My own mom is my best friend – the person I call when something good happens, when something bad happens and definitely the one I call when I need advice. She taught me from a young age that kindness matters. To stand up for myself – and the little guy. She taught me that loyalty counts. And not to save that amazing dress you splurged on … to wear it the first chance you get. She also taught me that nothing in life is permanent. If you’re miserable, you can always change your circumstances. Knowing that has always given me the freedom to relax, to give things a chance and to take risks at every turn. She also taught me that laughter always feels good – even when you’re laughing at yourself. It seems moms are just good at giving great advice. So with Mother’s Day quickly approaching, we asked a few Charlotteans for the best advice that they ever got from Mom. Happy Mother’s Day!

12 Locals Share Their Moms’ Best Advice

“Learn how to do things for yourself. Remember your roots. See the good and beauty in people who others overlook. Work hard for things you care about. Don’t be intimidated by bullies. Don’t mistreat books. It is not wise to date men who set their arms on fire (this last piece of advice occurred after a lunch with the two of us and a disaster-prone college boyfriend no one liked).”

– Kimmery Martin, ER doctor and author of Queen of Hearts

“My mom (and dad, for that matter) taught me and my sister by example, not words alone. She always demonstrated a commitment to her family, friends and community and instilled in us a sense of obligation to serve. To this day, she is more proud of us for what we do for others than what we do for ourselves, and the giving spirit she imparted in me is what led me to run for office.”

– Larken Egleston, Charlotte City Council Member

Larken Egleston, Charlotte City Council Member, and his mother, Amy

“The best advice my mom ever gave me was that ‘no matter how successful you are – you are still who you were before you were successful.'”

– Dr. Clayton Wilcox, Superintendent of CMS Schools 

Dr. Clayton Wilcox, Superintendent of CMS Schools (right), and his mother, Anita Wilcox

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“The best advice my mom ever gave me was that whenever I found myself in a room full of strangers, to find someone else who doesn’t seem to know anyone and go introduce myself. I was a shy kid growing up, and the first time I forced myself to really take this advice was my first day of high school. I hardly knew anyone in my homeroom (I had a class of over 950 kids), so despite my nervousness I turned to the strangers around me, said hello and introduced myself, quickly realizing that A) it didn’t kill me, B) it got easier every time, and C) it was usually much appreciated by those I initiated a conversation with. And similar to my mom, now I won’t stop talking!”

– Amy Jacobs, Executive Director of SHARE Charlotte 

Amy Jacobs, Executive Director of SHARE Charlotte, with her mother, Lucy Principe

“The best style advice my mother ever gave me was, ‘You never know until you try it on!’ She would say it all the time when we would go back-to-school shopping, and I’d sulk going into the dressing room, only to find that the outfit she picked was actually cute. I now find myself saying it to clients during styling sessions. It’s too funny!”

– Stacee Michelle, Wardrobe stylist/fashion insider

Stacee Michelle, wardrobe stylist and fashion insider, with her mother, Sandra

“The best advice my mom ever gave me was to follow my interests and trust my instincts. Throughout my childhood, whenever I wanted to try out a new creative discipline – be it music, art, theater, writing or even breakdancing (ha!) – she encouraged me to audition, take lessons, join groups, attend camps, put on shows and start bands. That why not?, go-for-it philosophy is something that endured into adulthood for me, and I’m deeply grateful for it.

– Matt Olin, writer/speaker/creativity consultant for organizations & events

Matt Olin, writer/speaker/creativity consultant for organizations and events, with his mother, Sally Olin

“Never assume. Always ask. Always park so you can get out quickly. A dab of Vaseline on your teeth helps you smile for pictures. Clean up as you go along. And some Italian mom words of wisdom: Don’t trust a person who doesn’t eat pasta. Never add pasta until your water is boiling, and save some pasta water for the sauce. Good olive oil is worth the splurge.”

– Wendy Bilas, artist 

Artist Wendy Bilas with her mother, Barbara Montana Johnson

“The best advice my mom has given to me is to listen to others, treat everyone with respect, and be true to yourself. She taught me that everyone has a story, and whether someone has reached the top or they’re still finding their way, you can still learn and grow from their experiences if you take a minute to sit back and listen. In a world that’s always demanding more from you, be true to yourself and remember that you have the ability to write your own story.”

– Kelsey Riggs, NBC Charlotte sports anchor

Kelsey Riggs, NBC Charlotte sports anchor, with her mom, Pam Riggs

“My mom was a force to be reckoned with in the real estate industry. She projected so much confidence and never backed down when she knew she was right. She used to always say, ‘Don’t let anything stand in the way of going after what you want, especially second-guessing yourself.’  That, and ‘Life is short, go ahead and order a dessert!'”

– Carrie Hanson, Executive Director of Girls on the Run

Carrie Hanson, Executive Director of Girls on the Run, with her mother, Sherri Richwine

“The best advice my mother ever gave me was to trust my heart. Whenever I am struggling with a decision, she’ll ask me what my gut is telling me and advise me to listen to that quiet voice inside my head. It’s advice that I continue to use almost every day.”

– Jo Cowan, franchise owner, Blo Blow Dry Bar

Jo Cowan, franchise owner of Blo Blow Dry Bar with her mom

“My mom and I are very close. She’s a straight shooter, very deep and kind, and I respect her so much. She is also the most creative and talented person I know. The piece of advice I would say has stuck with me the most is to ‘Follow your heart, but stick to your guns.'”

– Alyssa Wilen, chef and owner Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen

Alyssa Wilen, chef and wwner of Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen, with her mom, Janet Gorelick

“My mom taught me to be brave and take risks – and life is what you make of it. I learned from her how to live fearlessly and learn as much as I can from having as many new experiences as I can. When I told her I wanted to backpack around the world for a year, she said, ‘I support you going anywhere as long as I can come visit you!’ We spent Christmas that year hiking waterfalls in Argentina together … I learned from my mom how to make life one big adventure.”

– Meggie Williams, CEO and co-founder of The Waggle Company

Meggie Williams, CEO and co-founder of The Waggle Company, with her mom Gwen Staffiera

We wish everyone a very happy Mother’s Day!


Guess what? We launched a brand-new podcast called “Southern Voices.” Take a listen to our very first episode, which, in honor of Mother’s Day, is all about motherhood. Click here!