Living LegendsPresident and CEOV&J Holding Companies | MilwaukeeValerie Daniels-Carter and her brother, John Daniels Jr., launched Milwaukee-based V&J Foods with a single Burger King restaurant in 1982. Daniels-Carter went on to grow the company into V&J Holding Companies Inc., the largest female-owned restaurant franchise organization – and one of the largest restaurant franchise companies – in the U.S. Within 16 years, Daniels-Carter grew the company into a 137-unit, multi-brand operation. Daniels-Carter joined the Green Bay Packers board in 2011, and in 2014, she was among a small group of business leaders to purchase a minority stake in the Milwaukee Bucks. Her civic and corporate board service is extensive. She served as the chair of the AAA board of directors from 2017-19.
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Lincoln University; MBA and Doctorate of Humane Letter, Cardinal Stritch University.
First job: “Walking children to school when I was 6 years old. I learned early on that I had an entrepreneurial spirit.”
What piece of advice has had the most significant impact on your career? "Maintain a high level of integrity and respect other's values and opinions."
If you could have dinner with any two business leaders, who would you choose and why? “Steve Jobs and Ervin ‘Magic’ Johnson. To learn of their business acumen and their abilities to use untraditional methods to successfully reach their objectives.”
What are some of your favorite destinations/places to visit? "Dubai and Kenya."
What is one book you think everyone should read and why? "'Your Business is His Business' - written by Valerie Daniels-Carter - It's where destiny takes you."
What’s your hobby/passion? "Love sports."
Favorite restaurant and dish: “Five O’Clock Steakhouse, prime rib.”
What would people be surprised to learn about you (fun fact)? "That I am shy by nature."
What was your first car? "Pontiac Ventura."
If you could take a one-year sabbatical, what would you do? "Mission work."
What’s the toughest business challenge you’ve had to overcome? "Instilling value of vision into others."
What advice would you give to a young professional? "My company moto 'YATSE.' You Are the Standard of Excellence."
What has been your/your company’s most significant success over the last 12 months? "Maintaining and to continue to manage during this usual economic environment."
What is one thing you would change about Wisconsin to make it even better? "To embrace diversity of others and the uniqueness of people."
As you enter your office, what would you choose to be your walk-up or theme song? "'I Live in My Destiny' - written by Valerie Daniels-Carter. It's empowering the listener."
Nonprofit cause that has special meaning to you: “Institute for the Preservation of African American Music and Arts. The mission of IPAMA is to accurately present a holistic account of African American contributions to society while empowering communities through cultural and educational awareness. (And) Kenya East Africa First Jurisdiction Church of God in Christ (COGIC) Department of Women - supporting the communities in Kenya by launching three significant programs: orphanage development and enchantments, medical assistance and sustainability empowerment for ministries and women."
What’s at the top of your bucket list? "Accessing enough capital for 10,000 emerging leaders/entrepreneurs into business."
What has you most excited about the future? "The ability to transition lives and empower employees."