Arshay Cooper is an award winning author, usrowing golden oars winner, motivational speaker, and partners with several community outreach organizations. Arshay has spent his life cultivating a unique set of experiences that make him a much sought after speaker to audiences ranging from professional athletes to High School students. He is highly regarded for his ability to inspire and motivate every audience he encounters.
Arshay grew up in the North Lawndale community on the Westside of Chicago, raised by a single mother in a neighborhood surrounded by gangs and drugs. He witnessed many of his friends and family become a product of their environment. In 1997, Arshay rejected the gang life and joined the first all-black high school rowing team at Manley Career Academy. A sport Arshay quoted "that saved his life." After rising to team captain and graduating high school, he shifted gears and dedicated two years of his life to AmeriCorps, helping thousands of high school students complete 40 hours of community service before graduating.
In 2002, Arshay enrolled at the Le Cordon Bleu Chicago and soon after picked up lessons at Le Cordon Bleu England. Over the next decade, Arshay worked as both chef and personal chef for a number of hotels, the critically acclaimed restaurant Blackbird, World Wrestling Entertainment, and Warner Brothers. He also started his own catering company and catered for various professional athletes.
After years of working in the food industry, Arshay returned to his true passion of working in the inner city. He coached the Chicago Youth Rowing Club, worked as the program director in Victory Outreach's Midwest/Golf Coast region, served as a public school chef instructor, youth mentor, organized rallies for the ‘Stop the Violence’ movement, founded programs to assist in keeping kids off the street, and completed over 5,000 community service hours. Arshay works closely with the East Side Indoor Rowing Program that he founded in 2016 and serves on the board of Row New York and Hope Culture.
As a national speaker, Arshay audience has included corporate events, universities, public schools, graduation ceremonies, national conventions, churches, community centers, non-profits, fundraising events, bookstores, rallies, recovery homes, children shelters, juvenile centers, sports teams, UFC fighters, and Former President Bill Clinton. Arshay and his work has been featured on the What TV Show, Good Morning Sacramento, Chicago Tribune, Juce TV, TBN, The Record, Boynton Forum, WXXI News, The Voice of Stockton, WDKX Radio, The Tribe, UFC.COM, Palm Beach County Paper, Splash TV, East Coast MMA Show, MPR News, Cover Spy, USRowing, and Rowing Magazine.
Arshay currently lives in New York. His first book, a memoir titled ‘Suga Water’, was released in 2015. Suga Water has won silver at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards for best inspirational memoir and is now being adapted to a screenplay.