Pressure Makes Diamonds: Becoming the Woman I Pretended to Be


Product Details

$15.95  $14.83
Publish Date
5.8 X 8.2 X 0.8 inches | 0.7 pounds

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About the Author

Valerie Graves, whom Advertising Age magazine named one of the 100 Best and Brightest in the entire industry, is a nationally recognized creative director of such Fortune 500 accounts as Ford, General Motors, AT&T, Burger King, General Foods, and Pepsi. A former teenage parent from the factory town of Pontiac, Michigan, Graves broke barriers in advertising as one of the first black copywriters at BBDO, Kenyon & Eckhardt, and JWT. She went on to an award-winning career as chief creative officer at the UniWorld and Vigilante/Leo Burnett agencies, senior vice president of creative services at iconic Motown Records, and creative consultant to President Bill Clinton. In 2007, recognizing Graves's stellar career and public service via the Advertising Council and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, industry coalition ADCOLOR granted her the title of Legend. She resides in New York City.


"Written in a highly polished yet informal style, this book will appeal to readers interested in memoirs of accomplished businesswomen and African American success, as well as those who want a glimpse into the fast-paced world of a top-level ad executive."
--Library Journal

"The road to being as one of the most successful advertising executives in the country was not an easy one for Valerie Graves. As an African-American woman trying to 'be somebody' in the 60's and 70's, she faced criticism and discrimination on the path to success. In her new memoir, Graves shares her stories of struggle but the inspirations and hope that kept her going. Readers will see a new side to the advertising mogul and learn that nothing is impossible."

"Valerie Graves reflects on her prodigious journey from the projects of Michigan to the prestige of New York's upper echelon as a high-powered advertising executive in a historically white and male arena."
--Nia Magazine

"Valerie Graves has written a no-holds-barred account of what it was like to grow up on the wrong side of town in the 1960s, become a teenage mother, and end up being one of the most celebrated copywriters in advertising history. Her book is raw and riveting."
--Nancy Hill, CEO, American Association of Advertising Agencies

"Pressure Makes Diamonds is welcome relief from those who decry America's future. Valerie Graves is a poster woman for achievement despite racism and gender discrimination."
--Allen Rosenshine, Chairman Emeritus, BBDO Worldwide

"Valerie Graves's first book is her story of an African American teenage mother who fights her way into advertising in Detroit in the 1970s. Then in New York she uses her uniqueness to become one of the top ad writers in the world. Enjoy."
--Robert Downey Sr., Writer/Director, Putney Swope

"I never knew what it was like to be black in this industry until I read Valerie Graves's book."
--Peggy Conlon, Former CEO, The Advertising Council

"Pressure Makes Diamonds is an important and timely book that brilliantly details Valerie Graves's pioneering life and transformative career in the historically segregated advertising industry. With world-class creative skills and gritty determination, Graves achieved award-winning mainstream success; opened doors for aspiring minorities; and helped to change how blacks are perceived in the media."
--Byron E. Lewis, Chairman Emeritus, UniWorld Group