These days, it’s rare to join a company right out of college and still be working there eight years later. But that’s exactly what Jasmine Cooper has done at the lighting company Signify, formerly Philips Lighting.
Her first year, Cooper participated in a rotational program, during which she contributed to multiple departments. After working as a data analyst and the Head of Programs and Promotions, she’s now a sales performance analyst, providing support for the sales team. And as the founder of Signify’s first-ever employee resource groups—SHE (for women) and AHN (African Heritage Network)—Cooper has also played an important role in the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts.
“Signify appreciates what each employee brings to the table and supports them in creating a journey based on their unique interests and objectives,” she says. “There is no predefined five- or 10-year track. Signify culture is flexible and employees are in control of their future, which I love.”
Here, Cooper talks about creating employee resource groups, how Signify invests in early career talent, and the exciting work she’s doing right now.
What attracted you to work at Signify?
After studying international business at Northeastern University, it was important to me to work for a global company. I was attracted to Signify because of the opportunity to work on projects around the world with people from all different backgrounds. I was also excited to work with a company that has tremendous brand recognition and is well known for the quality and innovation of their products.
You’ve held many roles since joining Signify. How has the company encouraged you to grow?
I have been able to truly create my own career path at Signify. I have always felt empowered to work on things I am passionate about and take on projects outside of my current role. This has led to opportunities in new departments, and I have been able to leverage skills cross functionally and build a deeper understanding of the business and how all our roles connect.
In each new role, I have been able to develop without feeling like I am starting all over in an entry-level position. Being encouraged to explore my interests across the organization has given me a unique experience that has strengthened my ability to collaborate and contribute.
How else does Signify nurture and develop talent?
I think the best way to describe how Signify nurtures and develops talent is trust. They trust you to do what is best for you and the organization, and they trust your talent and your passion. Being a part of an organization that trusts you creates confidence and empowerment.
And Signify does not tell you “no.” If there is something that you want to do and you are passionate enough to take the initiative to get it done, then Signify will support you in accomplishing it.
The company also has amazing learning platforms with world-class resources and learning paths. They encourage employees to earn master’s degrees or certifications and will provide resources for these undertakings.
What are you responsible for in your current role as a sales performance analyst?
It is my role to get the sales team the right information in the right format at the right time so they can make the right decisions. I am working to make lives easier, and to ensure that everyone can spend time doing activities that add value and less time looking for information they need. I do this by automating and optimizing reporting to create efficient processes while providing a new level of transparency to data that can drive forward-looking discussion that then drives sales and helps us meet our objectives.
I also work closely with sales leaders to enable strategic decision making, and in 2021 will be working with my team on setting up an advanced analytics center of excellence that will use data to answer business challenges. This is a differentiating capability for Signify in the Americas, and I am excited to help build it.
What are you working on right now that excites or inspires you?
I am working on a project that will automate point-of-sale data from our top B2C customers. Making this information readily available for consumption by the organization has the potential to be game changing not only for the sales team, but also for marketing, demand planning, and our supply chain function. It is inspiring to collaborate cross functionally toward a common objective, and the potential impact for Signify is exciting. We will be able to create better promotions, understand our customers better, dive deeper into regional performance of new product introductions, forecast better, and overall be a stronger partner for our key customers. And we will do all of this with less manual effort than before.
You created Signify’s first-ever employee resource groups. What inspired you to do so?
I had positive experiences with affinity groups at other organizations where I built lasting friendships and met mentors who have helped shape my professional journey. As a Black woman in corporate America, I am often the only one who looks like me in the conference room, and no matter how inclusive the corporate culture is, it’s important for me to be able to connect with others who have a similar experience as me. Being in a space where shared experience is acknowledged in a productive way is extremely valuable. The objective of these groups is to create a family within the larger Signify family that we are all a part of.
What was the experience like creating the groups?
Starting the employee resource group initiative was similar to my career path experience and the support I felt in choosing to move from finance or sales operations to a marketing role. The trusting and empowering culture at Signify created an environment where my passion for diversity and inclusion and celebrating everything that makes you who you are could become something tangible.
What impact have SHE and AHN had on both employees and the company’s approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I)?
SHE and AHN provide Signify employees with a space to connect. One of the greatest impacts of the groups is the connections built between people who may have never met without these groups. We spend a lot of time at work, oftentimes with a small network of people on our team or those who are working on similar things. These groups create opportunities to connect, to learn, to engage, and to enhance our daily experience at work. Signify recognizes that these groups contribute positively to the culture and is fully embracing the support of the network. What started as a passion project is now an important part of the Signify diversity and inclusion strategy moving forward.
I think these groups provide employees with additional opportunities for leadership and networking, but most importantly they are a safe space to connect with colleagues with a shared experience. In 2020 in the United States, racial discrimination, police brutality, and systemic racism have been highly visible topics. This has started new conversations in the work environment. Having the African Heritage Network community available as a resource has helped myself and others tremendously. I am so excited about the dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion I have seen from Signify. Not only are there corporate-level initiatives going on, but our leadership team listens to members of our employee resource communities and together we are making strides in the right direction.