I would unreservedly recommend Valerie Biden Owens as an outstanding speaker to students, political audiences and corporations on the role and importance of politics, political campaigns, developing confidence building skills, and women’s leadership and advocacy issues.”
In addition to traveling with WCI worldwide, she is a regular, distinguished lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, where much of WCI’s information is incorporated into a graduate course. Valerie’s ability to communicate WCI’s empowerment message is exceptional.”
“In my senior year at Harvard, I had the privilege of serving as a liaison for Valerie Biden Owens during her time teaching a course on politics and campaigns at the Harvard Institute of Politics. Valerie is an accomplished leader and an inspiring pioneer for women. Her campaign experience is extraordinary and everyone at the IOP was thrilled to have Valerie serve as a Fellow. But not only is Valerie an impressive leader, she is also an engaging teacher, a captivating public speaker and a dedicated mentor.
Valerie has a unique ability to connect with people of all ages and backgrounds. This was clear to me from the very first session. Valerie draws on her considerable experience and with her keen sense of humor and genuine compassion for others, she is able to teach invaluable lessons and spark a passion for public service.
From the first week to the last, Harvard undergraduates and Kennedy School graduate students filled the room to have the chance to learn from Valerie. Every single session was packed – students sat on the floor and stood in the doorways in order to be a part of her class.
During her time at Harvard, Valerie was asked by many on-campus student organizations to serve as a guest speaker. She was also asked to speak in the community with Boston-area public school students. I felt fortunate to attend one of the sessions with Valerie at a local high school and it was moving to watch her teach. With ease and grace, she was able to engage the initially inattentive students and turn the session into an interactive and motivational experience. By the end of the hour-long session, students came up to Valerie and asked her when she would be able to return.
Over the course of her time at Harvard and in the greater Boston community, students came away with practical skills to apply in campaigns, politics and many other professional pursuits. We also learned from Valerie’s example how to be an impactful educator.
It was an amazing opportunity to learn from Valerie. Of all of the undergraduate co-curricular experiences I have been fortunate to be a part of at Harvard College, this was quite simply the most meaningful to me.”
“I love your mix of rock-and-roll diplomacy and genuineness. You are one of a kind. Thank you for coming to Harvard Kennedy School and opening your heart and mind to us dreamers and idealists.”
- Montero Luque Maria Inmaculada,
Support Policy Specialist & Micro-Economic Analyst,
DC DEVCO EU Commission
- Alessandra Chirico,
- Julie Stamm,
Presidency of the European Council
- Tamara Leigh,
Humanitarian Advocacy & Communications Officer, UN
Click the images below to see Valerie Biden Owens in the news.
Sister of Joe Biden makes case for Obama
TAYLOR VERNARSKY, Staff Writer
LEESBURG — The Midtown Grill encountered a packed house when they opened their doors to serve lunch Sunday afternoon in downtown Leesburg — even though the restaurant is not regularly open on Sundays.
The crowd packed inside the 8,000-square-foot restaurant did not come to order cheeseburgers, fries and salads, even though they could if they wanted to. Instead, Valerie Biden Owens appeared at the Leesburg restaurant speak to local Democrats as part of Sen. Barack Obama’s “Women for the Change We Need” weekend events in Central Florida.
Owens, sister of Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden, traveled throughout Central Florida Saturday and Sunday to talk about the Obama-Biden plan to benefit women and families and make the United States a better place again.
She does not come as an expert on issues facing women and families, such as pay equity, health care and a women’s right to choose, but as a little sister who believes in her older brother and Obama.
“I know my brother and I know he keeps his promises,” Owens said.
She talked about their tough upbringing in Scranton, Pa. and how their mother encouraged them to remain confident and strong despite the obstacles faced.
Owens said the same confidence they got from her and Obama got from his mother and grandmother exists with the campaign to create “a better life possible” in the United States.
“That’s why my brother and Barack (Obama) want to make the lives of Americans a whole lot better,” she said.
Owens has run every campaign for her older brother during his 37-year political career. She was there when Biden wrote the ground-breaking Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in the 1990s that criminalized violence against women and held batterers accountable.
