Waterbury, Connecticut, USA
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Valerie is currently the CEO & Owner of Valerie Martinelli Consulting, LLC. As a Leadership & Business Coach, she offers 1:1 and program-based coaching for women. As an HR/Management Consultant, she offers organizations various management and human resource consulting services, such as program development, management, and evaluation, human resource audits, employee handbooks, and other policy developments.

She is also the Founder of Innovate 50/50, a Gender Equality campaign and mentorship program for women. The objective is to bring light to the issues that affect women and girls through empowerment and education. Valerie is also an advocate of educating men on gender equality and diversity issues as well as creating fair, inclusive, and dynamic workplaces.  She is also the Host of #InnovateWomen, a monthly Twitter panel discussion and community that discusses the real-life issues women face in the workplace.  The objective of her brand, Innovate, is to empower women while providing them the tools they need to be successful.

Valerie is also a writer for Careers in Government blog GovTalk, a monthly blog which discusses public sector innovations, trends, and issues as well as a contributor for Talent Culture and other HR blogs. She writes about HR innovations, employee engagement, the benefits of coaching and mentoring, and women in the workplace. Valerie was most recently featured on Talent Culture’s #WorkTrends event discussing mentorship and women elevating women.

Valerie has her Master of Public Administration degree from Post University and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Connecticut.

Sub-specialties: Entrepreneurship, HR & Management Consulting, Coaching (including Career, Life, Leadership, & Entrepreneurial), Public Administration, Gender Equality & Advancement of Women in the Workplace, Mentorship (especially for women), Diversity and Inclusion


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Featured Interviews


Last week, I announced a new blog series called #GirlBoss. This series is meant to educate and offer hope to women bosses, entrepreneurs, business owners and general badasses. The hardest thing we face as professionals is feelings of despair and loneliness, thinking you are the only one facing certain challenges and hardships.

I met Valerie Martinelli, through the Twitterverse (thanks PoshonPennies) and immediately starting spying on her. I mean, could she really be that successful? Not only is she the Director of The Center for Economic & Policy Development, Inc. she also the founder of Innovate 50/50.

You don’t often meet other women that make it their mission to support other females as we strive for equal opportunities.

Find out why Valerie Martinelli is such a badass. I encourage you to reach out to her through Twitter,@ and pick this woman’s brilliant brain.

Q. Name, job description, business?  

A. Valerie Martinelli, MPA, Director of The Center for Economic & Policy Development, Inc.  I report to the CEO/ Chairman, however, I am responsible for overall strategic and operational functions, including programs, initiatives, growth, and execution of mission. I am committed to our leadership and management, communications, planning, and new business as well as partnership and project development, facilitating a broad range of stakeholders, and an unwavering commitment to quality business planning. The Center is a nonprofit that is committed to empowerment. This foundation is important because it is the basis for positive growth individually, locally, and nationally.

Q. How would others describe you?

A. Sweet, Kind, Friendly, Thoughtful, Funny, Brilliant, and Dedicated

Q. How would you describe yourself?

A. A Woman Who Knows What She Wants, Hard-working, Giving, Crazy Sense of Humor, Understanding, and Smart

Q. What are you most proud of in your career?

A. I am most proud of creating Innovate 50/50. It is incredible to have an opportunity to positively impact women so much. The response has been so positive and welcoming that I know it’s going to make a difference. I am looking forward to doing big things and helping women well into the future.

Q. What has been your biggest struggle?

A. I have just recently started opening up about my struggles so this is a bit of a new world to me. My biggest struggle is my anxiety that stems from my childhood. I was robbed of my sense of self and it didn’t allow me to let good things or people into my life because I didn’t fully understand the value. Learning that value is beneficial because I believe that when you let good things and people into your life, positivity ensues and progresses.

Q. Who has been the greatest influence in your life?

A. Picking one is difficult because there have been for many different reasons, however, women are my influencers. We all have been fighting difficult battles for different reasons for many years. I channeled these female struggles into Innovate 50/50 because we deserve the opportunity to be equal, successful, and prosperous.

Q. What is your badass moment? What do you look back on and think, I fucking ‘killed’ that?

A. My dissertation was definitely a badass moment. I was so nervous because my entire graduate school career was hanging in the balance and I had worked so hard. I call that a badass moment because I still felt out of my element and I wasn’t sure I was ready to acknowledge my own bad-assness even though I knew I needed to. I worked well under pressure- I owned it and aced it. At the end, my professor called me a whiz because he thought I was ready before everyone else. Once I heard that, I knew I had the capability to take on big things and accomplish them.

Q. What advice, words of wisdom would you pass on to other women?

A. Don’t fear your power! We have so much that we can give to this world but we can’t be afraid of who we are and what we can do. So be who and what you are- badass, intelligent, kind, funny, quirky, or bitchy- whatever makes you special, wonderful, and authentic is what the world needs. Don’t give into stereotypes. You’re here to do amazing things and we’re here to lift each other up.

Q. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing women today?

A. Gender inequality is the biggest challenge currently facing women but that breaks down into many different aspects. For example, it affects us how we are treated in the workplace, in our homes, our relationships, employment qualifications, gender-based violence, how we learn and achieve, how much we earn, social and political views, and in every single facet of our lives.

