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Next Up Columbus 2021: Abel Koury

Abel Koury
Abel Koury

Photo by Matt Reese / CityPulse Columbus

Interview by Derek Grosso

Name: Abel J. Koury
Pronouns: he/him
Age: 36
Profession: Founder & Principal of Compelling Analytics, LLC and Personal Trainer at The Fitness Loft Columbus
Neighborhood: Olde Towne East
Education: PhD in Developmental Psychology, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer
Quote: “Leap and the net will appear.” -John Burroughs
Connect: LinkedIn | Instagram (personal) | Instagram (work)

Give us a snapshot of your career path: I had a wild road to get here! I earned my doctorate in 2015 in Developmental Psychology, spent time as a lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh, and as a data analyst and researcher at a nonprofit in Pittsburgh. I found my way to The Ohio State University where I worked as a senior researcher. In the throes of writing grants and papers, I realized I was getting away from my true “north”–that is, helping others and creating a more equitable world. I decided to start Compelling Analytics to partner with smaller organizations and nonprofits doing the hard work of social, economic, and racial justice and attempt to leverage my expertise to help them widen and deepen their impact. I also decided to start personal training so that I could help make nutrition and fitness information more accessible to the average person.

What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way?
Live with an abundance mindset. Don’t make decisions based on fear.

What do you do or where do you go to unwind?
Just out in nature. I love to go on long walks with my dog or cruise around on my bike to get a coffee.

What are a few of your favorite local spots in Columbus?
I love Upper Cup for coffee, and Two Truths for cocktails. I still have a lot of exploring left to do!

When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a chef!

What books or podcasts are you reading/listening to right now?
I have a huge stack of library books I’m trying to make my way through (thanks Columbus Metropolitan Libraries!). Currently, I’m reading a book of poetry and a book on exercise as medicine. I like to listen to Ted Talks or Radio Lab as well as Stuff You Should Know.

What does it mean to you to be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award?
It means the world to me! I started Compelling Analytics and trying to become a personal trainer with NO backup plan. I worked as a Lyft driver, a landscaper, a tutor, a bar back, whatever I could do to make enough money to survive. It’s just been such a journey. I am just truly humbled to be able to be recognized among the other amazing folks who were nominated.

If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
The “pulse” of Columbus is absolutely the people. It’s the folks who wave to me from their porch or say hi as I walk my dog. It’s the number of LGBTQ flags I see displayed proudly in the neighborhood. I love this city and am proud to call it home.


The Next Up Columbus Awards highlight emerging leaders who are connectors and ambassadors in central Ohio and who are making a positive impact on the future of Columbus. The Columbus Young Professionals Club would like to offer special thanks to our 2021 co-presenters, Discover Financial, Future Possibilities and Zipline Logistics for their support of this awards program. Meet the entire “Class of 2021” »

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