by Damon L. Jacobs
Damon L. Jacobs: Tell me about the position that you are leaving in the NGLCCNY.
Nick Cowan: I served as the Event Production Chair. I held that role for about a year when we created it. Before that I was the Membership Liaison. I started out helping and assisting Richard Oceguera, and it quickly evolved to me running events, coming up with the Members Monthly Mixer (“M3”), and running that.
Damon L. Jacobs: Was the M3 your brainchild?
Nick Cowan: It was a collaborative concept. Richard wanted to come up with something that would happen on a monthly basis. He had the idea that we would introduce new Chamber members, give them their pin, have the pinning ceremony, and an opportunity for members and nonmembers to come together on a monthly basis. We came up with the name, the theme, and the idea it would be every third Wednesday of the month.
Damon L. Jacobs: Why did you get involved with The Chamber?
Nick Cowan: I was looking for ways to meet more people in the business community. I had just started at my current job in commercial real estate. The market had slowed quite a bit in early 2009. So I had a little bit more time on my hands. I wanted to get out there and meet more people in the community. I saw a posting of Richard’s on Facebook asking for someone to fill the Membership Liaison position. At my old job, I had heard of the NLGCC from Washington DC. I was interested to know they were bringing something to New York and I so I met up with Richard and it was a great fit.
Damon L. Jacobs: Tell me about your professional business.
Nick Cowan: I work for a small boutique commercial real estate firm called Isaacs And Company. We focus mainly on the fashion and design world, but I don’t discriminate. I have worked with a number of financial firms, psychotherapist offices, and software firms. Our main business is fashion companies, and furniture and design companies. We focus on finding retail space as well as showroom office space. Manhattan is our busiest market but we do work with some of our clients nationally. I’m working on a space right now in Southern California, and I’m working on a few spaces in Connecticut. We have broker networks in other cities and work closely with them.
Damon L. Jacobs: How did you become interested in this niche?
Nick Cowan: I’ve been involved in real estate since school. I graduated with an emphasis in real estate, finance, and development. At Ernst & Young I was in their real estate advisory practice doing real estate consulting and financial consulting. I wanted to get out of the corporate world and do something more entrepreneurial, and more autonomous. Through social interactions, I met the founder of Isaacs and Company. He knew I had been looking for the right fit. After a few months of talking with him he mentioned he was interested in bringing someone into the office.
Damon L. Jacobs: And that all happened through a social interaction? That shows how networking can really bring results.
Nick Cowan: Yes, I think a lot of job opportunities come through one’s social network, more so than throwing your resume out there. I hadn’t really thought about going into brokerage before he mentioned the opportunity. But the more I thought about it, and the more I learned about the kind of clients he works with, the more it sounded really interesting.
Damon L. Jacobs: Looking back at your involvement with the Chamber these past two years, what do you feel most proud of?
Nick Cowan: It’s exciting to see what the M3’s have become. Our first event had about 35 people. Also it’s exciting to hear feedback from people. They find that the M3’s are different from a lot of other networking events. The people that they are interacting with are different from those they might find at other events. Sometimes you go a networking event and either people are cliquish, they only sit and chat with the people they came with, or the focus is on socializing instead of business. The Chamber is really business focused and people realize that is why they are there. They want to meet new people but they also want to grow their business and figure out ways they can help other people. There is a genuine interest in forming connections.
Damon L. Jacobs: With all these projects in your life, how do you take care of yourself?
Nick Cowan: I love to travel. I tend to give myself pretty frequent breaks...even though I’m still plugged in when I travel. I like to see new parts of the world, that’s one way I recharge. I like to stay active, eat healthy, go to the gym.
Damon L. Jacobs: Are you still going to attend Chamber events?
Nick Cowan: Absolutely. And over time I would like to find other ways I can still be involved as more than just a member. Once I’m settled more in my business and can spread my time elsewhere.
Damon L. Jacobs: What advice might you give to someone who is struggling in their business and unsure if joining NGLCCNY would be to their benefit?
Nick Cowan: You never know what can come from meeting new people and having interactions with people outside your particular career. The Chamber is an amazing vehicle to make whatever you want out of it. It takes a lot of your own initiative, you can’t just come to meetings and expect business to come to you. You have to go out and meet people and figure our ways that the people you are meeting might be able to assist you. Or maybe you might come up with new ideas. I’ve heard from a few people in the Chamber how they’ve seen new collaborative efforts develop when two companies come together and do something completely different from they did individually. It’s always good to put yourself out there. But it is definitely an active thing, you have to be active in your membership.
Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist seeing individuals and couples in New York City. He specializes in issues related to grief and loss, HIV related concerns, gay/lesbian issues, stress management, depression,addiction, ageism, bullying, caretaking fatigue, as well as couples in non-traditional arrangements. He is also the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve." To have him speak with your group, or to schedule a counseling visit, call 347-227-7707, or email at Shouldless@gmail.com. An initial free consultation is offered to NGLCCNY members, or people who are referred by NGLCCNY members.