Tampa Bay Business Women Awards 2023: Valerie Lavin

Valerie Lavin is a retired Army first sergeant and the founder of Luminary Global. The company’s mission is to help citizens, government, first responders and military protect their families and save lives of citizens in their communities, at home and abroad, by ensuring they have access to supplies needed to sustain life.

Lavin is devoted to helping veterans, and their families, start their own businesses. Since retiring in 2014, she has woven herself in the entrepreneurial ecosystems throughout the United States supporting early-stage startups. A partnership with other veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs led to the creation of Action Zone, an organization supporting the military and veteran community in their pursuit to become entrepreneurs.


Women holding leadership positions in a male-dominated military suffer the added obstacle of gender bias. My experience was no different. I served alongside, and led, male-dominated units populated with assertive men who questioned my ability to fight in war and to lead them to battle. I overcame their resistance, and earned their trust, by heightening my physical fitness and mental toughness to match, or exceed, their own. I mastered my analytical skills, trained physically to reach my peak and sharpened my weaponry skills, competing equally against them. My troops knew I was capable of leading them in war, as I had during peacetime, because I met each challenge, just as they did, and we all succeeded together. I also learned to harness my emotions, casting away falsely preconceived notions of female leadership styles and excessive display of emotions. It was equally, critically important that I mentor other military women to learn to be effective leaders, on or off the battlefield. I have carried these skills as I transitioned to the civilian sector, leading by example and lifting other women to be leaders throughout the country. 


Serving my country, in a war zone, and bringing all my soldiers home alive has been my greatest professional accomplishment. Going to war is scary, but not as scary as having someone’s son or daughter in your ranks, hoping you have prepared them to defend, not only our country and each other, but themselves.

You May Also Like
Scenes from TBBW’s Women Who Win panel presented by ISPS (PHOTOS)

Tampa Bay Business and Wealth, in partnership with the Institute of Strategic Policy Solutions, in St. Petersburg, presented a panel discussion with three winners of TBBW‘s 2024 Women Who Win

Read More
Recap: CEO Connect with Fred Lay

Fred Lay is incredibly open and honest about his early experiences. He admits to his mischievous nature. He’s actually just a pretty transparent guy, in general.  He runs his business,

Read More
On the Scene: Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco Counties’ Glow Gala (PHOTOS)

More than 500 attendees gathered to support the Habitat mission at the sold-out Glow Gala, presented by Crown Automotive Charities and the Hawkins Family Foundation.  The event, at the Vinoy

Read More
TBBW presents the finalists for Apogee Awards 2024 (VIDEO)

After a record-breaking 10 hours in the Tampa Bay Business and Wealth office, five external judges selected 45 finalists for the 2024 Apogee Awards, in addition to two exceptional honors

Read More
Other Posts
Scenes from TBBW’s CEO Connect with the McKibbons (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

Tampa Bay Business and Wealth held its June CEO Connect with John McKibbon III and J.B. McKibbon IV, of McKibbon Hospitality, at Hyatt House Tampa Airport/Westshore. Presenting sponsors for the

Read More
South Tampa Chamber recognizes TBBW’s Bridgette Bello as a Champion for Women (PHOTOS)

The South Tampa Chamber presented Bridgette Bello with the inaugural Bridgette Bello Champion for Women Award at an event held at the HCA South Tampa. The South Tampa Chamber’s Bridgette

Read More
Scenes from CEO Connect with Paula Woodring (PHOTOS) (VIDEO)

Tampa Bay Business and Wealth held its May CEO Connect, at J.C. Newman Cigar Company, in Tampa, featuring Paula Woodring, chief executive officer and founder of RELTCO. Presenting sponsors included

Read More
On the Scene: Halos and Handbags event gives back to PACE for Girls (PHOTOS)

Ryann Halo, of Salon Halo, and Gretchen Bauer, of BSWANKY, co-hosted an event at Salon Halo, in South Tampa, to benefit PACE for Girls. Food was provided by Chef Rosana

Read More
TBBW on the scene halos and handbags cropped