Carla Cooper

This entry is part 8 of 33 in the series

Carla Cooper Daymon WorldwideCarla Cooper

Daymon Worldwide

Years with company:  President & CEO since January 1, 2011; Daymon Worldwide Director since 2009

Current position and your immediate supervisor:
President and CEO reporting to Daymon Worldwide Board of Directors


Education degrees and professional/volunteer affiliates:

  • B.A., University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington
  • I am on the board of trustees of the Culinary Institute of America
  • I am a member of the Women’s Foodservice Forum and past chair
  • Past chair of the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA)
  • Ruth’s Hospitality Group Inc. board director since 2003


Mentors and how have they assisted you in your career:
I owe a great deal to the many mentors that I have chosen over the years.  I have found that my mentors change with my career progression and they come from both the companies that I work in and my outside involvements.  I use mentors as models of experience and behavior and I also use them for advice.  My most valuable mentors have been the ones that were aggressive in their direction and advice to me.  I listen carefully to them and follow up on their suggestions.  Because of the follow through, they feel good about giving me more candid feedback.  I credit my mentors and my use of them for a balanced and steady movement upward in my career.

What are you most proud of in your career achievements or a defining moment of your career to date?I believe strongly in the philosophy that people are your greatest asset in business.  I am most proud of the large following of great people that I have met along the journey of my career and that have worked alongside of me.  I worked for four of the best companies in the world before accepting my current position at Daymon Worldwide and the people that I impacted by my leadership have paid me back by remaining friends and helpful contacts as all of us move through this life.  It is gratifying to see their successful accomplishments…this is indeed my defining understanding and why I spend so much time on the people part of business.

Most challenging part of your job:
The most challenging part of any new job is quickly learning the business deeply and choosing the right issues on which to focus right away.  We all know that the first 100 days are critical and set the foundation for a successful and sustainable future.  Balancing all the communication, listening and learning, traveling to meet customers and identifying these key strategic issues is challenging….and energizing!

Thoughts or advice for upcoming younger executives:
I am frequently asked for thoughts and advice for younger executives…and I have a fair amount of it that I have given to mentees in the past.  The advice that is on my mind lately is advice that my father gave me as a young girl….”you’re only as good as your reputation,” he said.  “Make sure it’s the best.”  I have never been more convinced of how true those words are.  Always perform, deliver the results, and don’t burn bridges…bring others along.

I love the creative outlet of cooking and decorating.  Since we move our household frequently, I get the opportunity to decorate and re-model and I find that fun.  I also like to garden (mostly herbs and annuals) and I spend too much time raising our two cats, Will and Grace.