Each week, we celebrate the women in our community who are following their dreams and making an impact. They educate us, entertain us, astound us and, most of all, inspire us. Look back at the tidbits of wit and wisdom shared by this year’s FACES of Atlanta.

Our 2014 FACES of Atlanta

Our 2014 FACES of Atlanta

Lisa Adler

Lisa Adler of Horizon Theatre Company: " ... I don’t live well within rigid rules, time frames or ways of thinking. I believe in trying to make the world I want to live in."

Lisa Adler of Horizon Theatre Company: ” … I don’t live well within rigid rules, time frames or ways of thinking. I believe in trying to make the world I want to live in.”

Margaret Barnett

Margaret Barnett of What A Life Foundation: "I felt drawn to assist veterans, and it’s been such an honor. My father had been a Marine, and he treasured his service. He also spent a lifetime connecting with our community, and when he died, people from all walks of life paid their respects. As I mourned my father’s passing and thought about what I’d learned from him, the new vision for WAL took shape. Each project I complete honors my father and celebrates the path he laid for me, allowing me to serve in my own way."

Margaret Barnett of What A Life Foundation: “I felt drawn to assist veterans, and it’s been such an honor. My father had been a Marine, and he treasured his service … Each project I complete honors my father and celebrates the path he laid for me, allowing me to serve in my own way.”

Katie Belveal

ADAC's Katie Belveal: "Southern women really do embrace long-standing traditions and foster hospitality. Growing up in Macon, I was fortunate enough to be raised in a decorated home by a mother who enjoyed entertaining and working with a professional decorator. We always used our formal dining room—family dinners, casual gatherings and formal affairs—setting out the good china regularly, not just saving it for special occasions."

ADAC’s Katie Belveal: “Southern women really do embrace long-standing traditions and foster hospitality. Growing up in Macon, I was fortunate enough to be raised in a decorated home by a mother who enjoyed entertaining and working with a professional decorator. We always used our formal dining room — family dinners, casual gatherings and formal affairs — setting out the good china regularly, not just saving it for special occasions.”

Vivian Bencich

Vivian Bencich, co-owner of Square Feet Studio: "As a child I was often rearranging things in the house and some of my happiest memories are of picking fabrics, paint and furniture for my room with my mom. She indulged me in that respect and allowed me to make a lot of decisions. I was an art history major as an undergrad and realized I wanted to be a designer when I took a history of modern architecture course my senior year."

Vivian Bencich, co-owner of Square Feet Studio: “As a child, I was often rearranging things in the house, and some of my happiest memories are of picking fabrics, paint and furniture for my room with my mom. She indulged me in that respect, and allowed me to make a lot of decisions. I was an art history major as an undergrad, and realized I wanted to be a designer when I took a history of modern architecture course my senior year.”

Jennifer Boles

Jennifer Boles: "Southerners have great house pride, and they want their homes to be pleasing and inviting to guests. That’s why Southern homes tend to be filled with gracious touches like fresh flowers, scented candles, copious seating, drink tables within reach of all chairs and beautiful dining rooms."

Jennifer Boles, author and design blogger: “Southerners have great house pride, and they want their homes to be pleasing and inviting to guests. That’s why Southern homes tend to be filled with gracious touches, like fresh flowers, scented candles, copious seating, drink tables within reach of all chairs and beautiful dining rooms.”

Sarah Buchanan

Kula Project Co-Founder, Sarah Buchanan: "I have mentors across many outlets. Some of them I know, and some of them I don’t. One told me, 'Nothing is invented and perfected at the same time.' And while I never had the honor of meeting him, Nelson Mandela is a mentor of mine. In Long Walk to Freedom, he talks about doing every job, every small and simple task as if it is the most important, world-changing thing you could possibly do. I remind myself of this when I am doing all the administrative work that I didn’t realize I was signing up for when I decided to start Kula. Everything you do matters, so do it well.'

Kula Project Co-Founder Sarah Buchanan: “I have mentors across many outlets. Some of them I know, and some of them I don’t. One told me, ‘Nothing is invented and perfected at the same time.’ And while I never had the honor of meeting him, Nelson Mandela is a mentor of mine. In “Long Walk to Freedom,” he talks about doing every job, every small and simple task, as if it is the most important, world-changing thing you could possibly do. I remind myself of this when I am doing all the administrative work that I didn’t realize I was signing up for when I decided to start Kula. Everything you do matters, so do it well.”

Danielle Burke

Atlanta Activewear owner, Danielle Burke: "My intern experience was really wonderful. The woman I worked for was probably the first person to mix sporty and chic together, which influenced my style and my store. I used to spend hours searching for the perfect button, but she helped me learn a lot about styling and construction of products, which has been amazing when I’m buying inventory for the store."

