Secrets for Success: Lenny Cohen

Artist and owner, Step Ahead Graphics

"I owe much of my professional success to networking!"

Image of Lenny CohenLenny was a shy and isolated youth who struggled with finding peers who shared his passion for originality in art and life. He devoted himself to school and learned to organize and plan well. Eventually academic success seemed easy. However, he quickly learned that what was effective at school was not enough for success at work. “When you graduate, you have to develop new skills and continually self-evaluate in order to be competitive.”

Lenny valued creativity and individuality. However, he soon learned that many corporations did not share his values. They often wanted to pigeon-hole employees into set roles that mirrored conservative perspectives. In order for him to exercise more individuality and control, he needed to leave the security of the corporate studio system and venture into new entrepreneurial territory.

Lenny founded his own company, Step Ahead Graphics. To succeed, he could no longer isolate himself. He needed to learn to network if he was going to constantly generate new design business. Joining a mentorship program helped him to develop this critical ability. “Networking seemed like an insignificant part of my educational success, but it became the secret to my career accomplishments!”

Lenny discovered that the graphic design field was constantly changing and increasingly competitive. He needed to exercise innovation, adaptability and creativity to survive. Fortunately, successfully overcoming his early struggles with his LDs had already instilled necessary skills. In other words, his LDs became an asset to entrepreneurial success.