Born in South-East London Valerie was privileged to sit on the edge of two parallel worlds. Growing up in a culturally vibrant home environment she absorbed the quirky stories her parents told about ‘back home’ in Jamaica, while her schooling and career exposed her to all aspects of British culture. Learning how to straddle both cultures stimulated within Valerie a deep sense of self-awareness and pride. This background continues to shape her career.
The theme that runs through Valerie’s life and career is developing people to be the best they can be. She has been fortunate to have a career that has taken her to Europe, US, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. She has held senior Leadership & Organisation Development roles in international blue-chip pharmaceutical, petro-chemical, financial services and HR consultancy businesses.
Valerie is the founder and Director of a consultancy practice established in 2008 to deliver Organisation & Personal Development; Change Management and Executive Coaching.
Living and working in different countries, Valerie’s first teaching experience was working as a lecturer in the Caribbean. She became acutely aware of the wealth of educational opportunities available in the UK, compared to the limited resources available to young adults who were hungry for learning. Then living in Brunei for four years enriched by personal resilience for hard work exposed Valerie to rich and diverse cultures.
These experiences made Valerie acutely aware of her own culture and identity. She began to investigate the mainstream standards of beauty and the influence of social media on concepts of beauty. Valerie’s first book Hair I Stand, is a long overdue investigation of Afro hair and its significance, not only in terms of beauty and identity, but also the political and spiritual importance of Afro hair throughout history and in modernity.