New AALF executive assistant grew up in Rondo

The African American Leadership Forum (AALF) has announced that Jacquelyn “Jackie” Cooper joined the organization as executive assistant on August 10. Cooper comes to AALF after a long and distinguished career of public service to the Twin Cities community, most recently as principal legislative aid to Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter.

Jacquelyn Cooper
Jacquelyn Cooper

Cooper is the product of the historic Rondo community of Saint Paul. Following her undergraduate studies at the historically Black institution Central State University, she attended the University of Minnesota to work on her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree.

After returning to Minnesota, Cooper began her career in the field of affirmative action, human rights and contract compliance. She was appointed by the Honorable Lawrence D. Cohn, mayor of Saint Paul, to serve as a commissioner on the Saint Paul Human Rights Commission in 1973, and she later served as the city’s compliance officer, recruiting people of color and women for the City of Saint Paul’s Police and Fire Departments.

In 1984, Cooper was hired as the affirmative action and equal opportunity manager for the Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC).  Under her direction and guidance, MTC received their first U.S. Urban Mass Transit Department Award for MTC’s Affirmative Action Program.

In 1988, Cooper was appointed the first director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management for the State of Minnesota’s Metropolitan Waste Control Commission (MWCC), later known as the Metropolitan Council. Under her leadership MWCC received the Minnesota Governor’s Award in recognition of their cultural awareness, diversity, internship, and AA/EEO programs.

Entering the private sector in 1997, Cooper was hired as the director of the Office of Diversity Development and Community Outreach for Regions Hospital. After working in this position for three years, she received the HealthPartners President’s Award for Excellence for her work in diversity, cultural competence, and community outreach initiatives.

In 2007, Cooper was appointed by the Honorable W. Toni Carter, Ramsey County Commissioner, to serve as her principal legislative aide.

During her career, Cooper founded the Spirit Program for at-risk youth and their mothers, in partnership with the Saint Paul YMCA, in order to provide life development skills and free camping opportunities to program participants. In 2015, after 42 years of public service, Cooper retired and was honored with a proclamation from Ramsey County proclaiming Monday, August 3, 2015 to be “Jackie Cooper Day” in Ramsey County.

Although, Cooper is “retired,” she is still dedicated to the community and is currently working as a consultant with the African American Leadership Forum (AALF) to empower our community through economic development, education, ending the academic achievement gap, health awareness, and political engagement.

She is the proud parent of an adult son, Jermain Cooper.


— Information provided by the African American Leadership Forum