5 Questions with Safia Cooper
Safia Cooper, renowned marketing professional and daughter of business mogul and executive chairman of Pulse Investments Limited, Kingsley Cooper, could say that she learnt from the best in the business.
“As the pioneer of a now global business, my dad always had the vision of me joining the company someday. It was a no-brainer for me, as being able to carry on the family business was a belief that I too shared. Working alongside my father was ‘the’ plan, but it was more a question of timing,” Cooper shared.
But working alongside daddy dearest doesn’t mean it’s fun and favouritism, not that she expects it either. She is seen as the always-on-the-go, co-managing director of the company, with her core responsibilities focused on the newest arm of the business, Pulse Leisure and the Entertainment portfolios.
“As it relates to the entertainment side of the business, all events produced by Pulse, including Caribbean Fashionweek, the Caribbean Model Search Finals, the Peter Tosh Music Festival, and any other music, cultural or fashion event falls under my purview,” she explained.
With all that Safia has working on, we were lucky to tie her down for a few minutes for Five Questions With … .
1. You once held the position of brand manager at Red Stripe. How did that job shape who you are or contribute to your growth as a businesswoman and marketing professional?
I spent 11 years at the University of Red Stripe/Diageo. My time there was spent in market in Jamaica, as well as working in São Paulo, Brazil. I refer to it is a university because I was able to work in different areas of the company as well as on almost every brand portfolio listed. I met and worked alongside so many great and talented people. A lot of my experience I garnered understudying, absorbing and being thrown into the deep end. Red Stripe/Diageo was the perfect foundation for me and back then the marketing and commercial sides of the business were underpinned by true strategy with execution led against brand and key business objectives,
2. How has the entertainment industry evolved or not evolved over the past five years?
The industry in some regards has more or less remained the same. I have been in this industry for almost 20 years in different capacities. While events have gone through quite a bit of innovation and renovation, the basic principles remain the same. The core elements such as good event content (whether live or recorded/international or local music), good venue, accessible price points to entry, a safe environment to host, these all remain the same on the standard event checklist. However, what I find very encouraging is how event promoters have now found new ways to expand the event experience beyond a moment of one night and even beyond the local physical space of the event. This being done via online platforms, replicating the same event in other countries, translating and reformatting events to cruises, hotel getaways, etc, as a few examples. This is something that Pulse will do with the new Pulse Global initiative where we will host fashion events in other countries starting in November in Lagos.
3. Teenagers are known to ‘thief-out’ to go to a party or two. Share with us, your first experience doing so and the lesson you learnt, if any?
Well, I didn’t have to ‘thief-out’ to attend a party. I got permission to attend an event and decided to stay out way later than my mother allowed me to. For fear of giving away my age, this was my 16th birthday celebrations at Mirage. Yes, Mirage Nightclub! I don’t know how many people remember that spot, but hands down it was one of Jamaica’s best nightclubs ever. It was way ahead of its time. Mirage could open its doors in Jamaica now just as it was formatted back then. My poor teenage pea-brain decided to change the time on my watch by a few hours in the back, so that when I was picked up from the club my watch said 10 p.m.; however, the clock at home said 2 a.m. Now the missing piece of the puzzle was that I should have actually adjusted the time on the clocks at home to make this a seamless story!
4. Let’s get a little more personal. Being very busy yourself, what is it like being in a relationship with a disc jockey-lawyer whose schedule would also prove to be hectic?
We both have extremely hectic schedules. However, I believe that we have mastered the ability of making the most out of what some may consider ‘the small moments’. For example, we have a special morning routine where Sanjay will play music from his laptop as if we’re at a session while we get ready for work. Mondays is usually hip hop and R&B music and Wednesdays is ‘80s and ‘90s.
5. What is your favourite season of the year and why?
My favourite season of the year is Christmas. Christmas holds very fond memories of family and camaraderie for me. Plus, people seem to be generally in better spirits and more genuinely caring over this time of the year. Yes, of course, I love the food, too!