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Cooper Culture: Celebrating Black History Month

Cooper Culture: Celebrating Black History Month

Each February, Black History Month gives us a chance to recognize, celebrate, and reflect on the accomplishments and culture of African Americans in the United States. In honor of this time of reflection, we asked members of our Network of African American Coopers to talk about how their experiences and culture help guide their lives and work at Mr. Cooper.

Here’s what they had to say:

April Powell, Customer Correspondence Senior Associate, Default Servicing

Cooper Culture: April PowellWhat does “home” mean to you, and how does that meaning motivate your work?
Home is where you make your favorite moments and where you feel most comfortable, as well as at peace. Mr. Cooper is like being at “home,” in a sense, with the strong connections and everyone in the company embodying the Cheerleader for Our Team spirit. You get comfortable, create lasting moments, and make friends that sometimes turn into family at Mr. Cooper. 

How does your experience as a member of the NAAC group lend itself to your job at Mr. Cooper?
Being a NAAC officer has granted me networking, volunteering, career development, and community opportunities that weren’t presented to me before working at Mr. Cooper. I have had a promotion and several leadership opportunities as a result of being a member of NAAC, and I have seen my work ethic and leadership improve, which, in turn, will always give you an upper hand in your day-to-day job experience. 

Who are some of the black leaders from history or role models from the present day that you admire, and what pieces of advice or lessons have they taught you?
My forever role models will always be my family, my mother, and my “Auntie Team,” as my family likes to call them. My grandmother, mother, and aunts are all very strong, opinionated, educated, and hilarious women. I like to think that I get my sense of humor, charm, and strong personality from all of them. They raised me to be exactly that as well, which has lead me to be unapologetically me. I grew up seeing my grandmother, Mama T, be the matriarch of our family and hold our strong family bond together just by her presence. My mother has taught me to never stop learning and growing, because I was able to see her get her Master’s degree while raising two little girls. My “Auntie Team” is just that — my team. I’ve experienced how to handle loss; I have been able to laugh, cry, get angry, listen, learn, and observe with these women all my life. When we’re all in a room together, the room lights up with passion, courage, and strength that is unmeasurable. They have always made me feel like I can take on the world, and don’t even think about apologizing for it either!

What do you wish people knew or understood about Black History Month — either in general, or as it relates to connecting to others?
Black History Month should matter to everyone. The key word is “history.” — it’s not just African American or black history; it is the history of the African Diaspora that affected a worldwide community of races and cultures. Black History Month honors the contributions that African Americans made to history. A statement I like to live by is, how can we shape a bigger and brighter future if we do not learn and recognize our past?

 

Devon Mays, Mortgage Insurance Associate

Cooper Culture: Devon MaysWhat does “home” mean to you, and how does that meaning motivate your work?
I consider “home” an intangible and peaceful state of mind rather than a physical dwelling place. This helps to keep a positive outlook when things don’t always go so well at the workplace. 

How does your experience as a member of the Network of African American Coopers group lend itself to your job at Mr. Cooper?
As a member of NAAC, I have been able to meet and network with people I normally wouldn’t.  It also allows me to use the platform toreach others who may need guidance or resources to be successful at Mr. Cooper.

Who are some of the black leaders from history or role models from the present day that you admire, and what pieces of advice or lessons have they taught you?
The historical black leader I admire most is Marcus Garvey. He is the father of all Civil Rights leaders in the past 100 years, and he has inspired everyone from MLK and Malcolm X to Louis Farrakhan, Elijah Muhammed, Bob Marley, and many more. A present-day black leader I admire is the black woman in general. The modern black woman has emerged to become one of the most educated demographics in America. This will pave the way for us in the future.

What do you wish people knew or understood about Black History Month — either in general, or as it relates to connecting to others?
I wish people truly understood the contribution that black people have made in the establishment of America. We literally built this country without any credit or compensation by way of free slave labor. We also invented a great deal of the machinery, products, and everyday items we still use today without any formal acknowledgement of our accomplishments. We are the ONLY race to be stolen from our native land and then stripped of our culture, language, religion, and history. … Despite the overwhelming odds against us, we are still surviving and thriving in a foreign land where we are not always welcome, which is a testament to our tenacity, resilience, and unwavering determination to prevail.

 

Keisha Ellison, Account Services Analyst

Cooper Culture: Keisha EllisonWhat does “home” mean to you, and how does that meaning motivate your work?
The word “home” means a place to comfortably and unapologetically be who you are. Mr. Cooper embraces the home in us all by allowing us to challenge convention, cheer on our teams, and be champions for our customers.

How does your experience as a member of the Network of African American Coopers group lend itself to your job at Mr. Cooper?
Being a NAAC officer motivates me in my day to day operations by setting urgency to complete tasks. I really have to make time for NAAC, and because I’m so passionate about its success, it really pushes me to do well in my daily duties to allow time for NAAC participation.

Who are some of the black leaders from history or role models from the present day that you admire, and what pieces of advice or lessons have they taught you?
My role models in leadership that have paved the way for my success are my mother, Michelle Obama, and our very own Shasta Patton. I watched these women face opposition, remain true to themselves, and succeed beyond measure. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from all of these ladies is to set myself high on my priority list and seek clarity when I don’t understand. These two personal values have really supported my growth (professionally and personally).

What do you wish people knew or understood about Black History Month — either in general, or as it relates to connecting to others?
Black History Month isn’t for African Americans; it’s for all other cultures to learn about the obstacles we overcame in past. It motivates cultures of all kinds to remain persistent and rise high above opposition.

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