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Valerie Alexander
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Valerie Alexander is the author of acclaimed self-help book, "Happiness as a Second Language," and the founder and head writer of the popular blog, Speak Happiness.

A working screenwriter since 2001, Valerie has written for Joel Schumacher, Catherine Zeta Jones, Ice Cube, and others. She directed the award-winning short film Making the Cut, and is the creator, producer and director of “The Wedding Matters,” “Say I Do,” and “Life Support,” three successful commercial campaigns in support of marriage equality.

Prior to becoming a writer-director and author, Valerie was a corporate securities lawyer, an investment banker and an Internet executive in the Silicon Valley.

Valerie received her B.A. from Trinity University and her J.D. and M.S. degrees from U.C., Berkeley. She recently returned to Berkeley Law to teach "Representation of Law in Film," and she continues to lecture around the country with her entertaining talks, "How Women Can Succeed in Hollywood (Despite Having Female Brains)" and “Speak Happiness! A Workshop for Learning Happiness as a Second Language.”

Entries by Valerie Alexander

John Turman Is Not @BurningMan

(3) Comments | Posted September 6, 2015 | 6:17 PM

One of the amazing things that has emerged since the dawning of the Internet is that truly funny people now have an easy outlet for being funny. But there is such a plethora of wit that sometimes a rare gem can slip through the cracks, or be accessible to only...

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The 3 Worst Pieces of Advice Everyone Just Keeps Giving

(1) Comments | Posted June 30, 2015 | 3:30 PM

Today is the last day of June, which means that for the past month, millions of newly minted graduates and freshly wed couples have been taken aside by well-meaning, finger-wagging relatives and friends and given a slew of advice, ranging from what kind of a meal should start their day...

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Misery May Love Company, but Your Company Should Not Love Misery

(0) Comments | Posted May 21, 2015 | 5:16 PM


One of my consulting clients, a large non-profit corporation, asked me to attend their planning retreat to prepare for a major capital improvement project at their main facility.

I sat there as one leader after another -- division heads, managers, program directors and...

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Student Athletes, Open Mics and NCAA Profiteers

(14) Comments | Posted April 5, 2015 | 12:25 PM

Yes, he said it. In front of a hot mic, Kentucky's Andrew Harrison said the words, "Fuck that n*gga," referring to Frank Kaminsky, the Wisconsin star player who'd just led his team to victory over the Wildcats. By all means, let the outrage, moral indignation and public flogging...

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Women -- Stop 'Leaning' and Start Leading

(2) Comments | Posted March 5, 2015 | 3:09 PM

The fourth and final article from Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant in The New York Times' "Women at Work"series appeared today, and sadly, it is as misguided as the previous three have been, bordering on offensive. Do we really need Sandberg telling men that if they do a...

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Fifty Shades of Equality

(5) Comments | Posted February 17, 2015 | 10:53 AM

I saw two movies this weekend, Fifty Shades of Grey and Jupiter Ascending.

Fifty Shades of Grey is a movie by, for and about women. The women in it are real people, given real lives which they control. Yes, it's about a BDSM relationship, but it was not nearly...

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What Amazon Fails to Understand About Readers (...and Authors)

(3) Comments | Posted December 18, 2014 | 4:22 PM

I recently bought a friend's first novel. It was so exciting, launching my Kindle Reader and clicking on the cover in my ebook library, then boom -- there I was, on the first page of Chapter One, thrust right into the first line of her smart, funny story.

Except when...

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It's 2015. How Are We Still Having These Conversations?

(0) Comments | Posted December 14, 2014 | 5:29 PM

In 1985, while my mother was working as an insurance claims specialist, she thoroughly investigated a roof collapse at a large office building. She inspected the roof herself, interviewed witnesses and did significantly more than any of her male colleagues would have done, which she knew because they told her...

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How One Professor, One Student and One Class Showed that One Dollar Can Change the World

(1) Comments | Posted September 29, 2014 | 1:27 PM

Speech Professor Tammy Voigt is a favorite among students at Indiana University Southeast. With a rare 5.0 score on, it's no wonder undergrads flock to her classes, but even this veteran instructor can still be surprised by her students now and then.

