“Your greatest, most rewarding accomplishments will come when you are in places that you are not supposed to be.”
While I was walking to the Cogent office from the 6-train, I was trying to quickly look at what Cogent actually does. I read Mark Zablow’s bio the day before and that morning as well. I searched the Internet for their website to get a better idea of who they are. Alas, an almost empty page, with just the red blimp logo and address. I arrived 30 minutes early with my buddy Will. I sat on the most comfortable couch in the world and watched the staff in the office prepare to speak. I witnessed Mark running around trying to organize the chairs, while trying to wish his employees a happy weekend. I recall him asking someone to party safe and make sure they come back. Little did I know, Mark would turn out to be the most down-to-earth leader we have visited thus far.
If you were wondering, I found out what Cogent does. They bring sponsors and athletes/influencers together to create the right deals for clients. Mark’s networking, hard work, and dedication propelled him to the forefront of his niche industry, and has led him to a successful career. His personality is a clear advantage for his line of work. Mark is the kind of guy I would do business with, crack a beer open with, and probably follow into a bar fight, just because he’s such good dude. Mark had a lot of very inspirational words for us.
Here are a few things he said that stuck with me:
- “Never say I have a problem… Say I have a challenge”
- “The right partnership is the best partnership”
- “Create leverage for yourself, not with money, but with relationships”
- “ Karma is the worst bitch”
- “Your Harvard MBA or GPA wont break you in… You must network to get in.”
We have been hearing the importance of networking all summer, but that last sentence hits home for me. Not going to a top-fifty law school puts me in a hole when it comes to looking for jobs in New York City. Mark’s words showed me that my work ethic and dedication to my craft would lead me to the promise land.
Mark’s statement that resonated the most with me the most was: “Get into places you are not supposed to be.” I was not supposed to get into Penn State. I was not supposed to get into law school. I was not supposed to get into the most prestigious sports business academy in America. I was not supposed to outgrow my life threatening asthma. Many people told me I was not supposed to be some place. I have proved all of the doubters wrong, and Mark’s words couldn’t be truer. “Your greatest, most rewarding accomplishments will come when you are in places that you are not supposed to be.” I will keep those words close to me as I pursue my career path.
I don’t think I will personally end up in the same space as Mark, as far as work goes, but what I can tell you is that I will definitely be working with Mark at some point in the future. Cogent is an amazing company that’s going in the right direction. I really enjoyed our time there.