Vaughan Cooper, our valued partner and advisor, passed away in May after a lengthy illness. She was an integral part of ELI, serving as an executive coach, human resources consultant, and training logistics team leader.
Vaughan’s relationship with ELI began more than 20 years ago after meeting Steve Paskoff at an ELI training session. She continued to stay in in contact with the team and formally came on board in 2006 as a senior consultant and later was appointed a member of ELI’s Executive Team.
Vaughan made enormous contributions to ELI across a broad scope of areas, including benefits, recruiting, and strategy— and she was the consummate professional. But, it wasn’t just her knowledge of human resources that made Vaughan so special. It was her positive, supportive, and candid personality that seemed to draw people in both professionally and personally. She was a compassionate and valued friend to many. Vaughan will be remembered for her love of golden retrievers, sunny smile, peach-colored blouses, and contagious laugh that you could hear from a mile away.
ELI Team Members Remember Vaughan Cooper
“Vaughan was a remarkable person who significantly contributed to ELI, not only regarding her work, but in the way she brought her own values and sense of fairness to everything that we did. That is something that endures beyond her. Everyone here continues to feel her presence as much as we miss her warmth and wisdom; that is a statement to her character and life.” – Stephen Paskoff
“I enjoyed working and getting to know Vaughan over the last several years. We shared the common bonds of our love for the Alabama Gulf Coast and dogs. I feel honored and blessed to have worked with her, but also to have called her my friend!” – Jennifer Hershiser
“One day a couple of years ago, Vaughan came into my office and said that she’d ordered something that she wanted to give me. It was a coffee mug with my name (Mellgwin) on it. She understood what it was like to have a different name like mine (You’d be hard pressed to find a ready-made item with Vaughan or Mellgwin on it!). Beyond the excitement of receiving such a unique gift, I was touched by such an unexpected act of kindness. I smile and think about Vaughan every time I drink from my special mug.” – Mellgwin Ramsey
“Vaughan always inspired me to strive to be a better person by the example set by her own kind and thoughtful behavior. Once I approached her about struggles I was experiencing working with another individual and asked her for suggestions on how to handle the situation. After she patiently asked me very specific questions so that she could determine what the real issue was, she didn’t just tell me what I wanted to hear. Vaughan cared enough to take the time to analyze and then offer me her honest assessment of what was going on and how I might successfully move forward with this matter. What a life lesson I learned from Vaughan early on regarding how honest advice is the only valuable approach when helping someone resolve issues.” – Ginger Reed
“Vaughan was selfless and compassionate. An absolute picture of grace. Indeed, we are all touched by her professionalism, courage, insight, and humor.” – Gloria Wright
“I met Vaughan in the summer of 2016 and instantly fell in love with her southern charm. We shared a passion for dogs, especially rescues. I will always remember her – her voice, her smile, her wit, her honesty.” – Anne Griggs