top of page

About Me


There is nothing better than helping a young adult learn to articulate who they are and what makes them unique – and then to watch them begin to BELIEVE it! Seeing that growth and watching it “spill over” into the crafting of personal statements and supplemental essays for college admission is very gratifying. To hear the voices and see the faces of my students when they tell me, “The interview went great!” is an experience that makes all of the hard work worthwhile.


I believe the ability to introduce yourself, articulate your thoughts clearly and concisely, and have strong and engaging conversation is the ultimate game changer both personally and professionally. Empowering young people to do this really is my passion, and students feel that when we work together. They know I can see greatness within them, and they trust me to help them bring it all to the surface in a way that empowers them to be their very Best U. 

val2 headshotzoom.jpg


My interest in the interview process began during my senior year at Jacksonville University, when, as outgoing president of my sorority, I helped interview candidates for officer positions. I was subsequently invited by the university to interview high school seniors applying for JU scholarships. It was here that I was first exposed to the good, the bad and the ugly in terms of interview performance.


Following my graduation, I was selected as one of four National Traveling Chapter Consultants for Alpha Delta Pi and traveled full time for a year. Working in 13 states at 50 universities, I helped train officers, shared resources with advisors, met with university officials and helped local chapters in the areas of recruitment, finance, membership education, ritual, philanthropy, scholarship and risk management. I learned how to assess people’s needs quickly, leverage their strengths, and coach and encourage them – all skills that would serve me well when I later joined Merck & Co. (a multinational pharmaceutical firm).  As an Executive Professional Representative with Merck, I assisted in interviewing candidates, and mentoring new representatives on everything from environment assessment, establishing rapport, and the intricacies of word selection to the importance of body language.

In August of 2014, I was able to step away from the corporate structure and do what I’d really been training for my whole life: help young people put their best foot forward. As part of Murtaugh College Consulting, I’ve been able to work with students locally, regionally, nationally and internationally as they prepared for some of the most important conversations of their lives. I have helped successfully prepare students for:
•    Scholarship applications and interviews
•    Undergraduate admission interviews (Alumni and Admissions Officers, both live and recorded)
•    Phone, video, and face-to-face interviews
•    Pre- and Post-Grad Internship interviews
•    Post-graduate admissions interviews – Masters, Law and Medical


Work-life balance is important to me.  I am blessed to call Rick Bynum my husband for over 27 years.  We have three children who are the joy of our lives.  Our house is also filled with 1 cat, 2 dogs, a couple of fish, lots of laughter and the smell of coffee and bacon.  Singing in my church choir and serving in many organizations over the years has brought me great fulfillment in being able to give back to our community.  I was recently honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from National PTA for my work as Co-President of the PTSA at our children’s high school.  I am a firm believer in volunteering and in using your gifts to make a difference. 

bottom of page