How important are the Arts to our society?
The arts are an essential part of our society. It allows us to expand our minds in ways that allow for innovation and creativity to flourish. Practically, when we see society struggling with uncertain times, such as our current pandemic, we look to the arts for hope, inspiration, and sometimes, just an hour or two of escape.
How have the Arts impacted your life?
The arts have and will always continue to impact my life. I grew up in a family that made the arts - music, theater, art, photography, dance - an innate part of my daily life. I was in a boys choir as a child, participated in musical theater in high school, and became a benefactor of arts related programs as an adult. The arts are my best therapy - I love spending time getting lost in a painting, or watching a film, reading a book, or listening to a new album.
Tell us about your company.
NIW Design is a full-service firm that specializes in advancing its clients’ brand and public image by expertly managing their events, guiding them in developing strategy, and enhancing their overall look and digital profiles.
How do you incorporate the arts in your work?
The arts in general are important to all aspects of event planning and management. Digital creations drive interest on the subject matter of the event. Decor and Music drive ambience. Maintaining relationships with graphic designers, musicians, spoken word artists, entertainers and other creators is essential to being effective in the industry.
What happened to let you know that you had what it took to become an entrepreneur?
I actually resisted the notion of entrepreneurship for a long time. I was raised in a household that emphasized salaried positions. It led me to offer my talents in areas not defined by my current job for free. Someone sat me down to encourage me to focus on how I could continue to do these tasks that I love and have passion for and be compensated. It took small, definitive steps like developing a website and getting a business license that, in turn, motivated me to keep moving forward. Once I took those steps, doors started opening and I realized that this was something I was built to do.
What is 4 the Culture Brunch?
A little over a year ago, a friend and I were on a New Year’s vacation and had a conversation about the remarkable fact that we knew so many people doing great things who were not connected to each other. While we all tend to see each other at major festivals, conferences, and events - we had not taken the time to fellowship with one another with less formality. So, we agreed that it was time to create a safe space where our friends and colleagues could join us, fellowship, dine together, highlight the amazing ways we are uplifting our community, and figure out how we can better support each other. This idea became the 4 The Culture Brunch - a space where creators, entrepreneurs, and visionaries network & connect.
What else do you have on the horizon?
We live in such uncertain times, so it is hard to predict what is on the horizon. I’m faithful that whatever is next will be great! Hopefully, we will be able to continue to expand our 4 The Culture Brunch to more cities in 2020 and 2021. As a company, we are taking this time to expand our virtual meeting capabilities and I am excited to be a part of what the events industry looks like as a new normal emerges from this pandemic.
Where do you see your brand in the next five years?
I want my brand to remain consistent - that as an individual and a company. I hope to maintain a reputation for striving for excellence, a true commitment to placing relationships as primary in achieving our goals, and operating with integrity in everything I do - as an event planner, as an image consultant, as a strategist.
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Nicholas is a strategist, planner and executor extraordinaire. He is a New Jersey native and alumnus of The George Washington University. He is principal and founder of NIW Design, a firm dedicated to enhancing its clients’ profiles through event management, image consulting, and strategic visioning. He is also a senior consultant for Values Partnerships, a social impact agency headquartered in Washington DC. Prior to these positions, he served a six-year tenure at the NAACP, assisting in the planning and execution of the NAACP Image Awards and the organization’s Annual Convention. He also served as the lead on its NAACP Experience expo and Leadership 500 Summit, and developed external relations strategy for the chairman and board of directors. He currently serves as Vice President for the Board of Directors for the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals (NCBMP). He also serves as Senior Advisor to the Chairman of the NAACP Image Awards Committee, a volunteer position that helps ensure the show’s success. He maintains membership in the Southern Poverty Law Center, Human Rights Campaign, and as an ambassador to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.