As an activist for women, Owens serves as a volunteer political trainer for Women’s Campaign International, a non-profit organization dedicated to women empowerment in emerging democracies and on the Democratic National Committee Women’s Leadership Forum national board.
Even if Obama and Biden are elected to the White House in November, many Democrats don’t expect a quick fix right away.
“It’s my fondest hope that change does occur eventually,” said Mark Esche, vice president of the Leesburg Area Democratic Club. “But so much damage has taken place in this country, that no quick fix is possible.”
Some of the areas need fixing under the right guidance include rising unemployment, rising gas prices, the sluggish economy and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Roderick Haynes, founder and group facilitator for Leesburg 4 Obama, agreed that these issues, as well as re-establishing the nation’s integrity, need to be repaired.
“It’s not time, it’s overdue,” he said.
But Haynes said it would take two terms of Obama and Biden to repair the damage done — if they are elected in November.
For example, he compared it to someone losing their $50,000 a year job to take a lesser paying job at $25,000. Eventually, the person gets a new $50,000 position but find that they are “still in a hole” to pay off debts.
“No president can fix it right away,” Haynes said.
Still if Obama and Biden are elected, changes would eventually take place under fierce, passionate, responsible and “very smart” leadership.
“It’s not about Barack (Obama), Joe (Biden) or the other candidates,” Owens said. “It’s about you and your family and your hopes and dreams.”
THE SCRANTON TIMES TRIBUNE
Biden’s sister feels at home in Scranton
Valerie Biden Owens and her family left Scranton more than 50 years ago. In her heart, though, The Electric City is still home. “We always called Scranton home,” she said. “It’s part of your blood. Part of your culture. Part of who you are. It’s just indelible.”
Tonight, Mrs. Biden Owens, the sister of Vice President Joe Biden, will be back in her hometown to give the principal address at the Society of Irish Women’s 11th annual St. Patrick’s Day dinner. Mrs. Biden Owens’ mother, Jean Finnegan Biden, also will be honored at the dinner, but will not be able to attend after a fall at her Delaware home this past weekend.
Also slated to speak at the dinner, which will be held at the Radisson at Lackawanna Station hotel, is fellow Scranton native Sarah Geroulo Rutledge, daughter of Judge Vito P. and Elaine Mooney Geroulo. Ms. Rutledge is the co-founder of the professional modern dance company, R-2 Dance, which has studios in New York City and New Jersey.
In addition, the event will feature an appearance by Alice Diver, wife, or “Mayoress,” of Derry, Northern Ireland, Mayor Gerard Diver, who will speak at the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick dinner. And, there will be a tribute to the late Lt. Gov. Katherine Baker Knoll, a frequent dinner attendee.
Society co-founder and resident dinner toastmaster Evie Rafalko McNulty said attendance is expected to exceed the main ballroom’s 500-seat capacity. Guests who can’t fit in the ballroom will watch the proceedings on a monitor from a smaller room, she said.
“It’s a good problem to have,” Mrs. McNulty said. “Everyone wants to be part of the celebration.”
Ideally, the society likes to get a main speaker that’s a woman of Irish heritage who has done well for herself in the world, according to Mrs. McNulty. The fact that Mrs. Biden Owens is all that and a Scranton native is “just a plus,” she said.
“She’s as real as they come,” Mrs. McNulty said. “We call Joe Biden one of our own. And that goes for Valerie, too. We’re proud of her.”
“It’s a thrill. I am absolutely amazed and honored and humbled that I would be speaking” at the dinner, Mrs. Biden Owens said during a phone interview from her Wilmington, Del., office last week. “This really is a big deal.”
She said she’s feeling a bit of pressure to deliver the goods, especially since her brother is such a well known orator, as is the man who gave the main speech at last year’s Society of Irish Women dinner — President Barack Obama, who was then in the middle of a heated Democratic primary battle with Hillary Clinton, whose father, Hugh Rodham, was a native Scrantonian.
