Jennifer Valoppi is a Multi-Emmy Award Winning TV Journalist, Award Winning Author, and Social Entrepreneur, who has been recognized ten times on the floor of the United States Congress and is a recipient of former Florida. Governor Jeb Bush’s Points of Light Award, the highest honor in the State of Florida. Valoppi is a veteran TV news anchor and host in Miami, New York, and Los Angeles and has appeared on network, local, cable, and nationally syndicated programs as well as consulting on and appearing in film. As President & Founder of the Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program, Valoppi directs the mentoring of 4,400 at-risk girls in close to 200 public high schools in South Florida, Metro Detroit, and Philadelphia, with a network of hundreds of highly accomplished professional women, awarding over $6 million dollars in college scholarships.
Is there a particular experience in your life that inspired your passion for helping young women succeed?
When I was in college studying psychology of women, the research was clear, the biggest problem with equality between
men and women was not so much that men felt that women were inferior, but that women agreed. And the women who did make it to the top, liked being the only ones there and didn’t do anything to help other young women along.
This was something that bothered me throughout my career in television, and I always made an effort to mentor both young
women and men. In 1997, shortly after I came to Miami to anchor the news on NBC here, I went to our VP and General Manager Don Browne, with an idea to empower at-risk young women and help them live up to their full potential. Don threw the weight of the TV station behind it, and together, we created the Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program.
Throughout your life, who were the women that empowered you?
When I got into television in the early 1980’s there weren’t a lot of women anchoring the news or in positions of power at TV stations, so unfortunately I didn’t really have any female professional mentors. That said, my mother and especially my grandmother had a huge impact on me. My grandmother, an Armenian immigrant who survived the Turkish massacre of the Armenians and spent time in a refugee camp, was an extremely positive force in my life. As a child I would hear her stories and say I could never have survived the atrocities, but she always said of course you could – the human spirit is far more resilient than most people give it credit for. She mourned but never hated and forgave sometimes beyond my ability to understand. She also taught me that we are nothing more than the good memories we leave behind.
What is most rewarding to you about your work with WOT?
When a young woman runs up to me and says this program changed her life, I am extremely humbled and so grateful for having been given the opportunity to do this.
What was most challenging in launching WOT?
Funding to ensure our girls are given the most effective, efficient and best possible program, is always the most challenging issue.
What makes WOT so successful?
The many amazing women who are so dedicated and committed to the girls we mentor. From our Founders like Katherine Fernandez Rundle, our mentors like Millinda Sinnreich who has mentored every year since day 1, to Marisa Toccin Lucas, who for almost 20 years has put on the most amazing events and come up with the most creative ways to support our girls.
What characteristics do you look for in a WOT mentor?
All Women of Tomorrow mentors are highly accomplished professionals who believe in our girls and want to help them build successful, meaningful lives.
What is your plan for the future of WOT?
I’d like to see it in every major city in this country.
What are some ways to get involved?
Mentoring at Women of Tomorrow is an invitation only process. If you know someone who is involved, ask them to recommend you. If not, Women of Tomorrow has a variety of events throughout the year and each provides a
way to get involved and get to know us. You learn more on our website www.womenoftomorrow.org or call 305 371-