Val Porter Cook is a social entrepreneur, leadership coach, and published writer. She is the President and CEO of Blaze: Leadership for Trailblazers, a coaching and strategy firm that provides transformational leadership development for people who serve other people. She specifically focuses on preparing leaders who are bringing about dramatic change in their community and in their world, helping them cultivate the self-awareness and decision-making skills needed to lead and inspire.
For more than twenty years, Val has dedicated her career to strengthening people and organizations that do good in the world. For two years she led the Domestic Strategy and Innovation Division for Foundation Center, beginning her work there as director of the Atlanta office and taking on an additional assignment as Interim Director of Education. Her career started at the Woodruff Arts Center and later led to an appointment as Deputy Director of the Fulton County Arts Council, one of the largest local arts agencies in the country. She has served on the Board of Directors for the National Council of Nonprofits, Atlanta’s Center for Civic Innovation, and Art Papers Magazine-a leading publication on arts criticism; she also worked on advisory boards and committees for Spelman Museum, TechBridge, Independent Sector, Americans for the Arts, and Prevent Child Abuse Georgia.
Val earned a Bachelor of Science degree in management from Georgia Tech, a Master of Science degree in marketing from Georgia State University and a post graduate certificate in governance innovation from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She is a 2003 fellow of Coca Cola’s Diversity Leadership Academy, a 2014 recipient of the Leadership Character Award from the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership and the Turknett Leadership Group, and one of the top 25 Philanthropy Speakers in 2017 by The Business of Giving. Val is a certified coach through the Coaches Training Institute, having coached more than 500 hours with social sector professionals.
A proud military wife, Val lives in Smyrna, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta) with her husband, Columbus, and her daughters, Kennedy and Summer.