Valerie Meraz is a Bay Area native who moved to Los Angeles for college. Although she loves visiting her family and friends in Northern California, Southern California is where she made her home with her husband and 3 children. Valerie holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from UCLA and a master’s degree in motion picture production from the Peter Stark Producing Program at USC. Before joining Benchmark, Valerie was the Vice President of North American Creator Partnerships at Twitch, a user-generated content service where millions of people come together live every day to chat, interact, and make their own entertainment. While at Twitch, Valerie and her team produced live creator/influencer events in Los Angeles, Austin, and San Diego, some of which took place at TwitchCon, a conference with attendance reaching into the tens of thousands. Prior to joining Twitch, Valerie led organic content strategy for the partnerships team at Instagram. In addition to her work with influencers, Valerie also oversaw a creator activation budget for the content partnerships team at Instagram, and in that capacity, she strategized with marketing and culture & community teams to devise large-scale events for creator education and entertainment. One of her most treasured memories is envisioning Meta’s first-ever Black Creator Day event and helping bring it to life. Prior to joining Instagram, Valerie spent many years as an acquisitions executive at both Showtime Networks Inc. and Turner Networks, buying film and TV content. She also planned events for employee resource groups and collaborated with external film festivals and industry organizations.