There are no endings….. Just beginnings. Look around the corner to see What’s Next!
Valerie Ramsey is a firm believer in the inherent power and strength of women. She transitioned from being a stay-at-home mother to a public relations career with Pebble Beach Resorts, to becoming a model, author, magazine editor and speaker. Since her 50s, she has authored two books and focuses on moving through life’s transitions, overcoming adversity. A Wilhelmina Model and executive editor of Fabulously 50magazine, she also mentors young women who would like to follow in her footsteps. Valerie is with Agence Silver, Paris, and Premier Speakers Bureau, Franklin, TN.
What is your background?
I grew up in NYC and CA. I got married to Wally Ramsey at 20. From my 20 to my 40s, I was a stay-at-home mom in Connecticut with a family of six children. In my early 50s, Wally and I moved out to Pebble Beach, CA on the Monterey Peninsula. I had always known that after the children were grown, I wanted to have a career of my own and so at 53, I went to work at the famed Pebble Beach Resorts. I worked my way up from a retail position in the pro shop to becoming public relations/media manager for the Resorts (three hotels, four golf courses, a large spa, seven restaurants, and 17-Mile Drive). At 58, on the first week of my new PR position, I was diagnosed with a serious heart condition and uterine cancer. I made the decision that when I recovered, I was going to make the second half of my life just as interesting and fulfilling as the first half had been. I went on to enjoy a 15-year career at Pebble Beach. I was recruited into modeling at 63 (although I did not give up my PR job). At 68, I wrote the award-winning Gracefully – Looking & Being Your Best at Any Age with my daughter Heather Hummel, published by McGraw Hill. A few years later, I wrote a second book with Heather Hummel, Creating What’s Next – Gracefully. I appeared as a guest on numerous television shows including five times on The TODAY Show, CNN, Neil Cavuto’s Fox Business News, Hollywood Extra and many others in New York, San Francisco and Toronto. Very recently, I did a series of three video interviews for the global community Sixty and Me. The interview on Healthy Aging, Beauty & Fashion has gone viral: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv9mAN5gDPw I joined the national speakers’ circuit and proceeded to speak all over the country, inspiring people on how to Create What’s Next, Resilience and other subjects. I am a frequent speaker for the American Heart Association and was the face for Orchard Brands national advertising campaign.
At 72, we moved back to the east coast to south Florida. I signed a contract with Wilhelmina Miami and later Wilhelmina New York. I am also with Agence Silver in Paris. At 76, I became the executive editor of Fabulously 50magazine. At almost 80, I am still modeling, speaking and taking part in conferences as I did with the Central California Women’s Conference last fall.
What inspires you to create?
My family inspires me. My husband Wally of almost 60 years, our six wonderful children and eight outstanding grandchildren—they all inspire me to go out there and be the best I can be.
Speaking to women, particularly those who are at a crossroads and are looking for inspiration and guidance on how to move on. I speak to them about How to Create What’s Next.
Also, having come through a serious heart condition and being a three-time cancer survivor, I am continually inspired by the men and women, and especially the children, who are meeting life’s adversities and championing through them. The stories we hear on the news every day are enormously inspiring.
Being out in nature inspires me; travel, seeing new places, meeting new people, and trying new things… all of these things inspire me. The wonder of holidays—Christmas, Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, and so
many more—seeing our flag, showing gratitude to our armed forces. Living in the United States of America inspires me every day.
How has your career influenced your passions (or vice versa)?
Almost everything I’ve ever done has in one way or another influenced me, but it was my public relations career at Pebble Beach Resorts that had the biggest influence on the things I am passionate about. I thrive in beautiful places, in nature, in being near the ocean, teaming up with positive people and sharing a purpose—all of these things were present in the 15 years I worked at Pebble Beach. Being exposed to some of the most interesting people and extraordinary places around the globe— that truly opened my eyes to the many wonders of the world.
What is something that you must do every day (by choice)?
The first thing in the morning, before I’m even out of bed, and the last thing I do before I go to sleep at night is to think about how grateful I am for all of the blessings in my life. Showing gratitude is my key to a happy life.
Getting outside into nature is crucial to my overall feeling of wellbeing, too.
What are some things that you would tell yourself 10, 20, 30 years ago?
I will celebrate my 80thbirthday in October, so that is the perspective from which I will answer these questions:
10 years ago: At 70, I would have told myself to forget about getting older—don’t even think about it. Love, laugh, enjoy every day, show gratitude, be happy. And be prepared because lots of great new opportunities are coming your way!
20 years ago: At 60, I would have told myself to continue to create new goals for myself, to travel and to not be afraid to try new things. Find ways to give back, to share yourself and your life’s lessons with others, and to always stay open to new opportunities, new experiences and new friends.
30 years ago: At 50, I would have said, “OK, so now you’re 50, and you’re starting to think that maybe it’s the end of the road, that there are no new opportunities waiting out there. Well, let me tell you something. A whole new life can begin at middle age!!!”
If you could be answering these questions from another location, anywhere in the world, where would that be?
I would be sitting on the beach in Carmel, CA—drinking in the sights, sounds and smells of the Pacific Ocean, feeling the silky white sand between my toes, watching the dogs and people at the water’s edge, looking across Carmel Bay to the beautiful Pebble Beach Golf Links, and just knowing that I was so blessed to be taking it all in on one of the most inspiring and magnificent places on God’s earth.
Who are some role models in your life?
There have been many, past and present, but the greatest role model of all was my mom. As an active career woman in the ’40’s and ’50’s, she was way ahead of her time. She and my dad were divorced at the end of World War II when I was four years old, and she knew she was going to have to forge a new life for herself. We moved from California to the east coast where she built a career with Intercontinental Hotels and Pan American Airways, traveling all over South America with their executive teams to decide on locations for new hotels. At the same time she fostered a talent for comedy and became one of the Top 10 comedy writers in the United States. My mom spoke seven languages, had exquisite taste and knew how to make the best of any situation. She was beautiful, witty, fun and had a real talent for making people feel special.
What are some common misconceptions about the older generation that you’d like to change?
1 – One of the biggest ones is that older people can no longer contribute anything of value to the workplace or society. (Loved the movie The Intern with Robert De Niro and Ann Hathaway, which totally debunked that idea).
2 – One of my favorites: “Of all the self-fulfilling prophecies in our culture, the assumption that aging means decline and poor health is probably the deadliest.” Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy
3 – Old people are no longer interested in intimacy or having a physical relationship
4 – Older people are too set in their ways to be able to adapt to anything new
5 – Older people are incapable of making good, well-thought-out decisions
What is something that you appreciate now that you hadn’t before?
A day with some peace and quiet, some alone time to read a book, enjoy nature, listen to music, watch a good movie… these things mean more to me now than they ever did before. Before I always had the need to be busy, to be active, to be racing from one thing to the next. Now I appreciate a bit of solitude, some time to take a deep breath and just appreciate the stillness. I still crave new challenges and things that keep me on the run, but I also need some time off from the merry-go-round.
What’s a lesson you learned within the last year that you’d like to share?
That it’s really fun to smash people’s ideas of what it means to age! Especially as I approach my 80th birthday, I love showing people that just because we’re getting older doesn’t mean we have to be old.
What kinds of relationships are important to your work?
In work, as in life, relationships that are based on honesty, integrity and shared values are key. So are having things in common such as a shared goal, a sense of purpose, things you both enjoy, finding delight and humor in the same things. Being open and comfortable with each other. All of these things help to create a successful working relationship (and a happy marriage!).
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