Junior level speech class, SP 324 --...

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Unhappy People Can Rain on Anything -- Even Coffee, Pirates and Free Doughnuts!

(0) Comments | Posted September 20, 2014 | 10:58 AM

Exactly one year ago, a study came out from researchers at Beihang University in China examining more than 70 million tweets from 200,000 users on Weibo (China's insanely popular version of Twitter) showing that anger was the most viral emotion on social media. For those of us who...

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For Happiness, the Delete Key Is Your Friend

(1) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 4:58 PM

Recently, I had to ask a friend for help. This person is in a position to help me, with very little sacrifice, and yet, he said, "No." He had a long explanation, which I understood and it was reasonable, but still, it had taken a lot for me to ask...

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Let's Stop Neutralizing Men

(205) Comments | Posted July 4, 2014 | 3:33 PM

There are few sporting events I get as excited about as the World Cup. I played soccer in high school, in the NCAA, and for five years post-college, including two glorious years in the Golden Gate Women's League, Premier Division. What the U.S. Men's National Team has accomplished is extraordinary,...

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Respect Is an Action Verb

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2014 | 6:37 PM

When I was a securities lawyer at the now defunct Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, I worked on an IPO with the now defunct Montgomery Securities. Montgomery was the lead bank, and we were the lead company-side counsel. Such a transaction always starts with an "org meting" -- the organizational meeting...

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The Power of V-Day and Why #BringBackOurGirls Is Not Enough

(1) Comments | Posted May 22, 2014 | 11:07 AM

"One in three women on the planet will be beaten or raped in her lifetime.
That's more than one billion women living on the planet today."

Joan Van Ark was a bit shaky as she read the opening words to the Spotlight Narration of The Vagina Monologues...

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#FacebookFail and the 'We Know Best' Folly of Corporate America

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2014 | 6:38 AM

CASE #1:

The first "grown-up" shoes I ever owned was a pair of faux-leather black pumps from Kinney Shoes that I got when I was 11. I loved them so much that when I outgrew that pair, I simply went to Kinney and bought the exact same pair again.

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Let Them Eat Cake!

(1) Comments | Posted April 23, 2014 | 11:15 AM

I loved my grandparents. I could call my grandmother at 2:00 a.m. and talk to her about anything, and my grandfather was that old-school advice giver who listened intently then put everything into an absolute right-versus-wrong dictum that you didn't really question. I was incredibly lucky to have them for...

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Choosing Happiness Over Fear, and How One Family Turned Misfortune Into a Mitzvah!

(0) Comments | Posted April 11, 2014 | 11:23 AM

This week I was listening to a podcast of "This American Life," and there was a story about a woman from China, a successful executive secretary, who moved to the U.S. on a fiancée visa to marry a man she'd been corresponding with on the Internet. Sadly, when she arrived,...

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My College Dreams Are Finally Coming True (and I Graduated Two Decades Ago)

(6) Comments | Posted March 23, 2014 | 11:10 PM

Last December, I wrote the article, "Let's Ban Weddings, and While We're at it, Baby Showers, Too" for the Huffington Post, which a couple of million people read and many agreed with. It's time to celebrate female achievements other than getting married and having children.

This weekend,...

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Why in the World Do We Need an International Day of Happiness, Anyway?

(2) Comments | Posted March 18, 2014 | 12:04 PM

On June 28, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly passed Assembly Resolution A/RES/66/281, which states, in part:

The General Assembly, conscious that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal, recognizing also the need for a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development,...
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Hey, Let's Stop Being Idiots, Okay?

(2) Comments | Posted February 28, 2014 | 9:23 AM

This week is a mixed bag for me on the happiness front. On the one hand, I could not be more thrilled that Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer, did the right thing and vetoed the ugliest anti-LGBT bill to date, but knowing that it passed in the first place is still...

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