Team Captain

J. Scott DiValerio, ’85 BACC, Accounting

Monday, June 26, 2017TOPICS: AlumniSpotlights

Crouched in a racing shell with seven crewmates, J. Scott Di Valerio didn’t realize how much rowing would teach him. In his first days on USD campus, the 6’4” freshman was recruited to row crew for the school’s team. The commitment meant long hours of practice and demanded discipline and time management. Rowing also introduced Di Valerio to a concept that would guide his future success at Fortune 100 companies: Teamwork.

After graduating in 1985 with a degree in accounting, Di Valerio landed a job at Pricewaterhousecooper in San Diego. There, he learned how to audit much more than numbers. “My mentor, Vince Benstead, told me to find something I liked and invest my time in giving back to the community,” he says. “I’ve held on to that advice as I’ve moved through my career.”

All the right moves.

After 15 years at Pricewaterhousecooper, Di Valerio served as CFO for Mindwave, a software startup, and then landed at The Walt Disney Company as vice-president corporate controllership. While there, he helped consolidate Disney from five business units into one platform across the company. “It was fun to be able to work there at that time,” he says. “It was a bold plan and playing part of the execution was exciting.”

Where do you go after an incredible ride at Disneyland? Di Valerio headed up Microsoft’s growing Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) division, helmed Lenovo’s American interests and led retail kiosk king Outerwall as CEO. Currently, he serves as chief financial officer of the e-couponing site, RetailMeNot. But despite this impressive career path, he is quick to point out that he didn’t accomplish these feats on his own.

“My wife has been a fantastic partner throughout it all,” he says. “And I’ve been able to build great teams that have worked with us in different businesses. It hasn’t been a straight career path or one that I planned, but it’s been a lot of fun.”

Looking back, that path began when Di Valerio stepped onto USD campus. Although he credits his accounting and auditing professors for providing a strong foundation in accountancy, a class outside his major made a life-long impression. “I learned a lot from the biomedical ethics class I took during my freshman year,” he says. “We were taught to think on both sides of issues and that helped frame up how you have to deal in the business world.”

Strategy for success.

Along the way, Di Valerio also maintained the practice of giving back that was instilled in him by his first mentor. For years, he’s been a member of the board of trustees for Childhaven, a nonprofit that serves abused, neglected and at-risk children in Seattle, and serves on the advisory council for the Wounded Warrior Project.

At each company, he’s organized activities to provide his employees the opportunity to give back too. “When we have team meetings off-site, we’ll spend a day in the community,” he says. “It’s becomes a team-building activity.”

In 2012, he received the Author E. Hughes Award for Career Achievement and was named to USD’s School of Business Board of Advisors. In that role, Di Valerio used his leadership abilities and business know-how to help form a strategic plan for the Business School. At the same time, he gave back to the school that gave him so much in his formative years by mentoring the next generation of business leaders.

Today his role at RetailMeNot keeps him busy in the company’s Austin headquarters, but mentoring students and young employees is still a priority. It’s all part of giving back. His advice? “The way to be a leader is by being a great team player,” he says. “If you make the team successful, you will be successful.”


Amy Schmitz
(619) 260-4658