Cooper, a loyal NAIFA member since 2018, began his career in financial services in Albuquerque in 2003, focusing his outreach and prospecting in the city's small African American community. He saw a need for financial literacy training and worked with his firm to develop a program of monthly seminars on the financial concerns of African Americans. Today, his clients include all segments of Albuquerque's diverse population, including members of its large Hispanic and Native American populations. He continues to offer a financial literacy program to lower-income residents through the African American Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce (AAGACC) and a grant from the Kellogg Foundation.
Currently the Vice-Chair of the Board of the AAGACC, Cooper helped found the organization and served on its first Board. He has been an active member of both the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce and the Albuquerque Native American Chamber of Commerce since he began his financial services career. Cooper is the President Elect of NAIFA's New Mexico chapter.
"I am very pleased to congratulate Chad Cooper as the deserving recipient of NAIFA's 2021 Diversity Champion award," said NAIFA President Tom Michel, LACP. "Chad's commitment to promoting financial literacy in under-served markets is a great example of how NAIFA members make a real difference in their communities. It also fits with NAIFA's commitment to working with our members, our industry, public policymakers, and other stakeholders to promote the financial security of all Americans. NAIFA Nation is proud of Chad and his efforts to champion diversity, equity, and inclusion in Albuquerque and beyond."
Cooper's dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion goes beyond his work with business organizations. He served as the University of New Mexico Alumni Association Board President for 2020 and led an effort to add to the national dialogue about racial justice and inclusivity through the association's "Community Connector" series of vodcasts. These featured conversations about racial justice with leaders from the university's Health Sciences, Athletics, Research, and Diversity and Inclusion departments. As Board President, Cooper also led a campaign to revive and enhance the presence of the UNM Alumni Association Black Alumni Chapter.
Cooper was invited by the New Mexico State Office of African American Affairs (OAAA) to present on financial topics at the annual OAAA Black Expo. He was a financial literacy instructor at the STEM-based summer training program for middle and high school students sponsored by Sandia National Laboratories. In 2016, he was one of the few agents selected by Prudential to present at the Essence Festival in New Orleans, where he was able to lead a dialogue about the importance of financial management in the Black community with the nationally recognized Tiffany "The Budgetnista" Aliche.
"Chad Cooper's dedication to serving his professional association, commitment to making a difference in his community, and desire to help a highly diverse group of individuals and families achieve financial security make him a great choice for NAIFA's 2021 Diversity Champion," said Delvin Joyce, CLU, ChFC, Chair of NAIFA's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council. "NAIFA's commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion means that we had a number of worthy nominees for this award, but Chad's passion and hard work shone through. On behalf of NAIFA's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council, I am proud to congratulate Chad for this much-deserved honor."
NAIFA created the Diversity Champion Award to recognize exceptional efforts to promote the full and equal participation of diverse people within the insurance and financial services profession. Cooper will receive the award December 6 at NAIFA National Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.
A Diversity Champion presents a unique blend of experience, skills, accomplishments, and other qualities. A nominee must be a member of NAIFA in good standing and have at least five years' experience in the insurance and financial services industry. The Selection Committee considers the nominee's trailblazing efforts in one or more of the following areas:
- Creating and promoting diverse and inclusive workplaces
- Raising awareness and fostering communication within the financial services industry and the community
- Supporting inclusion and encouraging diverse individuals to reach their professional goals
- Fostering awareness and commitment to diversity and inclusion within the NAIFA membership
- Providing insurance and financial services in underserved and diverse markets
ABOUT NAIFA: The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors is the preeminent membership association for the multigenerational community of financial professionals in the United States. NAIFA members subscribe to a strong Code of Ethics and represent a full spectrum of financial services practice specialties. They work with families and businesses to help Americans improve financial literacy and achieve financial security. NAIFA provides producers a national community for advocacy, education and networking along with awards, publications and leadership opportunities to allow NAIFA members to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. NAIFA has 53 state and territorial chapters and 35 large metropolitan local chapters. NAIFA members in every congressional district advocate on behalf of producers and consumers at the state, interstate and federal levels.
Mark Briscoe, NAIFA, 703-770-8111, [email protected]