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The Daily Herald

April 14, 2017

With a childhood in Pontiac Michigan, Valerie admits to being a “precocious child.” She was a star student, as were her siblings. Her mom raised them...

NAACP The Crisis Today Radio

April 04, 2017

Advertising Agency Executive Author, "Pressure Makes Diamonds,"...

The Jennifer Keitt Show

January 29, 2017


Tonight on The Jennifer Keitt Show we discuss becoming who you pretend to be.


Nia Magazine

January 13, 2017

Valerie Graves reflects on her prodigious journey from the projects of Michigan to the prestige of New York’s upper echelon as a high-powered advertising executive in a historically white and male arena.

Essence Magazine on Newsstands now!

January 10, 2017

Happy to share "my" issue of ESSENCE (January 2017) with lovely Vanessa Williams

Black Enterprise

January 01, 2017

Valerie Graves Talks Becoming The Woman I Pretended To Be

Author recounts being a teenage mother who escaped Detroit's projects to become one of the nation's top advertising executives

The Smart Set

December 23, 2016

I met with Valerie Graves before her interview with Paula Marantz Cohen on The Drexel Interview. She exuded a calm and poised excitement about having so many people discussing her new book. 

Essence Magazine

December 15, 2016

Over the course of my career, I've been honored to appear multiple times in Black Enterprise and EBONY, but until the January 2017 issue, never in ESSENCE!

Foreward Reviews

November 28, 2016

This is an inspirational memoir about a determined woman who faked it till she made it—and made it big.

Good Reads

November 25, 2016

This is the unflinching memoir of a female African American advertising executive's unprecedented and unlikely success, which began in the Mad Men era. 

Amsterdam News Article

November 24, 2016

In her memoir “Pressure Makes Diamonds—Becoming the Woman I Pretended to Be,” Valerie Graves has spun an appealing narrative with a protagonist who reads like an African-American female counterpart of Horatio Alger.

NPR Radio Interview

November 21, 2016

Our conversation with Valerie Graves, author of “Pressure Makes Diamonds: Becoming the Woman I Pretended to Be.

You may not know her name, but it’s a good bet you know her work. 

Valerie Graves has worked in the creative departments at the nation’s leading advertising firms. She’s been creative director for top Fortune 500 accounts like General Motors, Ford, Burger King, AT&T, Pepsi and more.

Book List

November 18, 2016

Barrier-breaking, highly celebrated creative director and advertising executive Graves is about more than glittery and impressive national ...

Black Page Turners Excerpt

October 25, 2016


The city of Pontiac, Michigan was celebrating its 150th birthday in March 2011, and my role in the festivities was “hometown girl made good.” 

Library Journal

October 15, 2016

Best Books of 2016

Graves, Valerie. Pressure Makes Diamonds: Becoming the Woman I Pretended To Be. Open Lens: Akashic. Nov. 2016. 298p. ISBN 9781617754937. pap. $15.95. MEMOIR

Kaieteur News Article

September 18, 2016

Valerie Graves tells a compelling account of growing up black in Pontiac, Detroit. It is in the 1960s and against the backdrop of riots, looting, burning stores, and the timbre of black frustration, she manages to blossom.


Kirkus Reviews

October 12, 2016

A pioneer in multicultural advertising recounts her life surmounting the odds of being African-American and female in a predominantly white male business arena.


Our Time Press Article

February 11, 2016

Writer, advertising guru Valerie Graves lives in Harlem...

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