*Los Angeles, CA – On December 31, 2021, after much consideration, Mr. Earl “Skip” Cooper, II officially retired as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Black Business Association (BBA), but not before sharing parting words that duly encapsulate his unwavering dedication: “After over 46 years in leadership with the BBA, I feel now is the time for new leadership to oversee the organization’s day-to-day operations.”
“It is and always will be a true commitment and my special purpose in life of serving African Americans and business owners, in addition to others.”
“I look forward to assisting the Board in whatever way I can with the transition to building a stronger organization with the commitment to service young African Americans entrepreneurs because they are our future. My servitude will continue as I transition to the role of President Emeritus and Chairman of the Board.”
“In addition, it is my intention to offer all support to the incoming Interim President, Sarah R. Harris, in a way that affords her the opportunity to lead without encumbrances. From over 20 years of working with and knowing Ms. Harris, I have personally witnessed her having demonstrated a strong commitment to the BBA which makes me confident in supporting this transition,” says Mr. Cooper.
As a valued and trusted friend of the BBA, the Board is pleased to have Sarah Harris, publisher of Suite Life SoCal magazine, step in as the new Interim President. To the degree that Ms. Harris has provided pivotal services for the BBA while working with Mr. Cooper for more than 20 years, the Board is confident she will help usher in the new era of the Black Business Association in a way that both honors what the previous leadership built and makes room for the next phase the organization’s evolution. Ms. Harris comes with many ideas and enjoys the full support of the Board, local business/community leaders and advocates.
Regarding her appointment, Ms. Harris had this to say, “Having worked with Mr. Cooper for more than two decades and embracing the same passion for seeing Black and minority-owned businesses flourish, it is my honor to be entrusted with helping to shape the next chapter of the BBA to realize its full potential and engage with a new generation of business owners. Having the support of the Board and a host of community leaders fills me with an immense amount of gratitude. I am definitely ready to get to work to deliver some amazingly innovative programs and to be a formidable advocate leader for more equitable opportunities for minority and women small business owners.”
On Thursday, February 24, 2022, the Board will host a Tribute Reception to salute Mr. Cooper for a lifetime of work that he calls his “Special Purpose” in being of service to others. The event will include the BBA’s 2022-2023 Board of Directors Installation Ceremony. The details of the event, including the location, will be announced soon.
President Barack Obama once said, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” It is in the spirit of continuing to be the change we seek for minority businesses that the BBA is lifting its gaze to a glorious future. A future wherein the Board of Directors welcomes the community’s support and anticipates creating meaningful partnerships and strategic engagement.
About the Black Business Association
Founded in 1970, the Black Business Association (BBA), headquartered in Los Angeles, the oldest active ethnic business support organization in the state of California, has been committed to ensuring that African American and other diverse business owners benefit from our advocacy efforts to impact, improve, and implement policy that improves access to contracting and procurement opportunities with the public and private sector, in addition to providing access to financial resources. The BBA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
The Black Business Association’s mission is to advocate and promote the development of African American owned businesses with the goal of creating a firm economic base that support the self-determination and survival of the African American and urban community.
The Black Business Association maintains very effective working relationships with elected and appointed officials for the support of African American business development. Locally, statewide and in Washington, DC, we are constantly aware of pending legislation that might affect our member’s businesses, their growth, and their ability to conduct business. When legislation is being considered that affects our mission, the BBA quickly mobilizes to work with key policymakers to support, defeat or modify the bill and pursue the BBA position. As an organization, we are constantly at the helm, securing innovative means and policies that protect our constituency and their business interests.
About Earl “Skip” Cooper, II
From interacting with Black businessmen as a little boy on his paper route, to interacting with Black business leaders, community leaders and elected officials as a young man finding his way, Earl “Skip” Cooper II had resolved within himself that he wanted to be a difference-maker in the business arena. Moving from Oakland, California to Los Angeles in 1972 and earning a master’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis on Entrepreneurship from USC put those wheels in motion. At every turn, over the last 46 years, Mr. Cooper has leveraged his knowledge, his resources, and his relationships for the cause of advancing Black business enterprise from City Hall to the White House. He has selflessly used whatever platform made available to him to give voice to Black entrepreneurship. And he has taken policymakers on the local, state and national levels to task when it comes to crafting responsible legislation that makes it easier for Black businesses to exist and thrive. A former Cal State LA instructor, a hallmark of Mr. Cooper’s four-plus decades with the Black Business Association has been his commitment to recognizing Black movers and shakers in the minority business sector via projects and programs such as the KACE radio broadcast in the mid-70s, he started BBA awards ceremonies, dessert receptions, and business seminars, workshops and conferences. As one who gives God all the credit for his blessed life and applauds to his colleagues for what they’ve accomplished together, Mr. Cooper leaves his post happy about the energy young entrepreneurs come with and the BBA’s capacity to guide young entrepreneurs as our future leaders. Mr. Cooper is also publisher/editor of the award-winning Black Business News, in addition, he is also a 100% disabled veteran.
About Sarah R. Harris
Sarah Harris is founder and publisher-in-chief of Suite Life SoCal magazine.
In 1999, through her experience working in the community and as a self-taught graphic designer, Ms. Harris was inspired to publish her first magazine called SAVE THE DATE as a quarterly eight-page newsletter filled with event listings and news bits of community happenings. In 2005, SAVE THE DATE evolved into a full color, high-gloss magazine. After experiencing some hardships due to the downturn in the economy and shift changes in the industry, SAVE THE DATE was shuttered. However, Sarah is not one to quit following her dreams. In 2019, she once again resumed publishing with the launch of her current publication, Suite Life SoCal.
In addition to her publishing venture, as the president of SuiteEvents, a Southern California creative services and marketing company, Ms. Harris has had the privilege of working with over a hundred organizations, elected officials, government agencies and small businesses, of which, in part, include: the Office of Councilman Curren D. Price Jr., the City of Inglewood, USC Marshall School of Business, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, YWCA of Greater Los Angeles, the Black Business Association and many others. Sarah’s efforts have been recognized by several entities such as at the: Black Business Association 2003 “Salute to Black Women” Awards Luncheon; Recycling Black Dollars 2006 “Masters of Publishing” Honors Luncheon; and Urban Issues Breakfast Forum for her contributions to the monthly dialogue forum for five years. Sarah was also chosen by Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas as the 26th District’s Small Business of the Year at the 2008 California Small Business Association’s annual Small Business Day Awards.
Harris grew up in Riverside, California and attended Scripps College in Claremont where she studied Humanities and Fine Arts. Today, Harris resides in Los Angeles with her son, Xavier who currently attends Tuskegee University.
source: ESP Public Relations