Ryan O’Neill is originally from Titusville and now works as an Account Executive at Forever Media. He attended Edinboro University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.
Ryan is also an Army Combat Veteran and served in Iraq from 2003 to 2005.
He is excited to be back in our area and has hope for the future here. “I like how personable, approachable, and helpful people are. You get a real sense of community and genuine caring,” he said. “The area is growing and evolving to meet the needs of a changing world and you can see this through the expansion of our industries, cultural centers, and retail establishments.”
At his job with Forever Media, Ryan gets to be a part of this growth and work with local businesses, which he describes as a “humbling and exhilarating experience and one that I truly enjoy doing day in and day out.”
In his free time, Ryan reads, lifts weights, hunts, fishes, cooks and bakes, hikes, camps, and spends time with his nieces and nephews. He also has dreams to go into business for himself someday and spends time working on business plans while also learning and volunteering to improve the community.
Some of Ryan’s favorite places to visit in our area include the hiking and biking trails and the local libraries, which he says are “a truly valuable resource.” Ryan also likes to visit the small businesses and loves to see them grow from startups to viable businesses. You can find him at local festivals and events, too, including Applefest, the Venango County Fair, and other smaller gatherings that occur frequently in our area.
Ryan looks forward to getting even more involved with FLEX, to network and have access to ideas and resources from fellow professionals and entrepreneurs. Welcome to FLEX, Ryan!
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.
Valerie does not technically work in Venango County; she works onboard Holland America Line ships for 3-5 months at a time. During her contact 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.
We wish Valerie the best of luck as she heads back to work, and we look forward to seeing her again when she’s back in the area!
These articles were published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) December 2019 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.