Q. What can we do about it?

A. Knowledge is power. We need to educate ourselves how we are the most personally impacted. Make your voice heard by voting and contacting your elected officials. Each of us have the power to make a difference in our own personal way as well. This is one of the reasons why I created  Innovate 50/50. We are seeking to mentor 1,000 women. By doing so, we are empowering them to continue to pay it forward by becoming mentors themselves in the future. Through this vision, we can make a huge impact on gender inequality, educating women on using their power, and giving them the skills and tools to improve their lives while boosting the economy.

A prominent aspect of the 2016 Presidential Election was the glass ceiling. To quote Hillary Clinton, “We still have not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling. But some day, someone will.” Following the election on November 10, I discovered a chat on Twitter, also referred to as a TweetChat, that featured the hashtag #InnovateWomen, and I decided to check it out.

As an active member of the Twitterverse, I’m a big fan of TweetChats and regularly participate in #DThink (sponsored by @DisneyInstitute), #NCMNchat (sponsored by @NCMNetworkSoCal), #DBIchat (sponsored by @DBIweb), and #NPMC (sponsored by @NPMarCommunity), to name just a few. Upon the conclusion of the #InnovateWomen chat, I connected with the chat’s moderator, Valerie Martinelli, and highlights of our discussion follow below.First, a few words of introduction…Valerie Martinelli is the CEO & Owner of Valerie Martinelli Consulting, LLC, and she provides career, life, and leadership coaching for women and human resources and management consulting for organizations. She is also the founder of Innovate 50/50, a mentorship program for young women and the host of #InnovateWomen, a monthly Twitter chat that discusses issues women face at work, in business, and in life. Links to Valerie’s digital footprint are provided at the end.

QUESTION: Some have said that the reason few women get ahead in corporate America is that they are denied entry into the “pro-bro” culture. When men are assertive, they are respected, but when women are assertive, they are not taken seriously. How can we move forward as a society and achieve gender equality?

VALERIE MARTINELLI: By working together. This is not a task that can be accomplished alone or just by one gender. We need to find a plethora of solutions to achieve gender equality. To move forward together, we need to learn how to work together first. Gender equality needs to be separated from partisan politics because it is too closely associated with the liberal agenda. Gender equality will bring us closer to an inclusive, whole, thriving society in which politics should not be playing a role. By empowering women and providing the space and means to be successful, our economy and society can flourish.

To move forward together, we need to learn how to work together first. -@AskVMC

QUESTION: According to McKinsey, women change jobs for the following reasons: Lack of role models, exclusion from informal networks, and not having an advocate in upper management to create opportunities. How can we improve these scenarios?

VALERIE MARTINELLI: I am an advocate of coaching for women. It is very discouraging for women to lack role models in or out of the work environment. We need to have that network of professional women not only to look up to but also to teach us the things that we need to learn to grow and be successful. Mentors and coaches can be life-changing for those have been lucky to have one or more. Mentors and coaches have the know-how to get women into the appropriate networks and act as advocates to upper management. Formal coaching programs inside of an organization can also make a difference because they can provide female employees with what they need to be successful.

QUESTION: According to a recent article on LinkedIn, “A Trump Presidency could actually be good for women in business.” What do you think?
VALERIE MARTINELLI: I think that Sallie Krawcheck made plenty of excellent points. While we are ready to “be there” and have attained equality, this shows us that we absolutely cannot rely on anyone else but ourselves. This has quickly become an inside job.  With each setback, we learn something new. Trump’s Presidential win shows us that as women that we need to continue to work together and do what we can to advance ourselves and each other. I have never fully believed in relying on someone else, which is why I created a business with such a strong mission to empower women toward their purpose, achievements, and success as well as each of us toward gender equality.

QUESTION: Mentors are especially important for women. Who do you consider as your mentor and what have you learned from him or her?

VALERIE MARTINELLI: I have been fortunate to have strong male mentors in my life. I think we need to learn from each other and not just exclusively from one gender. My mentor and friend, Allen Ellison, taught me a lot as I was transitioning from one career to another. He supported me through a tough time and encouraged me to start my business. I learned to stop fearing failure and just to allow myself to grow. My other mentor, Michael Mapes, has been very supportive through the first few months of being a business owner and a coach. I have also heard plenty of male point of views to balance out my female ones. They also have taught me plenty about how men advance themselves in the workplace and how we hold ourselves back. These are things that I have been able to apply in my coaching for other women.

QUESTION: On November 10, you hosted a chat on Twitter, also known as a TweetChat, using the hashtag #InnovateWomen. What were three goals for the hour-long chat, and what do you think were three key take-aways for participants?

VALERIE MARTINELLI: As the initial #InnovateWomen chat, we had many goals. One goal is to create a community of men and women that can engage in these monthly discussions regarding issues that women face at work, in business, and in life. We need to work together on these issues. My second goal is to for us to continue to work together toward positive change on these issues. My third goal is for #InnovateWomen to become the brand that is synonymous with these topics, and I think we’re well on our way. I would say that three take-aways for each participant is that diversity and inclusion belong in the workplace, we need to continue to advance ourselves and each other, and social media can be a powerful tool for women in leadership.

A big thank-you to Valerie for sharing her thoughts on my blog! #InnovateWomen will be on hiatus during the holiday season and will return on January 26, 2017, at 1PM PST/4PM EST. The topic will be announced soon, but in the meantime, connect on Twitter using the hashtag #InnovateWomen. I urge you to save the date and participate in the January chat.


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