Isaac M. Cooper’s trek to Birmingham began by being recruited by Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan at Samford University. Immediately, Isaac transitioned into financial services with the goal of helping clients navigate and make smart financial decisions. After transitioning from a Fortune 100 Company, Isaac Cooper founded IMC Financial Consulting.
Isaac is the recipient of the 2015 Agent of Change Award via AL.COM, the 2017 Birmingham Business Journal Rising Star of Money, the 2018 A.G Gatson “People’s Choice” Community Service Award, the 2018 Samford Inaugural Audrey Gatson Howard Award, and the 2018 100 Black Enterprise Modern Man Award. He has been named to the Birmingham Business Journal Who’s Who in Financial Planning & Wealth Management in both 2021 and 2022. He’s also been featured in NASDAQ, Nerd Wallet, AL.COM, and many other publications and is one of the first Certified Digital Asset Advisors (CDAA) in the state of Alabama.
Soul of the South Q&A
1) What was your “aha” moment/When did you decide that this was the industry for you?
To be honest, if it were up to me, I would still be playing football. I stumbled into the financial industry, not necessarily knowing that my purpose was buried in the transition that happened when football ended. I’ve always been confident and comfortable with numbers and money, but the moment I understood the role that money plays in life decisions, it felt like I was still competing on the field—just mentally, and on behalf of our clients. IMC Financial Consulting was launched literally out of frustration. After working with a Fortune 100 company, we recognized the need to provide professional financial counsel that was not tied to a product nor a quota.
2) How did your upbringing/time spent in Alabama shape your career?
Our business model is deeply influenced by A.G. Gaston, who was, arguably, one of the wealthiest Black men in America during the 1960s. His approach to providing vertically integrated solutions for the community mirrors the intentional design with which we serve our clients. Since moving to Alabama, I’ve acknowledged that within these state borders, courageous and resilient leaders have battled for social and economic justice in a dynamic, fearless manner, providing enduring motivation to ensure we persist in our endeavors.
3) What keeps you moving forward in the industry? Do you have a quote or motto that you find resonates?
Dr. Myles Munroe significantly influences several of our fundamental principles, and his definition of success propels us forward in our industry. “Success isn’t about amassing wealth, owning a grand house with a car beside a lake, or having numerous friends. It’s not about collecting accolades and awards. Ultimately, success is discovering your purpose and fulfilling it before you depart from this life.”
4) How has your nominator made a positive impact on your idea of/relationship to the industry?
Being an entrepreneur, particularly in a field with few precedents, involves a multifaceted journey: building a business, expanding a team, generating revenue, establishing infrastructure, managing relationships, and juggling a seemingly endless list of responsibilities. What I deeply appreciate about Jim is his ability to manage all of the aforementioned while remaining a principled husband, father, and leader.
5) What would you consider your greatest professional accomplishment?
We developed, designed, and implemented the Financial Freedom Project within Birmingham City Schools, addressing the financial literacy gap in the school system. We received $1 million in funding to launch our unique solution, which involves faculty/staff and parents.
A few highlights include:
Establishing 5,000 bank/investment accounts
Partnering with the Goalsetter Foundation to secure $250,000 in Nike & Delta stock for students and faculty
Facilitating the forgiveness of $456,000 in student loans through our financial workshop for faculty/staff
6) What would you like to see more of in Alabama as it pertains to your industry?
The financial industry in Alabama stands poised for innovation. A swift ascent of FinTech companies has characterized the last five years, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see an influx of tech-based companies relocating to Alabama, enticed by the cost of living. The shift is underway, and it’s imperative to inform and arm the forthcoming generation of leaders with appropriate tools to ensure the industry’s continued prosperity.