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valerie clark changes direction after accident
executive spotlight: the ceo of tigress entertainment llc left wall street for atlanta to write and help promote artists.
by jim lovel, staff writer
the atlanta business chronicle



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valerie clark walked away from wall street after 15 years of working for some of the nation's largest investment and banking firms and moved to atlanta to pursue her dream of writing and helping artists promote their work.

"i was looking for a life change and to live my dream," clark said. "i had a great run on wall street and a fantastic experience, but i don't regret leaving."

clark left new york for atlanta in march 1999 with her husband larry howard jr., a financial analyst who was transferred here to manage the southeastern office of zurich north america, a division of the zurich financial services group, an insurance-based financial services company based in zurich, switzerland.

clark opened tigress entertainment llc in 2001. she is president and ceo of the entertainment marketing company, which is based in alpharetta, has an office in new york and employs between five and 12 people depending on the workload. the agency helps writers, artists and musicians get exposure for their work and helps them manage their careers, clark said. it provides advertising, arranges speaking tours, schedules book signings and interviews and designs web sites.

clark adds one new client each quarter and specializes in new artists who have an inspirational message to relate, she said.

"it's extraordinarily gratifying," clark said.

last june, clark published "tormented without a trace," a novel about a woman working on wall street who confronts painful incidents in her past and discovers what is important in her life. currently, clark is writing a screenplay adaptation and has been cast to portray the book's main character. clark also wrote the title song for the film.

she based the book on personal experiences and observations, she said.

"i wrote the novel because i wanted to address the issues of sexual harassment and abuse that i saw women enduring during my tenure on wall street," she said. "i wanted to produce a self-help book for those abused women in the form of an entertaining novel."

clark has been nominated for georgia author of the year, which will be named in june, and the book has been nominated for several national awards. clark recently finished a sequel to the book that is scheduled to be published by the end of this year.

the new york native made the decision to abandon wall street after an automobile accident. clark said her car was struck in manhattan on dec. 22, 19979, while passing through an intersection by a car that failed to stop at a red light. the accident caused internal injuries that still cause her pain, she said.

"that was the wake-up call," she said. "i got very clear on what is important in life and realized that it's not all about chasing the almighty dollar. it's about giving back."

she began writing during her recuperation and rediscovered a childhood passion for it, she said. she decided to combine that passion with her newly found passion for helping others, she said.

some of her current projects include a series of self-help books similar to the "chicken soup for the soul" series, she said. the first in the series, "the turnaround mom" by carey sipp, is scheduled for release may 9. the book documents the struggle of a woman who grew up with an abusive, alcoholic father and her efforts to avoid becoming like him. other books in the series will share the turnaround theme, clark said.

clark is a graduate of fordham university in new york, where she received her bachelor's degree in business and french in 1986. she also has completed graduate work at the goizueta business school at emory university and an internship at the united nations.

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