Valerie Graves has more than 25 years of creative experience developing campaigns for African American, urban, female and general market consumers. As Senior Vice President/Chief Creative Officer of UniWorld Group (1999-2003)
, Valerie's responsibilities included overall direction of the agency's award-winning creative product. Clients included Ford Motor Company, Lincoln, AT&T, Kraft, Microsoft and Burger King Corporation.
Valerie first joined UniWorld in 1985 and during a 10-year tenure, progressed from Vice President, Associate Creative Director to Senior Vice President, Executive Creative Director.
From 1995-1997, Ms Graves was Senior Vice President, Corporate Creative Services at Motown Records, where she developed new business and corporate imagery campaigns.
In 1999, after a year's sabbatical, Ms. Graves became Creative Director at Nelson Communications, Inc., the health communications giant, where she created a multimedia program for World AIDS Day '99 She then left to return to Uniworld Group as Sr. V.P., Chief Creative Officer.
Valerie began her career as a copywriter on the Pontiac and Dodge accounts at the D'Arcy MacManus and Masius, and BBDO agencies in Detroit, and moved to the East Coast to work at the Kenyon & Eckhardt and J. Walter Thompson agencies. As a creative consultant, Ms. Graves served with Linda Kaplan-Thaler, Donnie Deutsch and David Angelo on the national advertising team of the Clinton/Gore '92 campaign.
Under Valerie's creative leadership, UniWorld dominated the ANA Multicultural Excellence Awards, winning the African American category every year of its existence. Ms. 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. Advertising Age also has honored Valerie as One of the 100 Best and Brightest.
Valerie Graves serves on the Creative Review Committee of The Partnership for a Drug-Free America and on the Campaigns Review Committee of The Advertising Council. She sits on the Board of Directors of The Advertising Club of New York and chairs its Diversity Committee.
Ms. Graves attended Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and studied screenwriting, directing and film production at New York University.
She resides in New York City with her husband, NEWSDAY journalist Alvin Bessent.