Written by Kristen Hicks.
Valerie Salinas-Davis, founder and CEO of EnviroMedia, is this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Austin Communicator award. In her day-to-day work, Valerie guides clients toward innovative strategies that can improve both profitability and sustainability. She facilitates sustainability visioning for Fortune 500 CEOs, and is sought after to speak at national water, energy, solid waste, health, and advertising conferences.
Among her various accolades, Valerie led the “Don’t Mess with Texas®” campaign to victory in the America’s Favorite Ad Slogan competition and holds the American Advertising Federation’s Silver Medal Award for outstanding contributions to advertising and furthering the industry’s standards, creative excellence, and responsibility in areas of social concern.
We had the opportunity to speak with Valerie a little more. Check out our interview.
WCA: What is the best professional advice you have been given?
No matter what’s going on around you, no matter what challenges you’re facing, keep your clients and employees happy. — From Kerry Tate, former WCA award winner
What would be some words of professional/personal advice that you would give?
Pay attention to and try to understand feedback, no matter how painful. I had a really tough editor when I was in my 20s. My writing would often come back bleeding. Instead of just making the changes, and checking the box to finish the work, I paid attention to what needed to be changed, tried to understand why, and put that feedback into perspective going forward. This made me a better writer. Pretty soon, the changes became fewer and fewer, I was less stressed, and felt more confident.
Who are your mentors/people whom you admire and why?
The first one is Eleanor Moore, who is receiving WCA’s mentorship award. Eleanor and I go way back to my first job out of college at Texas Exes in 1985. Before she began running the scholarships program like a rockstar, and before I went on to work on the alumni magazine, we both worked in the Records Department. Eleanor was not just a friend, but also an advocate.
To this day, more than 30 years later, she still remembers my employer at a local restaurant where I had waited tables as a UT student “trying to extort you.” (They wanted to charge me for an apron when I quit.) I had forgotten about that but Eleanor hasn’t. Stuff like that sticks with her, and I’m sure hundreds of Texas Exes scholarship winners have benefited from Eleanor’s empathy.
The second mentor is Kerry Tate, who gave business advice when we started EnviroMedia 20 years ago and still does today, most recently last weekend on the golf course!
Join us on April 8, 2017 as we celebrate Valerie Salinas-Davis at Banner Brunch. Get your tickets today online.