- Fall 2014
Valerie Biden Owens is one of the first women in the United States to have managed a modern U.S. Senatorial campaign, as well as a Presidential campaign. Mrs. Biden Owens has led every campaign in her brother Joe Biden’s political career, including his seven straight U.S. Senate victories and his run for two Democratic Presidential nominations. She also has been his principal surrogate on the campaign trail. A 2008 New York Times article quotes David Wade, then Mr. Biden's press secretary, as saying Mrs. Biden Owens “is absolutely his political alter-ego and confidante.” Ted Kaufman, a longtime chief of staff to Senator Biden, and now a former U.S. Senator, first met Valerie and Joe during Mr. Biden’s 1972 U.S. Senate campaign. Kaufman said, “There was no infighting, there was no backstabbing, all of those things that bring down campaigns, because everyone knew there was no getting between Val and Joe.” And as Vice President Biden wrote, his trust in his sister is complete. “She has been my best friend my entire life”, Mr. Biden wrote in his autobiography, “Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics.”
When Valerie is not managing or advising the Vice President's campaigns, she serves as Executive Vice President of Joe Slade White and Company, a media consulting firm in the United States. She is a political strategist who works to help create and implement candidates’ messages. In the past election cycle, Joe Slade White and Co. had an 87% winning record for the company’s clients. The Company has earned 37 Pollie Awards (the industry’s equivalent of an Oscar) in the last five years.
Mrs. Biden Owens has served on the National Board of the Women’s Leadership Forum of the Democratic National Committee. As a pioneer, Valerie has trained women on how to engage in and influence the political process. Over the past 15 years, she has also traveled extensively with Women’s Campaign International to teach women in emerging democracies how to organize and develop communication and political skills. In 2011, she conducted two Leadership and Inter-Gender Communications Trainings – one for Afghan Civil Servants from Kabul and Herat and the other for future Afghan diplomats. Both training sessions took place in Italy.
In 2009, she was invited to Liberia to participate as a media trainer and consultant in The International Colloquium on Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security, which was co-convened by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia and President Tarija Halogen of Finland.
Her most recent international training experience includes a 2013 trip to Azerbaijan to work with women leaders in government and the business community. These women are the vanguard of change, and are anxious to catch up with their male colleagues on the specific skills needed to succeed in what is for them a less traditional role outside the home.
Valerie is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences, seminars, and civic and political organizations, as well as a participant on political panels, and radio talk shows. She has spoken on many college campuses including: University of Pennsylvania, University of North Carolina, University of Delaware, Grinnell, Duke, Drake, University of Kentucky, Rutgers, and the Irish-American University in Dublin, Ireland. She is also a certified trainer in body language: non-verbal communication skills.
Valerie has served for over 30 years on the board of The Ministry of Caring, an ecumenical organization in her community dedicated to serving poor, homeless, and disadvantaged people. In the fall of 2010, she was honored with their highest award for her dedication and service.
She is a graduate of the University of Delaware, and is married to Jack Owens, an attorney and businessman. They have three children.