Human Resources Leader
An accidental HR professional, Justin Cook’s professional journey began when, ignoring the advice of his parents, he insisted on getting a degree in philosophy at Union University where he focused his studies on understanding understanding; which he promises is not a typo. Unfortunately, shortly after his graduation, the Nashville Philosophy Factory closed down, and Cook’s new focus became understanding how to get a job in the real world. Eventually, Cook landed at Apple, where he discovered the power of a culture built around effective communication. Before long he was tapped to expand that culture as part of the global retail training team where he facilitated training locally and internationally. Seeking to widen his impact outside the walls of Apple, Cook left to join ACT Security, leading operations for their technologies team. When one of the owners made the astute observation that Cook, “wasn’t really an ops guy,” Justin took the opportunity to pitch a role that was focused on building culture; six months later, he was the human resources leader. As the human resources leader, Cook has elevated the HR function to the executive leadership team and now focuses on leading strategic planning, guiding organizational development and driving organizational change. Cook founded Close the Gap Coaching to help other organizations close the gap between the results they want and the results they are getting- facilitating strategic planning, delivering workshops across the organization and offering coaching to executives, leaders and managers. Surprising to some, Cook has a strong preference toward introversion, so when he’s not working you’ll find him recovering from talking to people all day, being indoorsy with his wife Rachel and their dogs, Maverick and Charlie (both named after characters from Top Gun).