If you were to ask any of the students who have attended seminars with Ricky Cohen what they remember most, it would be the line that always leaves his audience speechless: “I wish you all a giant public failure!” It’s an uncommon piece of advice, but one that has resonated with Cohen as an entrepreneur for decades.
Ricky Cohen was born into a preeminent New York retailing family. After graduating Cum Laude from New York University in 1981, Cohen served as CEO of The Conway Organization. Under his tenure, the company grew nearly fortyfold in seven years, increasing its sales from $4.5 million annually to over $174 million annually.
Because of his strong belief in career expression, Cohen organized training and mentoring programs for his entry-level employees, helping them unleash their talents and advance in the workplace. This included the successful “Every Employee an Entrepreneur Seminar,” in which employees from entry-level to regional managers were taught to think and execute with a sense of independence, creativity and leadership; traits of a successful entrepreneur. Participants left feeling they had the tools to navigate the corporate world, and the confidence to do so.
With the crash of the market in 1990, came the realization that no business model is recession-proof. Cohen and his family engaged outside management for the handling of the Conway enterprise. Within 18 months, every dollar made in the previous decade was lost. Cohen was left to pick up the pieces and start anew. He did just that by reestablishing Conway into the multi-million dollar national chain that it is today.
As a businessman, Cohen lives by the idea of moving forward after every setback, unlocking one’s potential and expressing it to the fullest. As a teacher, Cohen uses the power of interactive learning to share these ideas with thousands of people. Cohen has given workshops to employees and managers at industry leading companies like Chase Manhattan Bank and The Children’s Place Corporation, as well as the United States Navy.
Ricky Cohen brings his business acumen to an even broader audience with the launch of his new book, Risk to Live. Written as a business-fable, Cohen’s book can be read by everyone from entry-level employees to corporate CEOs. Risk to Live follows the story of two metaphorical characters, Bella and Cee on their journey to finding their most right careers while navigating the “jungle”. By weaving in ancient teachings that have been time-tested and true, Cohen provides readers the tools to actualize their potential place in the business world.
In his spare time Cohen has also been a long time community leader. He currently serves as President of Barkai Yeshivah, a Jewish-school with over 400 students which he has helped transform into an outstanding, cutting edge academic institution. By completely reengineering its business office, its Board of Directors and its lay leadership structure and administration, Cohen led Barkai to become one of the finest private schools in the Tri-State area. Cohen has also led ground-breaking efforts at numerous other outstanding charitable organizations. Most noteworthy is The Council for the Rescue of Syrian Jewry, where Cohen played an essential role in helping to secure the release of over 4,000 refugees under the dictatorship of Assad’s Syria.
Born in New York, Ricky graduated cum laude from New York University’s acclaimed Stern School of Business, with a dual major in accounting and business management. Ricky is the father of six and currently resides with his wife, in Brooklyn, NY.