Council on Aging (COA) is overseen by a Board of Trustees. The board establishes rules for COA’s operation and directs the organization’s affairs in keeping with Council on Aging’s mission to enhance lives by assisting people to remain independent through a range of quality services.
Board members live and work in COA’s five-county service area and bring a wealth of professional and personal experience to COA and its leadership team.
James Cowan is in his fifth year as board member, representing Hamilton County and serving as the Chair of COA’s SOAR Committee (Strategic Opportunities and Relationships.) Cowan is Assistant Vice President DEI Strategy Lead for Ohio National Financial Services. In addition to serving COA, he also serves on boards for The HealthCare Connection and Mercy Neighborhood Ministries.
COA: What interested you in serving on COA’s board?
James: Council on Aging’s support was a tremendous blessing for my parents and my entire family. Following that experience, it was my honor to give back by serving on the COA Board. My goal is to provide perspective that represents the everyday struggles and challenges of urban, older adults. I also want to contribute to the culture of our board with warmth and authenticity.
COA: What excites you most about COA’s future?
James: I am most excited about COA’s innovative approach to staying viable and serving its clients. COA’s leadership thinks outside of the box and pursues new and different initiatives.
COA: Thinking about your time on COA’s board, what about COA are you most proud of?
James: I am proud to be associated with COA and its many contributions to the lifestyle and wellness of older adults.
COA: Which COA value speaks most to you and why?
James: Compassion. I feel this should lie at the heart of everything we do. And, I can’t discount innovation. At the end of the day, the organizations positioned to win are those who can do and see things a little differently.
COA: What’s the most important lesson you learned from an elder in your life?
James: Never blame anyone else for where you are. Your life is ultimately shaped by your decisions, your choices and your ability to bounce back!
COA: Who (or what) inspires you?
James: I am inspired by people who are both compassionate and confident, in that order. Based on that description, a couple of my key role models have been my parents and Jesus Christ.
COA: What was the last book you read?
James: “Generational Wealth” by LaFoy Orlando Thomas III.