Author & President
Valerie Graves, author of Pressure Makes Diamonds: Becoming the Woman I Pretended to Be and winner of the 2007 ADCOLOR Legend Award, has more than 25 years of experience as a creator of award-winning campaigns for African American, urban, female and general market consumers. Graves was a member of the national advertising team of the Clinton/Gore campaign. Ad Age also has honored Graves as one of the 100 Best and Brightest.
Most recently, Graves served as Chief Creative Officer of Vigilante, the New York urban subsidiary of Leo Burnett Advertising. Previously, Graves was Senior Vice President, Chief Creative Officer Of UniWorld Group in New York. She provided overall direction of the agencies’ award-winning creative product for Fortune 500 corporations ranging from General Motors and Ford Motor Company to Bank of America, AT&T, Burger King, Gatorade, Pepsi and many other blue chip brands.
Campaigns created under Graves’s leadership have dominated the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Multicultural Excellence Awards, winning the African American category from 2001–2003. Graves' individual awards include honors from the Art Director's Club of New York, the Boston Ad Club and the Maine Ad Club. She is the recipient of a Creativity Magazine Award, the Chicago Radio Festival Award and is a 15-time winner of the Creative Excellence to Black Audiences (CEBA) Award and 11-time winner of the Davey Award (for small agencies).
In addition to giving book lectures at such prestigious institutions as The Free Library of Philadelphia and The Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Graves currently serves as ad hoc consultant to the Campaign Review Committee of The Advertising Council of America, and on the prestigious Creative Review Committee of The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. She sits on the Steering Committee of I’mPART, a groundbreaking diversity initiative of The Advertising Club of New York, on whose Board of directors Graves served for 16 years.
Graves currently resides in Harlem, New York City.