Then again, Mrs. Biden Owens said, “I don’t have to talk about legislation,” but rather “the women in Scranton.”
“There will be an emphasis on the men attending this dinner, but it’s about women and our roots and remembering our roots. And celebrating our common heritage. … The spirit of the Irish,” said Mrs. Biden Owens, who will be accompanied to the dinner by her brother, Jimmy.
The Bidens left Scranton for Delaware when Mrs. Biden Owens was in the first grade. However, they came back just about every weekend until she was in college. One of the things she looked forward to the most was hanging out with her Uncle Edward, better known as Boo Boo.
“Every bachelor uncle and aunt has a favorite (kid),” she said. “Uncle Boo Boo, I was his favorite little niece.”
Mrs. Biden Owens has always been extremely close with her famous older brother. In fact, she’s managed every one of his political campaigns except for his bid for the vice presidency, and even then she was along as his top adviser. She said she spent a good part of last year “getting in and out of airplanes.”
“He’s great. He’s wonderful. He’s got his plate full,” Mrs. Biden Owens said when asked how Mr. Biden was faring with his new, high-profile job.
She then mentioned that she’d be seeing him over the weekend at the birthday party of Mr. Biden’s grandson. A few moments later, she began wondering if it was wise to have relayed that information, given the Secret Service frowns on that sort of stuff.
“It’s such a different world. It’s really funny,” she said with a laugh.
Still, at the end of the day, Mr. Biden remains “my brother first, and then vice president,” Mrs. Biden Owens said.
“I’ve always been his best friend,” she said. “He’s the first senator that he and I ever met. We’re Catholic school kids from Scranton, Pa., who’ve had a ride of a lifetime.
“I’m a very lucky woman, because of the opportunities my brother has afforded me.”
THE SCRANTON TIMES TRIBUNE
Biden Owens lauds the courage of women
SARAH HOFIUS HALL
Women are designed as leaders and teachers, and the Irish women in Scranton are true examples, Valerie Biden Owens told a crowd of more than 500 people Tuesday night.
“She who can carry the pulse, the heartbeat of the human race in her belly, can also carry the pulse of the race of the world,” Mrs. Biden Owens, the sister of Vice President Joe Biden, said in her remarks at the Society of Irish Women’s 11th annual St. Patrick’s Day dinner, held at the Radisson at Lackawanna Station hotel.
Mrs. Biden Owens’ remarks were the highlight of the dinner, attended by a record crowd of mostly females, who wore various shades of green.
For the first time, the crowd had to be split into two rooms, with the smaller room receiving a live feed of the ballroom’s events. The dinner also was taped for Mrs. Biden Owens’ mother, Jean Finnegan Biden, who was honored at the dinner and had planned to attend but fell at her Delaware home over the weekend.
Four Biden cousins and Anne Kearns, who owns the home at 2446 N. Washington Ave. where Mrs. Biden Owens lived until she was in the first grade, were among the dinner’s attendees.
Mrs. Biden Owens, who has acted as an adviser and campaign manager to her older brother, is a source of pride for the Irish — and for Scranton, society co-founder and dinner toastmaster Evie Rafalko McNulty said.
“She is Scranton. She is one of us. … We’re proud of your brother, too,” quipped Mrs. McNulty, who kept the crowd laughing throughout the night.
Mrs. Biden Owens spoke of the courage that all people, especially women, must carry.
“In the lives of each one of us, this courage is sometimes fleeting, always vulnerable … and essential to living,” she said. “It’s the duty of every generation that our children and our grandchildren have a chance for a better life.”
The dinner was dedicated to the memory of the late Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll, a frequent attendee.
Also delivering remarks was Scranton native Sarah Geroulo Rutledge, daughter of Judge Vito P. and Elaine Mooney Geroulo. Ms. Rutledge is the co-founder of the professional modern dance company, R-2 Dance, which has studios in New York City and New Jersey, and is also the head of the dance department of the Chapin School in New York City.
Mrs. Rutledge spoke of the dedication of her parents and the importance of inspiring young girls.
“Labeling my job as rewarding is an understatement,” she said.