Val is a Social Worker by trade and has worked in the field of vocational rehabilitation since 1978. In 1985, Val started her own vocational rehabilitation/employment services company, Northern Lights Canada (now called Agilec), which became one of the largest of its kind in Canada.
Concurrently, Val designed and delivered corporate training sessions to public and private employment and rehabilitation organizations all over Canada. Training topics included organizational development, employability, labour market trends, self-directed work teams, creative problem solving, managing change, creative job search techniques, and the vocational impact of disabilities.
In 2003, Val was in a head-on collision herself and sustained catastrophic orthopedic injuries along with a brain injury. She was in hospitals for five months, had to learn to walk again, and then spent the next three years in intensive rehabilitation programs. Informed by this experience, Val wrote two books, Be Still and Be Strong, and designed several new training sessions concerning trauma, rehabilitation, recovery and the disability benefits system.
Val retired in 2018, and since then has had what she calls the “profound privilege” of writing three of the modules thus far for the VRA Online Learning Academy (OLA). Val says that she has made many lifetime friends through VRA over the years and is so grateful she can continue to contribute to the organization.