Just Ask Iris | Meet Iris

Iris Ann Cooper hails from Evansville, Indiana. She worked in the financial service arena for over twenty-five years, providing funding for housing, commercial real estate, and small businesses. She has developed an expertise in the management of a variety of projects for businesses, non-profits, and government.

Iris is an entrepreneur. She is the owner of “JustAskIris!” an entrepreneurial coaching firm and was recently awarded a consulting contract to review the State of Ohio’s small business lending programs, funded by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Iris is one of the founders of Glory Foods, Inc., a national food marketing company, and has also operated a mortgage business and retail gift shop. Her column “The Bottom Line” appears in GrapevineColumbus.com bi-monthly with commentary on small business issues.

Iris is a leader. She is the former Director of the Ohio Division of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, featuring the Small Business Development Centers, under Governor Ted Strickland. As director, Iris led the state from 29th worst place for small businesses in 2007 to the 9th best in the nation, and 1st in the Midwest in four years.

Iris is a community advocate. In 2011, she was appointed by Administrator Karen Mills to the Small Business Administration Regulatory Fairness Board. In 2010, she became a trustee for the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and the National Economic Empowerment Chair for the Coalition of 100 Black Women. Iris was featured in the October 2008 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine and chosen as a 2008 Woman of Economic and Leadership Development. Additionally, she was honored in 2006 as a YWCA Woman of Achievement. Iris was a founding trustee for the Columbus/Franklin County Port Financing Authority in 2006. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., a member of the Central Ohio Chapter of the Coalition of 100 Black Women, and a steward of St. Paul A.M.E. Church.

Iris is a life-long learner. Iris obtained a BA degree in Journalism and an MBA in Marketing from Indiana University. She is currently enrolled in the DBA program at Walden University, majoring in Entrepreneurship and teaches business courses at Franklin University and Columbus State Community College. Iris has mentored hundreds of women and entrepreneurs over the years, leading many to self-sustainability.