How lucky I feel to have had Valerie Moran in my life. I deeply share the grief and the love of her family and friends upon her passing. Her brilliant mind and always cheerful smile will remain a guiding light in my business, but also touched me personally and transformed my life with love.
We met the week after the whole country was shaken to the core by 9/11. I went to see Valerie, whom I barely knew at the time, and reached out to her for some much needed advice. Despite how busy she was figuring out her own business, she invited me into her office and sat with me. She told me: “Leslie it’s going to be okay! New Yorkers are resilient”. I wasn’t convinced by her words but her warm smile and lighthearted response stayed with me through the following months, when we had no clients to the showroom.
Her smile and optimistic, matter-of-fact approach stayed with me also throughout the economic downturn of 2009, when she consulted for us. Drawing from her brilliant mind, uncanny ability to strategize pretty much anything and last but not least from her 30+ years of experience, she quickly absorbed and understood our business and gave no nonsense advice.
She was strong in her opinions and stuck to them with conviction. Some of her advice may have been ahead of its time but it laid the groundwork and vision that continues to propel our business today. In fact, a lot of the decisions she made as a business leader throughout her career were ahead of her time, which made her the unique Valerie we all knew or heard of, the flamboyant but rigorous leader, adventurous yet so precise with numbers, unafraid of taking any risks when the idea was great.
But her unconditional respect for me as a leader transformed me beyond the specifics. For someone who had success and achievement at the tip of her little finger, Valerie always amazed me by her unique quality to make everything look so simple and unpretentious. She never let things get too full of their own importance and could easily follow the most brilliant business thought with a flirty discussion on her latest fashion finds…
Valerie’s success was recognized throughout the industry as she was the recipient of numerous awards such as SPEC, ROSCOE awards and the 1998 IFDA “Circle of Excellence” and she was honored as a member of Metropolitan Home’s “Design 100”. To the many awards she was recognized with I can only add my humble prize of admiration and love. She was a guiding angel to me and to so many more…
In gratitude for the great mentors in my life including my dad and Valerie I have started the Tribute Mentorship Program for design students and young design professionals. We will be creating mentoring programs in memory of Valerie Moran that will honor her great spirit.
May we all be lucky to meet a mentor like her in our lifetime, and may we all inspire and mentor other people the way she did.