Safia Cooper is brand manager for spirits at Red Stripe and is always on the move for the company. Considering her track record, the effortless way she tackles each task at Red Stripe, she believes she was born to be successful. Being able to use consumer insights to develop business and brand strategy with the goal of unlocking growth, is key to being successful at her job.
"I believe that I was also born with a creative flair that has helped me to be successful in marketing. I do not have a degree in marketing, but I have a passion for satisfying consumer needs through creative marketing solutions, while delivering value for the Red Stripe business. I am extremely driven and ambitious, which helps," she adds.
In her role as brand manager for spirits, a portfolio she's worked with in some capacity before, she says this time round, the challenges are different. "We work within an ever-changing and fast-moving consumer-goods industry. The alcohol business, is as, or even more, diverse within this sector. I am now managing a wider spirits portfolio within an alcohol industry which has even more players in 2011. Our consumer base is, additionally, being pulled in various directions to spend their disposable income, within an even more challenging economy."
Having spent practically her entire working life at Red Stripe, she has remained because, "Red Stripe is a company that I am proud to work for. I have learnt a lot of life lessons and interacted with many great people here. This company is otherwise known as The University of Red Stripe. It is a part of a dynamic multinational Diageo, which allows one to be challenged professionally. I am always attracted to this business, as it provides exposure to global opportunities, inclusive of a wide knowledge base, international standards of work and, of course, job accessibility across borders."
On the other hand, Cooper's job is extremely time-consuming. It forces her to multitask. Most important, she is responsible for the development of her direct reports and others in the company who look to her for leadership. But she is most rewarded by seeing the successes of those who work with her.
In a male-driven environment, does Cooper face any discrimination? She does not, but many people remark on her youthful appearance. With her hectic schedule, this busy woman grabs some 'me' time by reading a good novel on a Sunday afternoon, watching TV, spending time at the spa or listening to one of her favourite dancehall artistes while driving to work.
In the future, she would love to run her own business, as she sees entrepreneurship as her ultimate goal.