Case Study: Barbara Valentine
Written by Larry Trivieri Jr.
The evidence has long been overwhelming that Hollywood is a world in which female producers, directors, writers, and actors face far more difficult challenges and hurdles than their male counterparts. Yet none of that has ever stopped Barbara Valentine from going after her dreams and achieving great success as an award-winning producer, reporter, on-camera host, and multimedia executive. Despite the roadblocks she faced, especially early on in her multifaceted career, Barbara achieved all that she has because she is a woman in which there is “no quit”.
“That determination, that little spark plug inside me, has really helped me to never give up. That’s always been my philosophy.”
In a career spanning 30 years, she has been nominated for an Emmy Award five times, winning the Emmy twice, while serving as an Executive Producer on hundreds of film, television, and digital media projects. In that time, her work has taken her all around the world while providing her services to many of today’s largest and most well-known entertainment, distribution, and manufacturing companies.
Her reputation as someone with a strong commitment to high-quality and excellence has also resulted in Barbara receiving numerous other industry awards, and led to her inclusion in Who’s Who of American Women in Business. Barbara is also a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences: Executive Peer Group, Women in Film, and Women’s Business Enterprise.
Besides her determination, Barbara’s willingness to keep learning and reinventing herself has also been a hallmark of the success she has achieved. “It is advantageous to be familiar with many areas of production. Take courses in lighting, editing, cinematography, graphics and areas of production that will keep you up to date with the latest equipment and production techniques.”
Learning Early On About The Value of Hard Work
Barbara credits her success in many ways to lessons she learned from her mother when she was a child. “My father died when I was only nine years old and my mother had to take over his general contracting business, splitting her time between running my father’s business and her beauty salon business, while still having time to raise her two children on her own. She was a wonderful, smart, loving and generous lady who was committed to her family. She was determined that nothing was going to hold her down. If you can dream it, you can achieve it, she would tell me.”
Barbara says she inherited her own strong determination and work ethic from her mother. “I’ve been working since I was eight years old, so I know what it is to work for a dollar, and appreciate everything I have worked for over the years. It builds character. I worked my way through college by helping my mother in her beauty salons. I believe if you study and work hard, treat people like you would like to be treated, have a good work ethic, doors will open for you.” Barbara has a very strong faith and positive attitude that have helped her get through some tough times in life. She says, “With the many successes I have been blessed with in life, I also had some failures, but I look at the failures as learning curves. I don’t dwell on the them, I build on them.”
Barbara also believes that with success comes an obligation to give back, “when you make it, find ways to give back, because when you give, blessings will keep coming to you.”
A Life Changing Diagnosis
Barbara’s own life was transformed in a most unexpected and challenging way last year when she learned she had developed breast cancer. “I got the diagnosis at a time when we were just getting ready to start production on 50 PLUS REPORT,” she says. “After receiving the diagnosis from the doctor, I just sat in my car and thought, ‘Oh my God, what am I going to do now? I have so many people depending on me.'”
Rather than allowing herself to be overcome by despair and self-pity, Barbara has been able to marshal the same inner resources that have served her so well in her career. “I had a little cry, took a deep breath, put my shoulders back and turned my trust over to God,” she says.
In addition to determining her course of treatment with her doctors, Barbara realized she would also have to change how she oversaw her companies. “I had to take time-off to undergo Chemo treatment and medical procedures, but a little over a year-and-a-half later, I am feeling wonderful and strong enough to get back to work. Life has been a challenge since the diagnosis, but I feel that you only have two choices: you can dig a hole, climb in and wallow in self-pity, or put your boxing gloves on and come out fighting. I know what it’s like to be upset and angry when given such a diagnosis, but you can’t stay there. If you stay there, it’s like quicksand, it will pull you under. I chose to fight through it and with a great deal of faith, love and support of family, friends and colleagues, great doctors and a strong intestinal fortitude, I am doing great. It’s all been an incredible learning experience.” Barbara also feels drawn to set an example for other women with cancer, pointing out that one-out-of-three women develop breast cancer. “It’s awful. Their lives and lives of their families greatly change and it’s a tough journey. I’m not diminishing it. It’s a very tough journey! Maintaining a positive attitude and refusing to be a victim, Barbara feels, are essential to how well she is meeting her current life challenge. “As long as I am able to think, walk and talk, I am never going to give up. You just have to stay positive no matter how bad things get. I have learned not to take life for granted. I have learned to appreciate every minute and every opportunity.”