June 29, 2017

Valerie R. Sheppard


Valerie R. Sheppard, Founder & CEO

Valerie provides strategic, tactical and personal leadership consulting to entrepreneurs and corporate executives.  She brings more than 28-years of experience in brand and business strategy development and execution, and coaching from both line management and consulting roles to projects.  She is certified professionally-qualified to teach at the collegiate level by the AACSB, and has taught both undergraduate and graduate level marketing courses and continues to guest lecture at the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine.

While working as a Vice President at ConAgra Foods, Valerie managed a portfolio of popular food brands with net sales close to $1Billion dollars.  Valerie led large cross-functional teams for national and regional brands through all aspects of growth development including manufacturing, positioning, packaging, consumer messaging, and selling strategy and execution.

Prior to that, Valerie was a Managing Consultant for the international marketing consultancy, The Zyman Group,  where she developed long-term brand growth strategy and positioning for leading brands across a host of verticals including food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, and entertainment.  She was instrumental in development of a strategic shift that led to the turn-around of a $500MM business at a major client.

Prior to Zyman Group, Valerie spent seven years at Procter & Gamble managing all strategic brand planning, brand positioning, communication strategy and messaging for several successful pharmaceutical brands.  During her tenure, she was awarded multiple awards for excellence in strategy, execution, and coaching.

Valerie holds an MBA from the Whitman School at Syracuse University, where she graduated a member of the National Marketing Honor Society and was awarded seven faculty awards for excellence.  Her BA is in speech communication from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.

Deborah A. Letourneau, Executive Vice President

Debbie Letourneau Debbie has worked in major consumer packaged goods companies for over 26 years in both Marketing and Marketing Research.   She has extensive experience across a variety of well known brands and various business models.  She currently provides Marketing and Marketing Research expertise to a variety of companies for Branding and Business development.

Having managed both businesses and people throughout her career, she also began teaching collegiate-level Marketing and Marketing Research, and has been successful at teaching in both the Graduate and Undergraduate programs for over 4 years, sharing her business experience and expertise with the up-and-coming business leaders of tomorrow.

After working in the Midwest for over 20 years, Debbie relocated to Southern California to work for Con Agra Foods on the Orville Redenbacher business.  She managed the transition of all production facilities to a sister ConAgra company while driving growth on the business.  She then led the successful turnaround of one of the biggest brands in the company, Chef Boyardee, $500MM, after 3 years of declines.  She was named VP of Consumer Insights for the total portfolio representing over $2Billion in sales.  She has managed and provided strategic research perspective for both large and small brands, and helped to manage the total research portfolio of over 20 brands for the company, while managing a group of 15 professionals.

Before Con Agra Food, Debbie worked for 18 years at SC Johnson Wax (SCJ) in marketing research and marketing.  SCJ is a unique $5Billion international company that is privately held and family owned.  At SCJ, she worked across all the major businesses, and was instrumental in developing strategic long-term growth plans.  Again, Debbie managed both large and small businesses, and launched several successful new products as well.

Debbie received an MBA with a focus on Marketing Research from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1982.  She holds a BBA from the University of Notre Dame, 1981.

Melissa Almon, Brand Strategist & Copywriter

Melissa Almon Brand Strategist and Copywriter

Over the past 25 years, Melissa Almon has brought her passion for clear, compelling communication and storytelling to clients across diverse business categories.  She is skilled in innovative brand strategy, naming, positioning, and establishing the written voice of brands. Melissa has been instrumental in developing effective and award-winning brand programs and marketing tools for clients across numerous verticals, including online higher education.

She began her career at McCann Erickson Worldwide in strategic marketing, writing and production for print, radio and television. While at McCann, she worked in a group that invented and positioned new product concepts for companies in the beverage and package goods businesses.  Melissa moved on to Fawcett McDermott Cavanaugh, an agency in Hawaii, where  she specialized in the travel-trade business, working on packaging, positioning and differentiating resort destinations all over the Pacific.

At Team Disney, Melissa was instrumental in writing and positioning the first comprehensive eCommerce-enabled Disneyland Resort site, targeting both consumer and travel-trade sides of the business. Melissa also gave Minnie Mouse a “helping hand” with her weekly column, which ran in the Los Angeles Times. (Minnie can’t type very well with her white gloves.)

Melissa holds a B.A. in English from Stanford University.  She is a member of  AIDS CareTeams In Our Neighborhood (ACTION), and is a student of Marshall Rosenberg’s Compassionate  Communication.