Who made you great, Cooper Holland?

cooperCooper Holland
Senior Project Manager | Central Atlanta Progress
Atlanta, GA

“My children inspired me constantly to do better, to work harder, to find new ways to reinvent myself. “

“My title is Senior Project Manager for Woodruff Park. I manage the basic programming and coming up with ideas. It was a park that needed some help. Some days are diamond, some days are stone. No days are ever the same.  I’m out in the park a lot, I work with people who are interested in coming in the park. Today I was meeting with a film crew who will be filming there. We were working on Atlanta Streets Alive last weekend. Every day is just new and interesting. It’s very much about connecting people.

“How I got here is a long and winding story. On the way, I learned from so many people who I guess were overwhelmed by me, inspired by me, I don’t know, they just gave me chances. One of the great chances in my life, I started out as a book keeper at The Mescon Group and ended up being COO [,partner and CFO]. I was the only one without a college degree and my partners all had PhDs. I was given chances. It was a great job, but it was a corporate job. I decided I wanted a more creative life.

“I left that job and opened an arts and crafts studio. I moved down here in ‘96 and started the neighborhood association, I was very involved with neighborhood activity. I always say to people about Atlanta, Atlanta is the place where you can make a difference. If you have passion and you want to do something, you can get it done in Atlanta.

Cooper, last summer, with her granddaughter Olivia and sons Travis and Tapley

“What influenced me was my children. I was a single mother and I didn’t go to college. My children inspired me constantly to do better, to work harder, to find new ways to reinvent myself. I worked at Georgia State University, I sold ice cream on the street, I was a temporary bartender. I did whatever it took to get the job done.

“I have three boys. My oldest son was always in sales, he’s very dynamic. Sean, my wild child. My middle son is the analytical one, the one who took everything apart, and then we couldn’t find the pieces. Tapley. My youngest son is Travis, he’s known he wanted to be a writer since he was six. I often thought that maybe I would have been a bum if I hadn’t had them. They kept motivating me, they kept inspiring me.

“When I said I was going to give tours, when I said I was going to take up scuba diving, when I ran a marathon, there’s never been a time when they’ve told me, “Mom, you need to sit down.” I started Taekwondo, and my son and his wife joined me and I actually sparred against my son. They never said, “You cant do this mom.”

“You know, I’ve just been fortunate. I’ve learned from every job I’ve ever had. I’ve never left anything in shambles. You don’t burn bridges. You treat people like you want to be treated, and I think that just works.”

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