Valerie Stewart

Director, Healthy Communities

As Director, Healthy Communities, Valerie supports nonprofits and grassroots leaders to create the conditions for their communities to thrive.

Valerie brings more than 10 years of experience in leadership development, capacity building, technical assistance, and tools to support organizational infrastructure. She originally joined the Blue Cross NC Foundation team in the operations role after working in communications at Blue Cross NC. Prior to that, she was a fundraiser managing special events at Junior Achievement of Chicago and started her career as a business consultant.

Valerie received her MBA from the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and her undergraduate degree in public and corporate communications from Butler University.

What I love about my work:

My position has allowed me to create, collaborate, and partner to support mindset and heartset shifts to transform leadership and organizational culture. I have made it my personal mission to not only fund the people who do the work, but to care for them through trainings, experiential learning and opportunities that support personal sustainability, rest, and rejuvenation. I am more focused than ever on centering community and those most proximate to the problem in power shifting and power sharing. Alongside the Foundation’s equity journey, my personal journey has led me to interrogate my own whiteness, and unlearn and relearn with humility how I can be a better partner and ally in this work.

When not at my desk:

My personal investments of time, money, and attention are going toward public school advocacy and leadership through service with PTA, food insecurity through TABLE, and immigrant rights causes in my Carrboro/Chapel Hill community. I am equally passionate about mental health and social-emotional well-being and have used many supports along the way to better understand habits and behaviors. I recently participated in the Healthcare Coaching Institute that seeks to humanize health care and am working toward my coaching certification as I continue to learn about my creative individualist (Enneagram 4) personality. Giving is in my nature and I previously served as a volunteer and board member of Girls on the Run of the Triangle and the Pulliam School of Journalism at Butler University. I am married to a fellow Butler Bulldog alum and have twin boys that keep me active exploring the outdoors and engaging in anything that involves movement, physical activity, or releases of energy. My self-care includes traveling, exploring, running, drinking coffee, and connecting with friends.

Favorite thing about North Carolina:

I moved here in 2006 from the Midwest and have since put down roots. NC is home to most of my major life milestones, so it has transformed who I am and how I see the world. I find joy in the landscape and weather here – from university campuses, to public parks and trails, to the mountains and pine trees, to the beaches and water. On the weekend, you can find me taking full advantage of the food, beverages, nature, and culture in my community.