2022 NEA Women in Business: Christy Valentine

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 1,006 views 

Christy Valentine
Manager of academic partnerships
Hytrol Conveyor Company
Residence Jonesboro
Education Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration-marketing, Arkansas State University

What has been the most fulfilling moment of your career so far?

When I was in the fundraising profession, a good friend introduced me to an article titled “The Spirituality of Fundraising.” Among many great lessons, the one that stood out to me was the impact of inviting people to join you in something that matters. In other words, share your passion and encourage others to join you. I’ve had the privilege of exercising that lesson for many years now. From music to manufacturing, I work to communicate my passion and share opportunities that allow people to live up to their full potential. Helping open doors for others is the best job in the world … truly a “heart” job.

What character traits do you feel have benefited you in your success?

When I was 21 years old, I was promoted to manager of the team I had worked with. One of the team members was a woman with considerable experience and the same person who had helped train me when I was a newbie. With some advice from my dad, I approached the situation with humility. I practiced using “we,” rather than “I.” Most importantly, I made great strides to treat everyone with respect. Mistakes at work were just errors, not character flaws. It is important to be generous with praise and appreciation. And I always keep good candy on my desk. It’s a friend maker! People will come to your office just to talk if you have sweets!

How do you spend your time away from work? What are your hobbies?

I love to cook. During COVID, I took Italian cooking classes via Zoom with a grandmother/granddaughter duo from Italy. I learned to make homemade pasta, ravioli and delicious sauce. I love to host large crowds of people and watch them fill their plates with good food. My social media feed is packed with recipes! I also love to dig in the dirt and plant flowers. If I lived on a few acres with good soil, I would have dirt under my fingernails all the time! Zinnias are my absolute favorite. I believe Delta dirt is some of the most fertile soil in the entire world.

What advice would you give young women who are at the beginning of their careers?

Stop apologizing. Women should no longer apologize for having differing opinions from peers and leadership. Stand strong in your convictions and have a voice. Gracious confidence can help you work miracles. Build up other women. I believe we can have a tremendous impact if we channel our collective energy and effort. Prioritize relationship building. People don’t do business with a company; they do business with people they like and trust. Networking is essential in building your career.

If you have a bucket list, what are the top three things on it?

This will sound crazy, especially if you’ve heard me sing … I would love to play Ms. Hannigan in a small theater production of “Annie.” The Carol Burnett version. I know every word! I am ready! Stand-up comedy … I have a notebook full of things that have happened to me. I would love to tell my story and make people laugh! I would love to spend a year in a small village in Italy. Learn the culture, language, make friends and get to know the locals.

What’s your favorite app at the moment?

Libby. I am in my car a lot. The public library app has become one of my best friends. I listen to a wide range of audio books. I love historical fiction.

What’s the next big personal or career challenge you plan to take on?

My next big challenge is personal. I want to downsize and simplify. During COVID, I realized I had been operating at a pace that was overwhelming and unhealthy. Being forced to pause caused me to rethink my surroundings. I want everything in my house to be functional and personal. I’m very sentimental and have an enormous collection of papers, pictures and mementos. I want to minimize and surround myself only with the things that bring happiness and convenience.