Originally from the mining valleys of South Wales Val graduated with an M.Sc. in Biological Sciences from Cardiff University. She spent a few years teaching in adult education, first as a Lecturer in Med Lab Sciences at what was then known as an FE College and then at University where she was a Scientific Officer with responsibility for classes and research in electron microscopy. She always had an interest in volunteering, however, and spent an inspiring and formative few years as a volunteer youth worker in what was then called Tiger Bay in Cardiff.
An opportunity to move to Scotland came with a job move to BP Chemicals Research Centre at Grangemouth where she spent the next 15 years or so, experiencing a variety of management positions – ending up in a planning and change management role, optimising integration across the Grangemouth site. During this time, she became involved with the local community in Alloa, particularly through her involvement with Ludgate Church, and became interested in Counselling and Psychotherapy, qualifying in 2002. Voluntary work in counselling both with adult survivors of sexual abuse and substance addiction followed.
Around 15 years ago, along with a few colleagues from BP, she helped create a spin-off company from BP Chemicals. Impact Solutions, is now a thriving, international, research and development company in plastics and product development.
Although she has now retired from corporate life she has found that much of what she has learnt from a varied career is valuable and transferrable to the voluntary sector. She is particularly interested in community enterprise, organisational development, the management of change and creative ways of addressing poverty and exclusion locally and nationally. She has been a Trustee of Community House in Alloa for over 12 years and is a founder Trustee of The Gate Charity in Alloa, where she continues as Secretary.