Valerie Perry grew up in Oil City and is among the first group of Cruise & Travel Directors for Holland American Line. This company is redefining the cruise industry by changing the role of the Cruise Director and providing education and enrichment on the history and culture of destinations.
Prior to her current job, Valerie worked at National Geographic, where she was the Head of Programming and Production for National Geographic Live—a speaker series where explorers share their stories from the field.
“I got to work at National Geographic which is pretty great, but I also had the courage to walk away when I knew it wasn’t quite the right fit anymore,” she said. “It would have been easier to stay—seeing people’s jaws hit the floor when you tell them where you work never got old—but Holland America Line offered me a job to do what I really loved doing: public speaking and getting people excited to travel.”
Valerie attended Cranberry High School, where she graduated as Valedictorian in 2003. She then studied at Grove City College where she earned bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Christian Thought. She considers herself a lifelong learner and will attend a class or webinar about anything.
In the future, Valerie would love a larger platform to speak to people about travel (a television or digital series is her dream) and someday she’d like to own a travel planning company. She’d also like to start a scholarship fund to help area youth pursue their dreams, too.
Valerie’s hobbies include photography, hiking, camping, spending time with family and friends, and visiting National Parks, of which she has visited about 120. She is also a travel writer—theroadlotstraveled.com chronicles her journeys and she wrote a guidebook to Caribbean ports called “Sea More: Caribbean.”
There are many reasons Valerie loves living in Venango County. She loves the quiet, being away from crowds and traffic, and being surrounded by nature—much different than when she lived in Washington, DC. She also likes that there is always something to do when she’s had enough quiet, like grab a beer at Trails to Ales or see friends in a show at the Barrow Civic Theatre.
When in Venango County, Valerie uses her skills as a storyteller to help local businesses and organizations. Much of the year, though, she works onboard Holland America Line ships for 3-5 months at a time. During her contract she works every single day, so to make up for the lack of weekends and days off, she then has 1 or 2 months off in-between contracts. This gives her months at a time to explore and enjoy this area.