Donald Cooper


Chances are, some of us whose life and work life is affected by the Covid crisis may never  had occasion to appreciate or experience the “Gig Economy”, in its many forms.  Some of us however may need to make like a Marine ; Improvise-Adapt and Overcome in one way or another. Necessity remains the mother of invention and re-invention.  Often appearing at times when you least expected that necessity to arise.  If you are going to learn some new skills, proven philosophies, and successful strategies, including The Human Marketing Factor, why not learn from one of the best worldly warriors of innovation?

Donald Cooper was born in Toronto, Canada. He started his business career at the age of 6 sweeping the floor in the family business for 5 cents a day. Long days and low pay…excellent early training for an entrepreneur.

Donald earned an MBA from the Ivey Business School in London, followed by 18 years at Cooper Sporting Goods, the family business. In just two generations the business grew from its humble beginnings with just 11 employees to become a world leader in protective sports equipment and an International Brand icon, with over 2,800 employees. If you grew up playing sports in North America and many other nations, you’ve probably had Donald’s last name on some part of your body!

Cooper Canada manufactured in Toronto and operated an offshore factory in Barbados for 13 years. The company exported to 24 countries, survived being unionized, sourced product overseas, bought competitors, dealt with partnership and family issues, went public and finally sold out for a number of strategic reasons.

At age 43, Donald hung up his sports jersey and reinvented himself as a visionary fashion retailer. He fundamentally redefined the customer experience, achieved sales 3 times the national average, and attracted customers from up to 3 hours away. For this achievement Donald received 7 Awards of Excellence for service, marketing, and business innovation, including being voted Canada’s Outstanding Innovative Retailer.

Some of his creative and compelling tactics included; “We’ll pay for your gas if you don’t like the store” … A humorously informative newsletter that looked like a comic book, Signs that said  “We know you’re not a thief, please take as many items into the change room as you’d like to”…Laz-y Boy chairs and magazines to keep hubby comfortably occupied… free refreshments… and diaper change stations, long before they were even a thing, in well-marked rest rooms that people did not need to feel uncomfortable asking to use or hard to find… And don’t worry about the kids, they’re nearby, enthusiastically exploring and swashbuckling on an almost life size pirate ship located in the middle of the store.

Evolving from perfecting the protection of virtually every body part, including the family jewels of professional sports royalty, amateurs and weekend warriors alike, to then creating a truly unique and compelling shopping experience, Donald now shares his accrued wealth of diverse insights, success lessons learned, fails witnessed and humorously teachable anecdotes from around the globe.

For the past 20 years, as a management speaker and business and corporate life coach, Donald has helped business clients in over 40 industries throughout the world to rethink, refocus and reinvent themselves to create 5 key outcomes…  (THESE SHOULD BE REVISITED a little later on)

1. Create a compelling competitive advantage

2. Market and promote more effectively in a crowded and cynical marketplace,

3. Attract, lead and retain a dedicated and top-performing team

4.Improve long-term profitability…and to,

5. Create a clear direction for the future of their business.

Donald has been awarded the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation by the National speakers Association. This is the highest earned designation in the world of professional speaking. He has also been inducted into the Canadian Speaking Hall of Fame. Not bad for someone who had to overcome stuttering as a youth.

His insights into how to sell more, manage smarter, grow your bottom line…and very importantly to actually have a life will inform you, challenge you, disturb you, inspire you…and leave you with a new and powerful understanding of your business, your customers and your life.

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