Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Valerie chose to venture far from home for her undergraduate degree. She graduated from Colgate University with a BA in English and a minor in Video Art. The day after graduation she moved to New York City where she began working as assistant bookkeeper for a Jewish Community Center. Upon realizing the joys of community-based work, she took a job as Executive Assistant for the St. George’s Society, a non-profit organization helping low-income seniors to maintain independence. She quickly moved up the ladder to Membership Director specializing in event planning and communications helping to complete a 3 million dollar endowment campaign through major gifts. To further develop her fundraising skills, she attended night school earning a Master of Science degree in Non-profit Business Management at Milano the New School for Urban Policy. Before finishing her thesis, she was offered the position of Executive Director of the New England Society in the City of New York which is a 200 year old organization that supports a Scholarship Program. As the only paid employee, she managed everything from financial planning to website design and worked closely with the Board of Directors to transform the organization into a fundraising focused entity. Her husband’s career and their desire for a higher quality of life brought them to California, and she is thrilled to help the Bright Prospect program grow to help more students graduate college.