She was a 4th-grade teacher. She helped develop the 150th celebration of the Mormon trail. She was even a Maroon 5 member’s date at the Grammys.
Now part of the Public Relations staff at BYU, Shauna Valentine knows how to enjoy life’s opportunities and create a successful career.
Growing up, Shauna knew she wanted to be a mother and a teacher. She works at the BYU McKay School of Education as the PR/Alumni director. She is the mother of five successful children and grandmother of 13.
Shauna was not a typical stay-at-home mom, spending her time lobbying to keep casinos out of Nebraska. After raising her children and being an active volunteer in schools, church and the community in Nebraska for 28 years, Shauna moved back to her home state of Utah in 2004.
Eleven years later, Shauna received the BYU Presidential Service Award and is sharing an Addy Award with her colleagues for the McKay Today magazine. Todd Hollingshead, Shauna’s colleague and BYU media relations manager for University Communications, said Shauna is a great person to work with. “She is deserving and there is not a better person for the award,” Hollingshead said.
Her job at the McKay School of Education started with large amounts of research and a new mentoring program. Her children were grown and graduated from college. She had experience in mentoring and relationship building, so it only made sense that she would be involved in helping children in the community.
For 10 years, Shauna mentored a young boy, Ben, who was part of the mentoring program. Once he got to high school, Ben started working at Jiffy Lube. She would stop by the shop to make sure Ben was still on track to graduate from high school.
“He was really into cars so we would work on his cars together sometimes,” Valentine said. She helped him improve his reading, helped him set goals and made sure he was engaged in activities. She was a friend.
Ben graduated from high school and Shauna’s dedication paid off. The program became the Nebo Legacy mentoring program and continues to help children with academic guidance by pairing them with volunteer adult mentors.
But mentoring was not new to Shauna. In Nebraska, she had already gotten her hands on a new mentoring program: TeamMates, a volunteer-based mentoring program initially founded by famous Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne.
Shauna, who became the coordinator of the Lincoln’s TeamMates program, helped identify elementary children who were “kind of falling between the cracks and needed somebody to help them see that there is a different way to approach life,” she said.
Raising five children, being a devoted wife and helping children in the community would be enough for most. But Shauna did not stop there.
Between after-class art lessons, the Mayor’s Roundtable, the family services board, the county election commission and various church callings, Shauna stayed involved in her children’s schooling and activities.
“She was the PTA president at the elementary and middle schools attended by our kids. She organized nine (yes, nine) post-prom parties at our kid’s high school,” said Robert Valentine, her husband of 49 years.
Shauna said her children were often involved in her projects. She shared her talent, enthusiasm and creativity with them. Today her children are living successful lives and continue to express their parents’ positive influence in their lives.
Her oldest son, Christopher, is a physician. Her oldest daughter, Lisa, is an actress and producer of the movie “Once I Was a Beehive” and author of “Real Moms: Making it up as we go” among other exploits. Gina, the next daughter in line, is a devoted mother of four, involved in school boards and always ready to go on outdoors adventures.
Her son James is a tennis enthusiast and lead guitarist in the pop rock band, Maroon 5. The youngest, Amanda, was a finalist in the show “Project Runway.” Amanda is a recognized designer operating out of Nashville.
Shauna said she is glad her children keep working hard. “I think brothers and sisters keep each other balanced and down-to-earth.”
Shauna was James’ first date at the Grammys, and she said she’s met many celebrities. “It has been fun. I have to go to my granddaughter’s performances and then I get to go to James’ performances in the Maroon 5,” she said, laughing.
Her husband said the kids are all successful in life because of the tender care Shauna gave them as a mother.
But Shauna had her own moment of glory back in the day. Former beauty queen, Shauna was elected Miss Orem in 1966. Customers at the Denny’s in Orem can take a peek into the past and see a young Shauna sitting in an apple tree in an Orem Orchard, framed as a reminder.
But Shauna has never been afraid to get her hands on hard work. In 1997, Shauna was involved in planning the 150th celebration of the LDS pioneer arrival in Salt Lake City. With wagon trains, handcarts, hats, suspenders and long dresses, the re-enactment of the crossing of the pioneers took hundreds of volunteers on a trek across Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming and Utah.
Shauna said the event attracted people of all faiths and culture and that it was “a crazy time.” LDS General Authorities would fly in and she would pick them up from the airport and drive them to the front of the parade.
After the celebration, Shauna spent the next nine years working with the park services to put marker signs along the Nebraska trail to highlight events of the pioneer’s journey.
Her work continued when, as part of the education committee of Nebraska, she created a history packet about the Mormon trail to be distributed in all public schools in the state. All fourth graders in Nebraska learned about the Mormon trail that year.
“It went to public schools,” she said.” But I got calls from Catholic schools saying they were confused they didn’t receive their packets, so we sent them packets,” she said.
Shauna feels “very fortunate” she could stay at home during all these volunteer experiences. People have asked her why she stayed home and told her she was wasting her college degree staying at home. But to Shauna, “learning never ends” and each of her experiences in the home and in volunteerism took her on the next adventure.
Volunteering turned out to be “like earning a second degree,” she said. “I have done lots of things. I was just not paid for it, but money has never been important to me.”
When people talk about Shauna, they talk about her kindness, determination and creativity. Shauna has this “great energy about her” and she knows how to “raise people up,” Todd said.