• Prolific songwriter for Disney animated films and theme parks
• Writer and Star of Best New Off-Broadway Musical 2017
• Musical Keynote speaker who connects powerfully with any audience through her inspiring stories of courage and resilience.
Shredding a 6-string electric violin, she formed the acclaimed indie band GrooveLily, which put out 8 albums as they toured for over a decade, playing 150 shows a year. They became a breakout hit off-Broadway with an innovative, original rock musical featuring them as both the band and the actors—pioneering a trend still active on Broadway today. That led to a decade’s worth of commissions for some of the most highly respected theaters in America, as well as for Disney, who tapped them first to adapt Toy Story into a musical for Disney Cruise Line, and then to write over 20 new songs for their theme parks and animated films.
Val has taught at Stanford, Emerson College, Berklee College of Music and the University of Washington, and delights in giving keynote speeches where the message is enhanced by music—inspiring thousands with her powerful call to courage and the vulnerabilities she shares. She has a surprising comedic knack and a disarming talent for engaging audiences through her dynamic musical keynotes, unlike ordinary speakers.
Her unique journey of repeatedly facing into her greatest fears, rising to challenges with resilience and creativity, resonates with anyone who has ever felt uncertainty, insecurity, or stagnation in a fast-changing world. With her six-string electric violin, unforgettable stories, and magnetic stage presence, she brings an irrepressible buoyant spirit to every audience she encounters, transforming and uplifting the energy of even the most reluctant and staid groups. Val gives people the inspiration to connect with their own courage and optimism and step into their truest, most innovative and fearless selves.
Val lives in Los Angeles with her son Mose, and continues to create projects for the stage and screen.
- Pivot with Courage: Finding Resilience through Creativity and Connection
We are all born creative, full of imagination and unafraid to make mistakes. And these qualities are often dulled by time—but they don’t have to be. It’s by reconnecting with our innate confidence (as well as with each other) that we can face crisis, change, and fear with agility and grace. Val provides powerful insights on how to do this through her own unique stories of overcoming adversity, punctuated by songs which elevate and clarify her message. This moving, resonant presentation is ideal for any organization wishing to help their people be more creative, connected and fearless.
- Lead with Confidence into the Unknown: Creativity as a Tool for Optimism
Confidence, leadership, playfulness, creativity—these are all skills that improve with practice (not simply traits that you either have or you don’t). Val takes audiences on a music-filled journey toward more creative leadership, illustrated by bold stories from her own life as well as astounding lessons from one of the greatest leaders in history, Ernest Shackleton. This empowering presentation, with its emphasis on mindset, story and expression to uplift and connect people, is perfect for organizations looking to ignite innovation and teamwork and cultivate truly creative, optimistic leaders.
- Overcome Fear with Optimism, Resilience and Courage
It’s been said that the human brain is like Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for positive ones; and so our natural state is easily skewed toward pessimism, fearfulness and an abundance of caution. But great achievements are fueled by bravery, optimism and—sometimes counterintuitively—playfulness. Now more than ever we need to cultivate these qualities; and in this compelling presentation Val takes to the stage with her six-string electric violin and shows us how. An effervescent collection of adventures from her own life (as an awkward student, rebellious daughter, struggling Army cadet, nervous backup musician to rock stars, self-critical theater artist…), in which crisis forced her to face repeatedly into her greatest fears while also learning to let go of perfectionism and be more playful, inspires people to rise to their own challenges and do the same.