MEET VALERIE CHRISTOPHERSON, FOUNDER AND CEO - GLOBAL RESULTS COMMUNICATIONS (GRC)
Valerie Christopherson is the founder and CEO of Global Results Communications (GRC), an award-winning public relations firm trusted by both entrepreneurs on the cusp of new discoveries and multi-billion-dollar enterprises breaking new ground. Renowned for her expertise in high tech, she is the ultimate driving force behind GRC’s targeted communications strategies that dramatically enhance client market presence and performance on a global scale. Before founding GRC in 2005, Valerie held key positions at QUALCOMM, Porter Novelli Convergence Group and other niche agencies in the mobile, telecom and technology sectors. Over 20 years, she provided unparalleled counsel and campaign management resulting in successful public relations and social media programs for Fortune 500 companies, major trade associations and start-ups. A current board member of Golden Rule Charity, Valerie has been involved with various nonprofit organisations including Make a Wish Foundation and Mobile Giving Foundation among others.
An industry thought leader, Valerie is frequently called upon to speak at regional and national events including PR News conferences, regional PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) conferences and Comm Week at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). A graduate of CSUF, Valerie holds a bachelor’s degree in both English and communications with a public relations emphasis. She also completed a social media certification program at the University of California, Irvine. Needless to say, I’m thrilled that she’s chosen to share her journey with us…
SO, VALERIE, WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
My story, that’s a loaded question.
So, my story started with a goal to enter into law, switched to that of communications and then converted to a business owner. Reality is my story is still being written and told as I believe life’s journey continues to emerge daily making it important to enjoy the journey rather than to resist it. Today, the world has somewhat tilted on its axis. The global pandemic story is much different than it was pre-pandemic. The return of the simple things such as nature walks, family TV time and game night has quickly replaced the individualised time of personal device use, dinners converted to eating together (again) due to the lack of schedules differing, and work has become a lot more personal.
Where my story goes from here is forward. Everything in one’s career path moves forward one way or another and even with its trial and errors, you progress through knowledge if nothing else. This is a long-winded way of saying, what’s my story? I’d say my story is mid-chapter and only getting better!
YOUR WORK CENTRES AROUND TECHNOLOGY-BASED COMPANIES AND FUTURISTIC NEW DISCOVERIES, HOW DO YOU AND YOUR TEAM MANAGE TO STAY AHEAD IN AN EVER-CHANGING MARKETPLACE?
After nearly three decades in tech, I’ve learned that the only way to stay ahead is to allow your mind to think in the world of possibilities. For example, in the 1990s we were happy to just have mobile phones, but the thought of TV on a phone wasn’t even considered till the late 90’s early 2000’s.
So, if you want to stay ahead of technology, it’s simple, just believe anything is possible, it’s just a matter of time.
RUNNING A GLOBAL COMPANY CAN BE TAXING. TIME DIFFERENCES, VARIED CLIENTS AND PROJECTS AND OF COURSE KEEPING UP WITH YOUR TEAM ON A DAILY BASIS. HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO MAINTAIN BALANCE (AND STAY SANE?)
Sanity is easy to maintain when you’re organised and have a good team. At GRC our presence globally stems from sister agencies and team members that are a trusted extension to the US headquarters. It’s essential that you establish a culture and then carry that culture through every office regardless of where your team sits, it’s all under one brand and that brand should have values that everyone adheres to. Yes, there are differences in geographies, and it’s important to recognise the diversity that comes with that, by being respectful to each region’s needs, you’re able to balance the variations in viewpoints an ultimately provide a truly global service to your clients.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE CRITICISM?
There is no path to perfection without criticism.
The best compliment one can get is candid feedback from someone else. We gain knowledge from the perspective of others. It is important to take into consideration the intention of the criticism as well as who the criticism is coming from and pull from it what you can improve upon.
HOW WOULD YOUR BEST FRIEND DESCRIBE YOU?
I believe in best friends as there are so many people that surround us, I’m not sure it’s fair to say friend singularly. I’d guess they’d say that I’m a bit aggressive, fun and not afraid to make decisions as well as that I do what I can to help anyone in any situation.
I WOULD IMAGINE THE WORLD OF TECHNOLOGY-BASED PR TO BE PRETTY FAST MOVING? HOW DO YOU STAY FOCUSED WITH SO MUCH HAPPENING AROUND YOU?
In the middle of the pandemic, the world around us all is definitely ‘happening’ and staying focused on what’s going on right now is critical to everyone’s wellbeing. Given my background in technology, I embrace it and have used it more than ever to stay connected to people, to run a business and to keep a life-work balance.
I am totally convinced we can do this!
WHAT IS THE FIRST THING TO CHECK IN YOUR BUSINESS DAILY?
It’s important to start your day knowing what’s ahead. Given we’re a global company, there is no shutting down, the email system continues 24/7 and by planning your day to include 15 to 20 mins of email responding first thing, sets a good tone for the rest of the day.
WHAT’S YOUR SUPERPOWER?
I try really hard to understand:
- What’s being asked of me
- Where is a person coming from
- What’s the path forward
- What happened yesterday that could affect tomorrow
WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND DIFFICULT ON YOUR JOURNEY?
I’m not sure I’d say it’s difficult as much as it’s a challenge to balance life-work priorities during these pandemic times. The bleed-through of life and business just doesn’t have the same boundaries as we are remotely living and working, and even socialising now in our homes.
WHAT’S YOUR TOP TIP FOR OUR AWESOME FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS READING THIS ARTICLE?
I don’t believe tips differ from male to female in the business world. To me, we’re equal and so the best tip I can give is to do your best, listen to those that have the experience, dissect what you learn and find your unique position, ensure you are respectful to all people, male or female understanding that there are differences in mentalities, experiences, cultures, politics and more.
Respect yourself and others.
IF YOU WERE TO RECRUIT THE IDEAL PERSON FOR YOUR BUSINESS, WHAT THREE MAIN QUALITIES WOULD THEY NEED TO POSSESS?
As we are a fast-paced agency, I’d say the three main qualities are;
Listening skills, you have to understand what your client wants in order to deliver results.
Self-starter as everyone is busy, you need to make decisions and move things forward independently.
Creative thinking, we live in a world where news can be stories and stories can be news.
WHAT’S THE NUMBER ONE PLAYED SONG ON YOUR IPOD?
Cyndi Lauper – Come on Home
WHAT DO YOU KNOW FOR SURE?
Tilted on its axis, the world continues to turn. Enjoy the journey as life is good. That I know.
DO YOU HAVE A BOOK OR FAVOURITE PODCAST RECOMMENDATION FOR OUR FEMALE CEO MEMBERS?
I’m a bit biased on this one, but I’d say our podcast PR 360 – we hit on all kinds of topics relevant to both men and woman, again, I don’t like to differentiate between genders because to me that just further fuels a divide between them.
WHAT ONE PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUR 13-YEAR-OLD SELF?
Slow down, enjoy the process as when you get to my age, you’re going to look back and realise you had all the time in the world to grow.
WHAT MAKES YOU TRULY HAPPY AND HOW DO YOU HANDLE DOWNTIME?
My son, nephews and nieces truly make me happy. I have a good family and I don’t take that for granted on any level. I am also privileged in that I love what I do for a living, not a lot of people can get up in the morning and say they love their ‘work’ – I can honestly do that even on the most hectic day. I get to work with amazing people and then go home to an awesome family. Of course, there are ups and downs, but that’s all part of life’s journey.