Valerie Jencks’ fascination with stories began in her childhood as she listened to her Filipino grandfather recount tales of being treated with honor and respect in his homeland, contrary to the reality of racial inequity he encountered in Chicago at the time. As an Anthropology student at Knox College during the 1980s, she studied stories that defined cultures and transcended time, learning that power and immortality come to those who craft the most charismatic narratives. Her training as a Family Therapist at Northwestern University and The Family Institute of Chicago led her to found Prairie Family Therapy in 1996, a Chicago private practice where Valerie listens to her clients’ powerful stories, helping to rewrite those which no longer serve them well. As a single mother, Valerie has her own stories of challenge and success through which she redefined her life and turned adversity into opportunity and strength.
Valerie is an active member of the storytelling and standup comedy communities in Chicago, including repeat appearances at Zanies, The Second City, The Kates, and The Comedy Shrine, and is a frequently quoted expert by groups such as Fox Business and Huffington Post. She has written two books which are anticipated for release in Summer 2015. A national speaker, in-person, on television and for radio, Valerie combines her unique experiences as student, therapist, comedian and mother as a crowd-pleasing presenter to both community and professional groups across the country.