NACC finds new home and new GM
Mona Anita K. Olsen, PhD
Every time I visit New York City, I am always amazed by the number of different people I can see in a given day. I often reflect on the reasons that my Norwegian grandparents loved the city, in addition to reflecting on the many times I have moved in my life. I think about migration and community development and what it means to create a home in the increasingly mobile world of the global entrepreneur. Personally, I find a home when I experience engaged community on my journey and I find a continuing growth in engagement in the Norwegian-American community each time I visit New York City.Last December, I had the opportunity to meet with Live Sletten Diakolios, the new general manager of the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), and experience its new office facilities at the collaborative space WeWork Grand Central.
The NACC recently moved its national headquarters to the WeWork Grand Central location at 450 Lexington Avenue from the 18th floor of a skyscraper on Third Avenue. WeWork is a co-working space. You could also say it’s an office-renting company for ventures. WeWork is headquartered in New York City but has a global footprint, with locations and partners around the world, and is one of the leaders in the co-working space model. WeWork engages various entrepreneurial ventures in its model—providing not only the physical space to work but also a significant number of benefits for tenants that allow each venture to stay focused on their respective operations.
For example, Maria Antvort, media manager for NACC, highlighted the benefit of having the back-end administrative elements of the business covered, such as printing, mailing, and cleaning services, in addition to technology support for Internet issues. She also mentioned the benefit of having many partners in the space that can provide complimentary services to the NACC and noted an appreciation for the helpful staff of WeWork. Finally, WeWork offers stocked kitchens and ample spaces for networking and events, making it a space that encourages conversation.
It was just a few weeks ago that the NACC held a kick off event at its new home, using a large conference room as an informal setting to hold casual events to encourage engagement in the Norwegian-American community, true to the NACC’s original mission.
The NACC was founded in New York in 1915. The website states that NACC was founded to “to promote trade and goodwill and to foster business, financial, and professional interests between Norway and the United States of America, to advance the common purposes of its members, and to facilitate contact among its members.”
Diakolios and Antvort work together at the NACC and are committed to building benefits for the Norwegian-American business community from finance to banking to shipping to immigration to entrepreneurship. With the new location, the NACC is also physically closer to key partners, for example Innovation Norge and Nordic Innovation, and located steps away from Grand Central Station, providing easy access for industry and member visits and vice versa. Finally, given the rental model and scalability options, NACC now has the flexibility to adjust accordingly to the changing dynamics in its market and membership. As both Diakolios and Antvort noted, their collective goal is to support the Norwegian-American business community, and the door is open for suggestions and collaboration.
NACC has chapters in Philadelphia, Washington; Davie, Florida; Houston; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; Chicago; and Seattle. With the setup of WeWork and its modern design, there is always a place for an engaging conversation. Learn more about NACC at www.naccusa.org. Learn more about WeWork at www.wework.com.
Mona Anita K. Olsen is an assistant professor at the School of Hotel Administration in the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business in Ithaca, N.Y. She is also the founder of Innovation Barn 58N6E and the 501c3 iMADdu (I make a difference, do you?) Inc.
This article originally appeared in the March 9, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.