Perspectives: John-Oliver Valentin ‘16

July 24, 2020

Perspectives session serve as a mechanism to build bridges between our current undergraduates in the Department of Communication and your young alumni who have blazed new trails in the professional world and are seeing success in their early- to mid-career endeavors. We invite all current students, faculty, and staff to attend our virtual sessions. If you would like to be involved or learn more, please contact

John-Oliver Valentin

John-Oliver Valentin is a 2016 graduate from Sacramento, California. After finding a home in Clemson, he moved to New York City to live out his dream of residing in the city and working in the entertainment industry where he currently serves as a booker for the Tamron Hall Show. Valentin began his Clemson career as a marketing student who was unsure what career path he would take until he learned about entertainment marketing. Learning about this new sector of marketing opened Valentin’s eyes to the idea that one could have a career, earn money, and have fun on the job.

The key turning point for Valentin in his undergraduate career occurred during his broadcast journalism class with Wanda Johnson. Johnson told him “if you do not do something in this industry it will be a waste of talent.” From that point on, Valentin worked with various professors, notably Eddie Smith and Dr. Lori Pindar, and local commentators to put himself in the best situation to break into the industry.

Valentin’s first internship was with the WFBC radio Hawk and Tom Morning Show. Instead of living the life of a typical college student with time spent between the library and downtown, Valentin spent all of his free time working at WFBC. His dedication to the radio show was worth it to Valentin because he was able to make connections to industry professionals and was later promoted to promotion director at WFBC..

Valentin continued to network and used his connections and past experiences to earn a summer internship at US Weekly in New York City the summer before his senior year. After returning to Clemson, Valentin got in contact with Debra Norville, a friend of Eddie Smith and the host of Inside Edition. After speaking with her, he was offered an internship in January of 2016 and promptly left Clemson to finish out his semester in New York. By May of that year, Valentin became the first intern to be offered a full-time booker position. Later, a former coworker reached out to Valentin to offer him booker position for the Tamron Hall Show that he currently holds today.

Valentin stressed that to be successful in the entertainment industry one needs a passion for the business because it will lead them to work harder. He also suggests that students use this time to figure out their work style and how to adapt to best fit to those at the organization they are working for and hope to work for—because when the work styles are compatible, you become invaluable. Further, Valentin stresses that there is no direct path and “if you can’t get through the front door, throw a rock and take a new path.” Nevertheless, a crucial step that is necessary in all paths is building a network. To do so, Valentin suggests simply walking up to someone, get their card and say, “let’s keep in touch.”. He also suggests reaching out to professionals in the business one is interested in and ask them what they like about it and then what positions are available at the company.

John-Oliver created a way for himself in the entertainment world through tenacity, listening and believing in himself the way his professors, advisors, and employers did, and despite being a minor in Communication, using all his resources to build a career for himself while a student. For current and prospective students, we encourage you to work with your advisor to share your interests and gain insights that will help you also find a way to make your dreams a reality.

John-Oliver Valentin Perspective Video:

Author and Producer: Bridget Kane


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