Uplifting Athletes welcomes Valaree Machen to team as Senior Manager of Integrated Marketing Communications
Uplifting Athletes is pleased to welcome Valaree Machen to our team as the Senior Manager of Integrated Marketing Communications to help us better fulfill our mission to inspire the rare disease community with hope.
“We are excited to have Val joining the Uplifting Athletes team,” Uplifting Athletes Executive Director Rob Long said. “We recognized that there was an opportunity to better communicate who we are and what we do as an organization and Val is the perfect person to elevate our integrated marketing communications as we move forward.”
GET TO KNOW VAL
Roles and responsibilities: Manage all aspects of communications development for Uplifting Athletes under a one brand strategy. Valaree will manage the end-to-end IMC planning process and content development/execution across all constituent touch points to assure consistency in messaging and alignment with the Uplifting Athletes brand.
Education: Valaree received her BA in Professional Writing from Western Connecticut State University in 2017 and currently is a degree pursuant MS in Data Marketing from West Virginia University.
Career Path: Valaree embarked on her professional career with the YMCA where she worked at the local and regional level as a marketing and communications associate before moving to the Society of Plastics Engineers in 2018. She started as a marketing and graphic design coordinator before ascending to digital content manager in early 2019. Later that year she accepted a position at the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) and was part of the national nonprofit for three years as marketing manager and senior marketing manager before joining Uplifting Athletes.
Favorite Quote: “Bloom where you are planted and flourish when you gain freedom.” - Original source unknown
Q&A WITH VAL
What has drawn you to nonprofit work?
Working at The Y critically shaped my career. Prior to that, my knowledge of nonprofits and the vast resources they provided to people just wasn’t on my radar. Seeing how dedicated people were to help their community and better the health and wellness of people’s lives spoke to me and the struggles I was facing personally. My goal is to make the biggest impact I can, while I can, doing something I feel passionate about.
Share one or two of your most meaningful professional accomplishments and success stories?
I like to think that everything I’ve been a part of has been meaningful to me or the community I’ve served, but I’ve really been proud of the work I was able to accomplish while at the National Organization for Rare Disorders. There I oversaw the digital marketing that was having a direct impact on the rare community throughout the pandemic. Over time I was able to collaborate with and mentor a team of highly skilled professionals whom I owe a lot of credit to for helping my accomplishments happen.
Tell us something about yourself we won’t find on your resume?
Throughout my life I was involved with horses and even pursued Equine Science and Rehabilitation as an undergraduate degree. After realizing that chemistry and math were not my strongest suits, I pivoted to a more flexible field of study which I had an interest in — writing. Marketing, surprisingly enough, wasn’t even something I was considering until my final semester when I took an introductory course and fell in love with it.
If I hadn’t, I would have gone onto graduate school for medical anthropology, which I was minoring in.
What is a valuable lesson you have learned from your experiences that you carry with you?
Leaders and managers are completely different. The objective of a good leader is to build their team up into the best versions of themselves so everyone can succeed together. A manager focuses on work getting done the way they see fit so they can succeed alone.
I am grateful to Lesli Nordstrom for instilling that mindset into me and for giving me the confidence to pursue my career and education.
Tell us about your family and where you grew up, and how that shaped the person you are today?
I struggled significantly with anxiety and mental health issues throughout my childhood and adolescence. On a particularly bad day in my early teens, a close family member once said, “Your whole life is going to suck. You’ll have a few great moments but for the most part it just sucks and then you die. Just get used to it already.”
That left an indelible mark on my soul. There were so many things I couldn’t control, but I never wanted to feel that way. When I struck out on my own, I projected myself forward through work and school. I took every experience I could to get me to where I am today. My resourcefulness, independence, and compassion are some of my favorite qualities about myself. Even though there’s still an ebb and flow of joys and adversities in my life, I would say that living the life I have is great.
What piqued your interest about joining the team at Uplifting Athletes?
Everything about Uplifting Athletes and this position felt like the right place at the right time. As I was already in the rare disease space I knew of UA and their mission. The fact that the organization was in such a unique position of transformation and that there was a desire to implement foundational strategy to help grow the brand excited me. I feel very grateful that the team felt I was the right person to help make that change happen.
HOT SEAT QUESTIONS
Favorite Sports Team (any sport)?
My favorite organized sport is hockey and the Philadelphia Flyers are my favorite team. For football I root for the Philadelphia Eagles and baseball the New York Yankees.
I grew up riding and always loved Boyd Martin’s skill and bravery on the eventing course. His teaching style is also very patient and direct. I’ve also always admired Georgina Bloomberg for her grace and heart in and out of the ring.
Read the book or see the movie?
Both, but always the book first!
Go-To fast food stop?
Hobbies or other interests?
I have a variety of hobbies and interests. As a bit of a nerd I love reading and writing, mostly fantasy, I play video games and Dungeons and Dragons. I play the guitar very poorly and love going to rock concerts. I also volunteer a lot of my personal time to mentoring across new digital marketing professionals and fledgling podcasts.
Last concert you attended?
I dragged a few friends to Elizabeth, NJ on a Wednesday night to see a band I found on TikTok, RIVALS. They closed the show and we’re only on stage for like 10 minutes after we waited listening to a handful of local metal bands which were so-so, but those last 10 minutes were amazing!