Meet Kathleen Cooke
New National Advisory Board member sparked her own creativity thanks to the Army.
By Suzanne Niles –
Salvation Army National Advisory Board member Kathleen Cooke, co-owner of Cooke Pictures with her husband, Phil Cooke, credits a Salvation Army family store with prompting her creative gifting.
Her family of five lived on a high school teacher’s single income and her brother had high medical expenses due to a heart condition, so her mother often shopped at the thrift store. Cooke spent her days creating characters in the backyard out of a bin of costumes and treasures from the store.
Yet, Cooke said her mother taught her children that there were many others who needed assistance and so the family always put what it could into the Red Kettle. In September 2015, Cooke joined the NAB to further give of herself to the Army, lending expertise and advice.
“My hope on the board is that I can assist with the Army’s use of media to bring its historic and incredible work to a larger audience,” she said, noting that entertainment professionals can help share The Salvation Army with the world.
“There is an enormous number of Christians working at high levels in the industry and I can tell you personally that they want to make a difference in the culture,” she said. “In my opinion, partnering with the Army is a perfect fit.”
As a professional actress, casting director, national speaker, adjunct professor, and former president of the Hollywood chapter of Christian Women in Media, Cooke has worked since launching Cooke Pictures in 1991 to help churches, ministries and nonprofit organizations share their story more effectively through film.
“We live in the most distracted culture in the history of the world, so it’s not just about doing great service and work, but connecting that work to donors supporters, the media and the general public,” she said. “On one hand the Army is the largest social service organization in the world. On the other hand, it’s the largest Christian ministry in the world. In my view, that’s the perfect combination for the disrupted and changing era we live in today.”
The Cooke’s nonprofit, Influence Lab, is developing a training strategy to educate pastors and Christian leaders to empower the church to transform culture through media. Kathleen Cooke is focusing on developing committed and intentional groups of women who have the desire to use media to make positive change and gain influence.
“I travel around the globe and I am aware that we have been given so very much,” she said. “What are we doing with what we have been given? We should be praying for others, caring for others, and then sharing who God is and the redemptive grace of Jesus.”