Atlanta Activewear owner Danielle Burke: “My intern experience was really wonderful. The woman I worked for was probably the first person to mix sporty and chic together, which influenced my style and my store. I used to spend hours searching for the perfect button, but she helped me learn a lot about styling and construction of products, which has been amazing when I’m buying inventory for the store.”

Gina Christman

Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles publisher, Gina Christman: "I’ve been a careful observer of people all my life, collecting lots of take-aways from those I most admire. At work, I have an incredible team of individuals around me that inspire me every day, but the best piece of advice I ever got came from my current boss and mentor, Adam Japko... simply, 'Just breathe.' It put things in perspective for me and I still say that to myself whenever I start to feel overwhelmed — especially in business, but in other areas of my life, too."

“Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles” publisher Gina Christman: “I’ve been a careful observer of people all my life, collecting lots of take-aways from those I most admire. At work, I have an incredible team of individuals around me that inspires me every day, but the best piece of advice I ever got came from my current boss and mentor, Adam Japko … simply, ‘Just breathe.’ It put things in perspective for me and I still say that to myself whenever I start to feel overwhelmed — especially in business, but in other areas of my life, too.”

Cassandra Connors

Bella Bag's Cassandra Connors: "I try to soak in everything that people tell me, every single day of my life. I follow my gut, and yes, I have incredible mentors including my father, who was in banking for 25+ years, and then moved on to hold CEO positions in non-profit, finance and tech companies. In fashion, I feel so grateful to have Susan Nethero, CEO Emeritus of Intimacy, as a mentor and also Susan Falk, former CEO of both Bendels & Betsey Johnson, coach me through one day at time."

Bella Bag’s Cassandra Connors: “I try to soak in everything that people tell me, every single day of my life. I follow my gut, and yes, I have incredible mentors, including my father, who was in banking for 25+ years, and then moved on to hold CEO positions in nonprofit, finance and tech companies. In fashion, I feel so grateful to have Susan Nethero, CEO Emeritus of Intimacy, as a mentor, and also Susan Falk, former CEO of both Bendels and Betsey Johnson, coach me through one day at time.”

Mara Davis

Co-host of Atlanta Eats, Mara Davis: "Be nice to your interns, they could be your boss someday."

Co-host of “Atlanta Eats,” Mara Davis: “Be nice to your interns. They could be your boss someday.”

Elizabeth Feichter & Dominique Love

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Founders, Elizabeth Feichter & Dominique Love tell what they cannot live without... Elizabeth needs "good food, good art and good friends, and I’m a happy girl"; Dominique craves "Obviously, great meals. Next would be knowledge — I love to learn and explore. And finally, solitude. Because my job is so social, some may find it hard to believe that I am secretly a hermit. I really love unplugging and staying in."

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Founders Elizabeth Feichter & Dominique Love tell what they cannot live without: Elizabeth needs “good food, good art and good friends, and I’m a happy girl.” Dominique craves “Obviously, great meals. Next would be knowledge — I love to learn and explore. And finally, solitude. Because my job is so social, some may find it hard to believe that I am secretly a hermit. I really love unplugging and staying in.”

Maria Goldsholl

COO of Mom Corps, Maria Goldsholl: "I don’t think anyone has balance. I like the word synergy better — making all the components of your life work well together. It’s important to step back and think about what we want in life, wherever we are, and then make room for those things. I can’t complain that I don’t have time to exercise if I don’t make it a priority!"

COO of Mom Corps, Maria Goldsholl: “I don’t think anyone has balance. I like the word synergy better — making all the components of your life work well together. It’s important to step back and think about what we want in life, wherever we are, and then make room for those things. I can’t complain that I don’t have time to exercise if I don’t make it a priority!”

Asha Gomez

Chef Asha Gomez: "Life rarely reveals a clear career trajectory for most of us. I planned to join the Peace Corps when I grew up. I ended up following a career in the spa industry and owning my own spa here in Atlanta. Then, the culinary world called me. I also feel the work that I’ve begun to do with CARE is close to what I envisioned doing as a young girl."

Chef Asha Gomez: “Life rarely reveals a clear career trajectory for most of us. I planned to join the Peace Corps when I grew up. I ended up following a career in the spa industry and owning my own spa here in Atlanta. Then, the culinary world called me. I also feel the work that I’ve begun to do with CARE is close to what I envisioned doing as a young girl.”

