Welcome to She Leads Podcast Season 4, Episode 2! This episode of She Leads Podcast features Dr. Iris Cooper founder of JustAskIris! Dr. Iris Cooper is an Author, Keynote Speaker, and Professor who leads her life like the Boss she is. To hear Dr. I’s take on leadership, listen to her interview as she discusses the transitions she has experienced in her career and life, as well as the rise of women over time.
Dr. Iris Cooper’s Bio
Dr. Iris Ann Cooper’s career includes leadership positions in financial services, economic development, community service, communication, government, entrepreneurship, and education.
She is the owner of “JustAskIris!” an entrepreneurial coaching firm, specializing in food enterprises and products. Iris is a founder of Glory Foods, Inc., a multi-million-dollar food marketing company and has launched several successful enterprises during her career. She is recognized nationally as a business strategy and branding expert, having coached many startups to sustainability. Iris is the former Director of the Ohio Division of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, where Iris led the state from 29th worst place for small businesses in 2007 to the ninth best in the nation, and 1st in the Midwest in four years. She currently works with nonprofits and for- profit organizations desiring market research, strategy development, and other professional services. Iris recently received the Amos Lynch Legacy Award from Champions of Diversity and the Sharon Burkes Soar Award from Franklin County Children’s Services for her advocacy work in Central Ohio.
Iris is a published author, featured writer, and keynote speaker on a variety of topics, and an adjunct professor at Franklin University and Columbus State Community College. Her contributions to entrepreneurship are now included in the History Makers Collection at the Smithsonian Institute. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the National Coalition of 100 Black Women-Central Ohio Chapter, and the Indiana University Alumni Association. Iris holds a BA in Journalism and an MBA in Marketing from Indiana University. She also attended Fisk University for two years. Her DBA is from Walden University in Entrepreneurship and her doctoral study was focused on small business mortality and entitled “The First Four Years: A Small Business Sustainability Study.”
Nicole Walker’s Interview Commentary
I really enjoyed this interview with Dr. I and I hope you did as well!
I agree with DR. I’s notion of the importance of staying strong in adversity in an effort to lead by example for those that are watching you. Often times, whether we realize it or not, there are people watching us to see how we handle things. We have the power to impact others positively or negatively, because Our Decisions Impact Others. Successful leaders make tough decisions, while considering everyone involved not just themselves. A quote by John Wooden reads, “Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating”.
I admire Dr. I’s solution-oriented mindset. When faced with the obstacle of being excluded from networking events in her industry, instead of accepting defeat or just complaining about the situation; she looked for a solution to her problem. In doing so, she tapped into a market that had been previously ignored and became a powerhouse as a result. A roadblock that could have defeated her, was used to elevate her in her own right! This is actually a double win if you think about it, not only did Dr. I help herself, she also helped others that desperately needed her assistance. Dr. I is a trailblazer in being a representative for the under-represented, which during her time could not have been an easy feet.
I can relate to Dr. I’s experiences in being the “go to” person for information, as I am the same. I possess a wealth of knowledge that surprises me at times, and many people come to me for direction. Ironically I did not realize this trait in myself initially, and had no clue that this was an example of my leadership qualities. I can honestly admit that there was a time in my life when I thought everyone knew what I knew, so I did understand or appreciate the uniqueness within me. Being the “go to” person is a valuable trait that should not go unrecognized.
Nicole Walker’s Takeaway of the Week
Dr. I mentioned the importance of keeping your eyes on the prize, and not falling victim to the traps/distractions that come along when you are on the right path. I felt this, as I know firsthand how distractions are everywhere, and it’s so easy to get off track if you do not keep your goal in the forefront. Distractions can take the form of people, places, or things so it is imperative to be aware and alert.
I will make it my business to stay forward focused and not get thrown off course by anything not relevant to my goals. I am a goal oriented individual, so distractions must be avoided for me to be successful.
An anonymous quotes reads “Focus on your goal. Don’t look in any direction but ahead.”
Nicole Walker’s Leadership Challenge
My leadership challenge for you would be to think about the one thing you can take away from this episode and adopt into your life. I know it’s hard to absorb too much information at one time and it’s even harder to try and implement too many changes at once. When I attend a training or listen to podcasts I aim to walk away with a least one thing that stuck out to me and one way that I can change as a result. I challenge you to do the same! If you decide to take me up on my challenge I would love to know about your key take way. If you care to share please go to the She Leads Podcast Discussion Group on FB and leave your comment under the Takeaway Thursday post for Season 4 Episode 2.
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Thanks and until next time “Be Empowered and Empower On”!