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"All big things come from small beginnings...

...The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision. But as that decision is repeated, a habit sprouts and grows stronger. Roots entrench themselves and branches grow. The task of breaking a bad habit is like uprooting a powerful oak within us. And the task of building a good habit is like cultivating a delicate flower one day at a time." 

- James Clear, Atomic Habits

Hi, I'm Valerie. I am a seeker of small things that bloom. Whether you want to change the world, your organization, your team, or yourself, it all starts with small shifts that cascade to a larger impact.  Through our work together, we will identify the practices to bring intentional learning into your work so that you can thrive in complexity and create the social impact you're committed to seeing in the world.

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My Approach

I've always been a learner at heart. To be honest, we all are! It's what connects us and it's how we collectively achieve all that we desire. I've focused on human learning and development for over 20 years. In that time, I've learned a lot about learning -- how we do it effectively, how we learn in groups, what it takes to have a learning organization, and where our learning falters. In many instances, we're committed to the idea of learning, but we fall short on the practices of learning. These are the pieces of our own work, our team or organization's work, where we commit to making the time to learn intentionally from what we are seeing and doing. Whether it's a nonprofit organization, a foundation, or a high-functioning team in an organization, we're often working so fast that we leave our insights on the table. I'm here to help with that.

After spending 8 years in leadership development, I've come to see the linkages between leadership capabilities, learning practices, and strategy. Our complex and emergent world requires a different approach to learning than the ones that likely brought us success in the past. We need personal and interpersonal leadership skills to tap into our potential to shift and change our practices. We need intentional practices to scaffold the collection and sharing of insights, stories, and data so that they become part of our organizational practices. And, we need to build adaptive strategies that can embrace emergence, experimentation, and change. These components are interconnected, and as our practice in one area deepens, we reinforce the change and growth in the others. 

 

These are audacious goals, but they start small. They begin as seeds -- small, intentional choices in our note-taking, team meetings, data collection, or storytelling -- and, with support, commitment, and practice, they bloom.

What small beginning do you see in front of you?

Reach out to schedule a free introductory conversation today so that we can explore it together.

Not sure if you're ready to connect? That's ok! I invite you to take a look at some of my writing to learn more about my work. 

My Experience

Work Experience

 

Director, Societal Impact Insights & Impact

Center for Creative Leadership (2016-2023)

Research Assistant Professor

Youth-Nex, University of Virginia School of Education & Human Development (2011-2016)

Education Experience

PhD, Social-Personality Psychology

City University of New York, 2011

BS, Psychology

Stetson University, 2002

Trainings & Certifications

 

  • Emergent Learning Advanced Practitioner (current cohort)

  • CoActive Institute Coach (in-training)

  • CCL 360 Assessment Certified

  • 4MAT Course Design

Professional Affiliations

American Evaluation Association

North Carolina Evaluators Network

Emergent Learning Community Project

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