April 30, 2015
An associate professor in Memorial’s business faculty has been named a finalist for a national award that recognizes outstanding mentors in the business community.
“I spend a lot of time either formally or informally mentoring,” says Dr. Cooper, who teaches in the areas of strategy, risk management and ethics. “Sometimes that’s just being available to talk to students but it’s nice that it’s being recognized externally as well in terms of the business community because I do spend a fair amount of time just sitting down and talking to people.”
The BDC Mentorship Award is intended to recognize a mentor in the Canadian business community who has helped their mentees and peers by providing valuable advice and support. Through their efforts, the award winner will have contributed to the creation and growth of Canadian companies by developing the professional skills of others in the business community.
Dr. Cooper was nominated for the award by Scott Andrews, business development manager for the provincial arm of Futurpreneur Canada, a non-profit organization that offers financing, mentoring and support to aspiring entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 39.
“Tom is the ideal mentor,” says Mr. Andrews. “He is experienced and knowledgeable and encourages you to focus on the situation and uncover solutions from a variety of perspectives while providing support and feedback from a realistic angle.
“Regardless of how busy he is Tom always makes time to listen, encourage and offer advice to entrepreneurs. I couldn’t think of a more deserving recipient of this award due to his dedication and genuine passion.”
Dr. Cooper has been a member of the Faculty of Business Administration for the past seven years. During that time, he’s won the Dean’s Service Award for Faculty (2009), Dean’s Teaching Award (2010) and President’s Award for Outstanding Teaching (Faculty) (2013).
He holds undergraduate degrees in commerce and arts from Memorial as well as a PhD in business from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.
Dr. Cooper is the current chair of StartupNL and is a co-founder of Common Ground Coworking. He has served on the Institute of Chartered Accountants and numerous advisory boards for local businesses, and is an instructor for various seminars at the Gardiner Centre.
Dr. Cooper says he appreciates that knowledge gained from his research is able to translate into practical advice for the business community.
“The research that I do is highly applicable in this kind of mentorship role because risk assessment can be done on large organizations and projects as well as smaller organizations,” he says. “When you go in and you explain, what’s the risk around hiring people for example; in a small- or medium-sized business that’s huge because if you don’t hire the right people, then you’re out of business really quickly.
“[As a mentor for businesses], it’s providing them with ideas, good practices and trying to bring that element that we do well here in the faculty – which is research – and showing what’s changing and where some of the opportunities are as well as some of the threats that they have to acknowledge.”
Mr. Andrews says it’s this expertise that makes Dr. Cooper a sought-after mentor.
“One of the biggest benefits of being mentored by Dr. Cooper is credibility,” he says. “He is well-versed in a variety of areas and is extremely networked in the business community, both locally and internationally, which will immediately broaden a young entrepreneur’s network. He is extremely supportive and positive; he wants others to excel and will support them with their decisions through encouragement and feedback while acting as a sounding board and voice of reason. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from knowing Dr. Cooper.”