Valerie Brown, JD, MA, ACC is an educational consultant, leadership coach, popular retreat leader, writer, and Principal of Lead Smart Coaching, LLC, (www.leadsmartcoaching.com) specializing in mindfulness training for education sector and others. Valerie transitioned, after stops, starts, and stumblings, from a high-powered career as a lawyer-lobbyist representing the legal and educational communities, to consulting with nonprofits seeking societal transformation. She blends these career paths to bridge disciplines, focusing on transformational leadership through mindfulness and creating greater trust, authenticity, openness, and integrity among people.
She shares her global vision of mindful schools in her book, The Mindful School Leader: Practices to Transform Your Leadership and Your School (Corwin Press, 2015), co-authored with her friend and colleague, Kirsten Olson. She explores mindfulness, transformation, and travel in, The Road that Teaches: Lessons in Transformation through Travel (QuakerBridge Media 2012). She is a popular writer in the Pendle Hill pamphlet series, and her published essays include: The Mindful Quaker, Living from the Center, and Heartfulness: Renewing Heart, Mind, and Spirit on Retreat and Beyond.
She has studied and trained at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine Health Care, and Society/U Mass, the Center for Courage & Renewal, Institute for Transformational Leadership at Georgetown University, and the Ojai Foundation. Deeply influenced by several faith traditions, Valerie has studied and practiced mindfulness in the Plum Village tradition since 1995, and was ordained by Thich Nhat Hanh in 2003. She is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). She is a certified Kundalini yoga teacher (500-hour training), having studied within the American Sikh community over many years.
Valerie is a passionate volunteer with several nonprofits, including the Quaker micro-credit lending organization, Right Sharing of World Resources, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and Mercer Street Friends, helping New Jersey families make the journey out of poverty. She lives in New Hope, PA, a funky artists village, about midway between Manhattan and Philadelphia.