Carol Markowitz – P.O.W.E.R.ful Women
COO/CFO, Loyola University New Orleans
Q: How would you describe your business?
The following is the University’s mission statement]
Loyola University New Orleans, a Jesuit and Catholic institution of higher education, welcomes students of diverse backgrounds and prepares them to lead meaningful lives with and for others; to pursue truth, wisdom, and virtue; and to work for a more just world. Inspired by Ignatius of Loyola’s vision of finding God in all things, the university is grounded in the liberal arts and sciences, while also offering opportunities for professional studies in undergraduate and selected graduate programs. Through teaching, research, creative activities, and service, the faculty, in cooperation with the staff, strives to educate the whole student and to benefit the larger community.
Q: When did you launch?
I co-founded New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute (NOCHI) which opened its doors in January 2019. Six months later, I launched the next chapter of my career as Loyola University’s COO/CFO while remaining an active member of NOCHI’s governing board as Treasurer.
Q: How were you inspired to start your business?
While I did not found Loyola, I was inspired by their mission, values, and the opportunity to use the same entrepreneurial mindset that I used in launching New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute (NOCHI) in January 2019. The common thread for me between both ventures is how to make the most of limited resources for the greater good – of the culinary industry in the case of NOCHI and of the “Wolfpack” in the case of Loyola – and in both cases, for the benefit of our beloved city and for our future.
Q: What were the biggest obstacles for your business and how were they overcome?
With NOCHI, the greatest obstacle was the funding necessary to launch. We were able to overcome the huge financial obstacles we faced by the strength of our vision, our supporters and a whole lot of hutzpah (a key requirement for any entrepreneur).
At Loyola and in higher education in general, the greatest threat is long-term financial sustainability in the context of demographic changes, the uncertainty of what the “future of work” looks like and the impact that technology will have in the evolution of education in general. How we will overcome these challenges is a chapter that we are currently writing . . .
Q: What local resources have you used?
I love that most of the resources I use are local: local banks, local attorneys, local accounting and tax firms, local consultants, local architects, and local contractors, etc. It’s been especially neat to call on, or otherwise build on, relationships I forged during my time at NOCHI. New Orleans is a very tight ecosystem.
Q: What is your big focus right now?
My main focus these days is on how to help manage the University through COVID-19 and a post-COVID world from a financial and operational perspective. If launching NOCHI was like building a ship while sailing it, my current situation at Loyola is like steering a ship when you have near zero visibility into what lies immediately ahead . . . and parking the ship is not an option.
Q: What is the best advice you ever received?
Oh my gosh, I’ve received so much good advice over the years, it’s hard for me to pinpoint one specific piece. However, the maxims that are always top of mind for me these days as a leader include the following:
• The fish rots from the head.
• Sometimes it is better to be kind than right.
• Sugar, sugar, sugar, spice (this one courtesy of my friend and mentor Ti Martin).
Q: What success have you had in the last year?
In the last 12 months of my life, I’ve been a part of some extraordinary success—i.e., the grand opening celebration of New Orleans’ premiere culinary school, the removal of Loyola University from accreditation probation against the odds, and being able to bring renewed energy to a tremendous team that I now manage at the University that spans Financial Affairs, HR, IT, Facilities and Safety. There is no ‘I’ in “team” though, and as most major successes are, these successes were all a team effort of a diverse, committed and overall amazing group of people that I’ve been blessed to work with.
Q: What has been the biggest benefit of being a POWER member?
The biggest benefit I’ve seen from being a POWER member is expanding my network with other inspiring entrepreneurs in the community and having the opportunity to share our experiences with each other in a way that informs, inspires and encourages its members.
Q: What does POWER mean to you?
To me, POWER is about surrounding yourself with the kind of women who support other women.