Each year we like to recast a spotlight on the amazing Southern women we’ve featured in our FACES series throughout the year. We gather and repeat the best advice they treasure and graciously shared with us. So, just in time for the launch of a new year, we’ve compiled all of their advice, and we hope to glean some inspiration and insight to carry with you through another beautiful year. Here’s to an amazing 2019!

What’s your best advice?

Chef Sara Bradley: “Put your head down and work harder than anyone else. Be proud of your ideas and heritage. And use two hands. You will go twice as fast.” Image: Innovations Branding House

Jessica N Turner: “I don’t know who said it, but I once heard, if it isn’t a hell yes, it is a no. That is my litmus test for everything. Is this something I really want to do? If not, then I politely decline. I’ve learned that you never regret a no, but you might regret a yes, so I give those yeses out sparingly.” Image: Molly Peach Photography 

Sarah Hays Coomer: “My mom always used to say, ‘Slow and steady wins the race,’ which is an Aesop’s Fable. I find that to be true in writing, in fitness, in politics and in relationships. It applies across the board.” Image: Molly Peach Photography

Shreya Mantha, 2018 Women of Worth Honoree: FACES of Charlotte

Shreya Mantha: “We can all make an impact, and no one is ever too young to start making a difference in their community. To make a change, get to know your community and its needs, begin now and begin small. Think of long-term impact. You have the power to make an impact if you put your mind to it and make a consistent effort.” Image: Nilaya Sabnis on behalf of L’Oréal Paris

Christin Gish and Laura Nell Burton: L: “As far as jumping into a business, you just have to jump in. There are some things that you cannot know, jumping in, that if you did know, would cause you to never do it. You just figure it out as you go along, and the challenges make you stronger. When you’re in the middle of something hard you think, How am I ever going to get through this? But then you look back, and you’re so glad it happened because you’re so tough as a result.” C: “Some advice that was given to me very early on was to surround yourself with good people who just elaborate on the strengths that you don’t have. Find a good accountant. Find a good attorney. Find a good friend. Find someone who you can ask a lot of these questions that you don’t know. If you have the right people in place, I think you will succeed.” Image: Jessica Giesey

The Home Edit’s Joanna Teplin + Clea Shearer: J: “‘Don’t focus on the problem, focus on the solution.’ This was the advice that my (very entrepreneurial) grandfather always reminded all of his kids and grandkids.” 
C: “‘Never take the first room the hotel gives you.’ — my mother.” Image: Ashley Hylbert

Melissa Cookston: “Always strive for perfection. If you don’t, you’ll never be great, because mediocrity is not OK.” Image: Mary Kate Steele

Frances Lacefield: “Do you! I think it is important to stay true to yourself and follow your instincts. Don’t be afraid of failure. I believe in the saying, ‘You never know if you don’t try.’ I have learned that the way you handle failure is what leads to the path of success. Always be kind and respect others. Life is all about relationships.” Image: CatMax Photography

Donna Hopkins: “A friend of mine told me something like ‘We only get to live this life one time, and we can’t go back and change anything about what has happened. We can only move forward.’ So I think the best advice I’ve heard from somebody is don’t waste time because you only have one life to live. And I believe that totally, and I don’t want people to go through what I’ve gone through to realize that. I was already doing that, but now I’m really digging into living everyday as if it will be my last day.”

Laurie Hickson Smith: “There is a quote by one of my favorite authors, Barbara Brown Taylor, that states, ‘The only real difference between anxiety and excitement is our willingness to let go of fear.’ In my life, I find it is fear that has usually created the most unnecessary stumbles and heartaches. My best piece of advice to eliminate fear is to trust God, for each and every one of us is created for great purpose!” Image: Mary Kate Steele

Stephanie Wright: “My father once told me to never be jealous. It stuck with me and taught me to try my best to be happy for other people, even when I wanted what they had, and it taught me to go out and get what I wanted. Of course, jealousy is impossible to avoid, but his advice stuck in my head and helped push me.” Image: CatMax Photography

Mayor Vi Lyles is our newest FACES of the South.

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles: “Be fearless.”

Get to know even more amazing Southern women in our FACES archives. Click HERE!