Valerie Ann Wilson, Founder, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc., was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin. After graduating from high school in Iowa and the Chamberlain School of Retailing in Boston, she moved to New York City to pursue a fashion career. Within two years, she was hired as Vice President for Gant, where she established the ladies shirt division.
Valerie made the decision in 1967 to devote her attention to family while simultaneously lending her considerable business experience to the volunteer community. Over the next thirteen years, she served on numerous committees, boards of directors and played a part in a multitude of fundraising efforts for not-for-profit organizations in WestchesterCounty and New York City.
In 1977, the Wilson family moved to London where Valerie expanded her volunteer efforts. As a founding member of the Junior League of London, she created, and served as editor of, "Living in London: A Practical Guide." The book, now in its eleventh edition, is considered an indispensable guide for English speaking people moving to and living in London. It has become a fundraising staple for the League.
Valerie's three years in London fostered much of her passion for travel and the eponymous business that followed. Unable to find a travel agency that met her needs and expectations, she did her own research and planning instead, creating detailed and unique itineraries for business trips and deluxe family vacations.
Four years later on September 8, 1981, Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc. was born, opening in New York City with a commitment to create the most professional and knowledgeable travel consulting firm possible.
Today, under Valerie's leadership, with her two daughters, Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg and Kimberly Wilson Wetty, Co-Presidents, Valerie Wilson Travel is one of the largest privately owned and managed travel agencies in the United States. Every year since 1998, the agency has been counted among Travel Weekly's "Top 57 Travel Agencies" and most recently as the 30th largest in the United States. Both Valerie and Valerie Wilson Travel have earned a reputation for discerning advice and impeccable customer service.
In addition, Valerie is actively involved in many facets of the travel industry. Valerie Wilson Travel is a proud member of Virtuoso. Valerie served two terms on the Hotels & Resorts Committee before being elected to the Member Advisory Board for five years and was Vice Chairman and Chairman. She is an emeritus member of the Hotel Committee. Valerie is regularly sought as a key participant in industry roundtable discussions and serves on numerous travel advisory boards, including: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company; Luxury Board of Starwood Hotels & Resorts; Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts; Oberoi Hotels & Resorts; Société des Bains de Mer; Orient-Express and Abercrombie & Kent USA.
She is often honored with travel industry awards such as being named as "Most Powerful Women in Travel" by Travel Agent Magazine, as well as Travel + Leisure's "A-List," year after year since 2003, as one of the top "Power Brokers" in the industry. In addition to countless industry honors, Valerie is often called upon as an editorial contributor to various publications - from The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Crain's and Business Travel News to other industry trade magazines and consumer magazines like Town & Country and Travel + Leisure; sharing her tips, expertise and experiences with travelers everywhere.
It was in 2001 that Valerie became a published author with the publication of "Valerie Wilson's World...The Top Hotels & Resorts." This coffee table book on the world's best accommodations is filled with inviting text and luscious photographs of her favorite properties. The Second Edition was released in early 2012.
Valerie's greatest passion continues to be travel; particularly when she is sharing her knowledge or stories while planning and coordinating client's travel plans. Her other personal interests include fashion, ballet and theater, antiques, gourmet food and wine, spending time with her family, and of course traveling. Valerie resides in Bronxville, New York.