Keeping It Real with Jessi Valentine
Jessi Valentine’s spirit animal is a chameleon.
“I can find my own niche and adapt into whatever position that I have to,” says Valentine, finance department administrator. “I can look at a job and go, ‘Oh I can do that,’ so then I will apply for it.”
And that is what Valentine has done her entire career: confidently transforming into whatever she needs to be, but always remembering to stay true to herself.
Valentine graduated from BYU in 2005 with a bachelor’s in English and minors in family life and linguistics. Her job experience has varied widely; she’s been a professional event planner, a compliance analyst, and a creative marketing director.
“I had done a lot of different things so it wasn’t like I only had one direction in my career choice,” Valentine says. “It was my experience that has defined me more than my major.”
As the finance department administrator, Valentine does everything from scheduling classes and test administration to event planning and overseeing all department hiring. She also does all the financial controlling of the department.
“Jessi runs the whole show,” says Shauna Reid, assistant finance program director. “However, her true sign of leadership is being able to delegate. She sets all her dominoes up in a row and then says, ‘everything is set,’ so then we just go.”
One of the things that is most important to Valentine is making sure everyone has ownership over what they do in the department. In particular, she invests much of her energy in her student employees.
“My goal is that the job they have here with us is not just a campus job, but that it is every bit as important on their résumé as their degree,” Valentine says. “I want to give them something that has merit and carries weight.”
Valentine invests so much in the students because she loved her transformative experience at BYU, explaining that the university was a “home away from home.” However, her life after graduating was not as cookie-cutter as she originally expected.
“Maybe not every female at BYU feels this way, but I would wager a fair chunk of us who graduate single think, ‘okay so now what?’ That was part of the reason why I got the professional experience that I did because I was older when I got married; I was thirty.”
Valentine met her husband, Jason Valentine, in California while doing ordinance work in the Oakland temple. They got married less than six months later and then wrestled with what to do next in their careers and education. To Valentine it felt as if BYU was calling her home.
That’s when she landed her current position.
“The short version of it is that I was meant to be here,” Valentine says. “We really feel that God’s hand was in our lives to expedite our move from California. It was an extremely spiritual journey for us.”
Along this journey, the Valentines were blessed with their biggest success: their son, Jacob.
“He is our little miracle baby,” Valentine says. “Jacob has transformed our home. He is a light and just fantastic.”
While Valentine works full-time her husband is a full-time dad and student in psychology, with plans to graduate in August. She acknowledges they have somewhat of a role reversal.
“I do it because I love my family and that is where my responsibility is right now. My biggest dream is to be able to put most of my focus on being a mother.”
The Valentines enjoy traveling to try new foods and embrace new cultures. However, at the end of the day nothing makes them happier than playing with their baby boy at home.
“The number one compliment that anyone could ever give me is that I am a genuine person,” Valentine says. “That I am true to who I am, whether that be at work, church, or anywhere else. One of my favorite things to be is me; I love being true to myself.”