the lives and provide direction of inner-city youth, young adults and career oriented people to lead them into technology careers.

9B C.R.E.W. is designed to discuss technology trends, hacker/ breach related events, and to provide a hands-on Cyber Security learning experience. With this program we want to ignite our member’s technical curiosity, inspire them to embrace technology and encourage them to use innovation to create a new way of seeing the world via technical and cyber research.

9th Bridge Jacksonville also established the “Digital Bridge” Technology Scholarship fund as another way for or organization to give back to the community. Our vision is to supply two deserving high school seniors with a $500.00 scholarship and a laptop to assist them as they pursue a Technology related college degree.

9th Bridge Jacksonville allows me to tap into my entrepreneurial side to create an organization rooted in Accountability, Community Service and Technical knowledge sharing. 9th Bridge Jacksonville is simply my way of giving back to others to see them prosper and become the best version of themselves. I have discovered that when you elevate other people you will also be elevated which is totally the case in my professional and personal life.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Lagniappe Restaurant in Amelia Island
Espana restaurant in Fernandina Beach
Amelia Island Board rentals on American Beach
Jacksonville Jaguars or Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp game
The Ritz Theater and Museum
My Season Chicken and Ribs in Yulee/ Jacksonville
Bob’s Famous BBQ in Jacksonville
The ICY Spot in Jacksonville
Coop 303 restaurant in Atlantic Beach
Jacksonville Town Center or Riverside area

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to shout out my 9th Bridge Jacksonville team and members along with our brothers of Route 7 Orlando. Surrounding myself around positive and successful men has given me the confidence I need to lead effectively in all that I do.

Website: https://9thbridge.org

Instagram: @9thbridgejax

Facebook: 9th Bridge Jacksonville

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