Valerie Bihet jumped head first from Paris into the tumultuous climate of corporate America with unstable footing, but her passion propelled her to move mountains. Valerie was different from other incoming immigrants; she never intended to come to the US in search of the American dream. Despite her fulfilling life in the city of love, the invitation to a more significant role in an unexplored territory tempted her. Upon receiving the offer from her employer, Valerie began leading the public relations department for a worldwide company in the US.
Valerie was only 29 years old, and although she was hesitant to leave home, the role of communication, public relation, and partnership director offered her significant career growth and sparked her curiosity for something unfamiliar. Valerie knew she had to decide quickly before the opportunity slipped away. No matter the input she received from others in her life, Valerie stayed true to herself and stepped into her power as a born leader. Any obstacle she encountered in her new life could never break her relentless drive to succeed.
Valerie’s new career was the catalyst for her entrepreneurship journey to unfold. Once she started working as director of communication, her life was always on the go, with business travel from coast to coast. Valerie was handling partnerships, event planning, and more.
Valerie was traveling three weeks per month, moving from the public relation hub in New York to South Carolina and any other place she needed. She lived in Miami at the time because it was most convenient for her hectic travel schedule.
Valerie was highly successful professionally because of her captivating personality, allowing her to blend into any business environment like a chameleon. She noticed that work culture and norms were opposites for French and American businesses. When planning events and large-scale projects, French professionals would hone in on the details, versus the big-picture approach taken by the Americans. Once Valerie had noticed this, she combined these strengths to elevate her professional success: Valerie used her ability to react and dive deep into problems to understand how she could settle into any cultural setting and still forge partnerships with clients. Her most memorable instance of utilizing this skill was when she started targeting European clientele in the US. Valerie knew she could leverage this cultural advantage to retain clients often unsatisfied by traditional American event agencies.
When the recession hit in 2008, Valerie’s corporate mindset kicked in to handle unexpected circumstances. Her optimistic outlook galvanized the creation of her next project: an 8,000-person event in Las Vegas hosted by a tech giant. Another event she feels lucky to have participated in was a unique sporting event in Kuala Lumpur.
After these events, Valerie worked hard to build credibility in the event planning industry. She started with much smaller events initially but was able to coordinate more significant events with her newfound freedom to choose what she wanted to take on once she founded her company, VIBE Agency, in 2004.
Post-Covid19, Valerie remembers the struggles of digitizing her agency and shifting to hybrid events. Some of her team couldn’t adapt to the change and eventually left, which was disappointing to experience, but Valerie focused on improving her business. Due to the necessity for digital events during the pandemic, Valerie had to be more aggressive in her techniques to generate new business. Much of this task involved learning how to stand out on social media. Balancing multiple platforms could be challenging, but Valerie and her team maximized their engagement through creative brainstorming and her visionary ability.
Valerie never anticipated building a company or being an entrepreneur. However, she understood that change was needed when a colleague commented on how talented she was at working with people. His compliment was genuine, and Valerie was flattered, but he also noted that her work wasn’t lighting her up. That observation helped her harness an entrepreneurial spirit and incorporate her personality into her company’s success.
Valerie gained her grit and perseverance from her independent mother and took that with her throughout her journey as a business owner. She learned from her that anything is possible if you believe in yourself. Says Valerie Bihet, “I think my personality and the way I’m programmed made me want to prove how I was valuable to the US and why I came to this country. I know I’m not perfect, but I educate myself and push my boundaries to grow. I bring emotional elements and experiences to all parts of my work, and that is what has made me successful. I see myself as a conductor, leading my employees like an orchestra; I work with positive people because they’ve got a strong desire to make something big and they love what they do. For the future, I want to continue to grow VIBE, as well as collaborating with other businesses and creating new partnerships.”