Jayhawk Career Network

Mentor Spotlight: Valerie White
We’re highlighting Jayhawks who serve as mentors to fellow alumni and students to celebrate National Mentoring Month.

Connect with Valerie on KU Mentoring+.

Valerie White is the Director of Community Advancement and Development at the Kansas Food Bank. Originally from Arkansas City, Kansas, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sport management in 2013 and now lives in Wichita, Kansas.

What do you do at your job? And how did you end up in your current career?

I engage donors to deepen their connection to the Kansas Food Bank and its mission to serve children, families and seniors experiencing food insecurity across 85 Kansas counties. After leaving the sports industry, I worked in medical development and earned my MBA in Health Care Administration. During my education, I grew passionate about social determinants of health and disparities in health outcomes. Nutrition and access to food plays a huge role in how healthy one can be.

Who is a mentor for you, and how did they help you?

If I had to highlight one mentor, it would be Paul Buskirk, g’88, who supervises the Student Athlete Support Services unit at Kansas Athletics. Mr. Buskirk taught me how to engage with executives to communicate through listening and learning.

What advice do you have for current college students or young alumni?

Know what you want. Plans usually never go 100% your way, but if you have a plan, people know how they can help you. Most people will help if they know how they can.

What is your favorite KU memory?

This is a hard one. There were so many! My favorite memory is working as a camp coach for Bill Self camps in the summer. The campers are excited to be there, and all of the coaching staff went the extra mile to make the camps enjoyable for the camp coaches.

Need a mentor? Want to serve as a mentor? KU Mentoring+ is open to students, alumni, faculty and staff, and friends of the University of Kansas. Professionals who are looking for opportunities to connect with KU and provide assistance to Jayhawks are also welcome. Learn more about KU Mentoring+.

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