Sammons Financial Group's Cooper receives honor from alma mater
Sammons Financial Group Chief Human Resources Officer Anne Cooper, who was recently inducted into Western Washington University Athletics Hall of Fame, says that leadership for her began on the basketball court.
"Being a co-captain for two years for a successful team in a very strong program was my first true leadership role," Cooper said during a Wealth Management Wire email interview. "I learned a lot about leadership from my coach, the legendary Lynda Goodrich, and she encouraged me to lead on and off the court. I took those leadership lessons with me into my career."
Cooper, who also serves as senior vice president for Sammons Financial Group, has been with the company since 2013, following more than 20 years of human resources and organizational development experience, according to her bio on the company's website. Cooper is former head of HR for a division of ING. She is a member of the American Psychological Association and the Society of Industrial/Organizational Psychologists; serves on the board of the Central Iowa Chapter of the American Red Cross; and is a governing member of the Western Washington University Foundation Board.
Cooper played center for Western Washington, where she holds the school record for 322 blocked shots. She played for the university on a national quarterfinal squad in 1986. Cooper is one of five former student athletes in the Class of 2018 inductees into the university's Athletics Hall of Fame, according to an announcement released Jan. 19. A formal induction is planned for 1 p.m. May 19 on the university's WECU Court at Carver Gym.
"I'm honored and excited by this recognition," Cooper said. "Having remained involved with my alma mater, Western Washington University, as a member of the Foundation Board, I have had the opportunity to give back in a number of ways. This is another very meaningful way to stay connected to an important part of my personal history."
Focus was a key to her scholastic and professional success, Cooper said. "I was a student-athlete in the truest sense of the term," she said. "School was my first priority and I was very disciplined about always going to class, staying in close communication with my professors, and keeping my grades up. That dedication and commitment to the academic program is critical to making the most of one’s university days. Students can really differentiate themselves later in life by being part of an athletic program, so I would encourage them to make the most of the opportunities and life lessons that come from collegiate sports."
After completing her bachelor's in psychology at Western Washington, she earned a master's and Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Iowa State University.
Cooper has served on Western Washington's Foundation Board since 2013 and she was a commencement speaker at the university's December 2014 graduation.
Cooper was a dominant defensive presence for the Western Washington Vikings from 1982-86, according to the university's announcement. She set school records for blocked shots in a single game, twice doing it nine times; in a season, posting 114; and in her career, with 322. Cooper was team co-captain during her junior and senior years and career won-lost record was 94-27, or 77.7 percent.
Cooper also ranked among the university's top 10 in three other categories: sixth in points (965) and rebounds (795) and 10th in assists (223).
"Anne had long arms and great timing," Goodrich was quoted in the announcement. "To be a good shot blocker, you have to have that. But what amazed me was the number of assists Anne had per game. She could score inside, but she also was a very good passer. A lot of times with a center, the ball goes in but it doesn't come back out. But when the defense collapsed on Anne, she found the open player."