He was in the karate Hall of Fame, he was a mentor to David Blaine as he was quite impressive at magic, at one point he owned 10 recruiting agencies and, I am proud to say that he was my mentor in person and still is my driving force, though no longer in-person.
I met Harvey through my sister-in-law as, Harvey was her father and when I happened to randomly open a recruitment company at a young age, she immediately said that I had to meet her father.
It’s never easy to venture off onto your own, but at a young age, when you start a business it is very nerve-racking. There is a fear of failure, there is huge uncertainty, there are odds stacked against you and then there are those who have a mentor like Harvey Cohen.
What made Harvey a platform for other mentors to follow?
When I closed my first large deal (or was about to), I remember this feeling of panic, excitement and even more panic. It was 2:30 PM. I called him frantically waiting for my client’s answer as to whether they were going to hire this guy.
I remember sitting on my couch and analysing and antagonizing over everything the woman in HR said about this guy’s trip to corporate headquarters in San Francisco. Harvey stayed on the phone with me for an hour and a half listening to what was probably complete immature gibberish because he felt it was his obligation. He never to care; Harvey was self-less.
Harvey was a mentor not as a hobby, but because he felt is was an obligation – something I don’t understand, but try to emulate.
Another lesson that Harvey could teach us is that we should be cautious of the people whom we let around us especially as younger entrepreneurs.
If you want to find a mentor like Harvey make sure that the person is good at what they do. When he was 30, Harvey was much better than I was and that can be gauged both monetarily and by the fact that he used to walk into J.P. Morgan and the other large banks in jeans and a T-shirt. He was the best at what he did and they seemed not to complain.
I sometimes feel as if everybody should have the opportunity to have a mentor like Harvey, though not all of us are lucky enough to have what I did for a few years.
It was 2009 and Harvey was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. A tall, handsome man who could levitate himself and who had a smile that could brighten even the worst of days, denial and love made those close to him believe that Harvey would pull some sort of magic trick and heal himself.
I came to grips with the fact that there are just some battles even people like Harvey are not meant to win and, when you put yourself out there to get a mentor like Harvey you don’t always win. However, you never know what winning was like (despite my brief victory) how brief if you don’t try to find your own Harvey Cohen.
Harvey Cohen left his 3 daughters too early as well: Brett, Jenna and Katie.
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