Leadership development is a staple at many universities and business schools. At Shenandoah, students engage with dynamic working professionals through the Leadership And Mentoring Program (LAMP).
Joseph Cooper ’22 is a Shenandoah University School of Business senior who will graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) sport management concentration and a minor in psychology. Hailing from Manassas, Virginia, his ultimate goal is to become an NFL agent or work within the NFL Players Association.
At Shenandoah, there are a lot of unique opportunities,” Cooper said. “It’s allowed me to truly reach my potential and find areas for growth.”
Joseph Cooper ’22 | BBA, Sport Management | Shenandoah University School of Business
Ironically, during his high school years, Cooper did not participate in athletics, but he loved watching all types of sports. A conscientious student, he often played digital sports games after completing his homework, but when asked by a high school teacher about his college plans, Cooper said he felt uncertain. When asked what he really enjoyed, Cooper quickly responded that he loved sports. The teacher replied, “You know, they have careers in sports, and you don’t have to be a professional athlete.” That’s when he made the decision to enroll at Shenandoah.
Cooper says the sports management curriculum equips him with a strong business foundation while also providing opportunities to engage with sports industry professionals and participate in once-in-a-lifetime experiences like volunteering at the Super Bowl in Miami, Florida, and attending the Summer 2019 FINA World Swimming Championships in South Korea.
Traveling to South Korea was my first time flying,” he said. “It was an experience for me to get on a plane, travel outside of the U.S., and experience another culture. I made friends and memories that will last a lifetime.”
To navigate his collegiate journey, Cooper leans on his purpose and life goals, which he calls his “four pillars” representing family, finances, career, and spirituality. These pillars supply the balance and perspective he uses to stay the course while cultivating relationships, facing challenges, or taking advantage of the opportunities available to him at Shenandoah. In addition to participating in LAMP, Cooper serves as a resident assistant (RA) and as president for both the Sport Business Association and Men United for Excellence.
At first, I didn’t think I would be interested in working with a mentor from the financial sector, but it ended up being one of the biggest blessings of my college career,” said Cooper. “It’s been a great experience. James has educated me about financial planning, like the differences between traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs, and other concepts,” he explained. “Finances haven’t always been the best for me. I have tuition, living expenses, and student loans, but as I look to the future, I want to build generational wealth, something I can pass on to my family.”
When Imoh and his family moved to Winchester several years ago, he said his wife, a mental health therapist, encouraged him to get involved in the community. As he learned about the LAMP program, he felt mentoring would be a great way to make a difference.
I met Joey his first-year as a first-generation student,” said Imoh. “I’m glad it wasn’t a semester-long or one-year program. We continue to meet once a month, and our relationship has evolved over the years.”
James Imoh | Financial Advisor | Edward Jones | Shenandoah University Trustee
Imoh and Cooper talk about a lot of things: college life, coursework, overcoming challenges, and persevering through trials.
I knew I was going to come alongside him as he pursued his goals,” said Imoh. “I’ve been able to share my life experiences as an African American businessman. My job as his mentor is to encourage him, advise him, and hold him accountable. I see him evolving, and I’ve enjoyed watching him grow as he works toward achieving his life goals and stepping out of his comfort zone, time and time again.”