Linda Harrell

Chef Linda Harrell's philosophy: "a tavola non si invecchia -- It’s directly translated into “the table is not aging,” but it means “no one grows old at the table.” It’s a philosophy I believe in — there is no age when you sit down at the table to eat, only people, conversation and food!"

Chef Linda Harrell‘s philosophy: “A tavola non si invecchia — it’s directly translated into ‘the table is not aging,’ but it means ‘no one grows old at the table.’ It’s a philosophy I believe in — there is no age when you sit down at the table to eat, only people, conversation and food!”

Ashley Hesseltine

Witty + Pretty blogger Ashley Hesseltine: "I remember sitting in my fifth-grade classroom and confidently stating I would be a famous fashion designer one day, while wearing stirrup leggings and a turtleneck. I do want to be a grownup one day. Or at least have a grownup savings account and investments while still acting like a 20-something."

Witty + Pretty blogger Ashley Hesseltine: “I remember sitting in my fifth-grade classroom and confidently stating I would be a famous fashion designer one day, while wearing stirrup leggings and a turtleneck. I do want to be a grown-up one day. Or at least have a grown-up savings account and investments, while still acting like a 20-something.”

Jen Hidinger

Jen Hidinger of The Giving Kitchen and Staplehouse: "My patience and resilience have grown insurmountably. I used to be an extreme case of 'fix it now', but as I’ve grown, I understand that anything long lasting and worthwhile takes time and complete surrender. My late husband helped teach this to me."

Jen Hidinger of The Giving Kitchen and Staplehouse: “My patience and resilience have grown insurmountably. I used to be an extreme case of ‘fix it now,’ but as I’ve grown, I understand that anything long lasting and worthwhile takes time and complete surrender. My late husband helped teach this to me.”

Ali Howell

Ali Howell of Ali & Bird: "Go with your gut and treat your people fairly. I’ve been fortunate to work with some really talented, interesting and smart people here in Atlanta, New York and Dallas. I’ve taken pieces of these experiences and incorporated them into how I operate my business."

Ali Howell of Ali & Bird: “Go with your gut and treat your people fairly. I’ve been fortunate to work with some really talented, interesting and smart people here in Atlanta, New York and Dallas. I’ve taken pieces of these experiences and incorporated them into how I operate my business.”

Ellen Italiaander

Ellen Italiaander: "While I believe in destiny, I also believe that you have to be an active participant in your life. Focus on where you want to go in life, and take the steps to make it happen. I try and look at every day as if something good is about to happen!"

Elevate Your Body owner Ellen Italiaander: “While I believe in destiny, I also believe that you have to be an active participant in your life. Focus on where you want to go in life, and take the steps to make it happen. I try and look at every day as if something good is about to happen!”

Susan Jacobs-Meadows

Susan Jacobs-Meadows, Founder of Canine Cellmates: "Our goal is to open the minds and hearts of the guys in our program to possibilities they may have never imagined for themselves. Much of our educational series centers around a common theme of 'One Person Can Make a Difference'."

Susan Jacobs-Meadows, founder of Canine Cellmates: “Our goal is to open the minds and hearts of the guys in our program to possibilities they may have never imagined for themselves. Much of our educational series centers around a common theme of ‘One Person Can Make a Difference.'”

Joann Kandrac & Kelly Kole

Joann Kandrac & Kelly Kole (on projects that make them proud): Joann says, "The charity projects of course, but also the ones where the client becomes extremely emotional. You know that you have changed a life!";  Kelly proclaims, "The charity projects — our work in Guatemala with Catalyst Resources International, Dwell with Dignity and Room Service Atlanta has changed lives. To be able to use our talents and our passions to completely affect the way another human being faces the day is both humbling and empowering."

Joann Kandrac & Kelly Kole, owners of Kandrac & Kole Interior Designs (on projects that make them proud): Joann says, “The charity projects, of course, but also the ones where the client becomes extremely emotional. You know that you have changed a life!” Kelly proclaims, “The charity projects — our work in Guatemala with Catalyst Resources International, Dwell with Dignity and Room Service Atlanta has changed lives. To be able to use our talents and our passions to completely affect the way another human being faces the day is both humbling and empowering.”

Haley Kilpatrick

Girl Talk founder, Haley Kilpatrick: "I am a wisdom seeker by nature, and a lot of advice I’ve taken to  heart. There is no greater gift you can give someone than unconditionally loving them, especially at their worst. It is certainly true you realize who your true friends are in difficult times. Be eternally grateful for friends, family and colleagues who love like this, and commit to being this for others. 'Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.' Hebrews 11:1'

Girl Talk founder Haley Kilpatrick: “I am a wisdom seeker by nature, and a lot of advice I’ve taken to  heart. There is no greater gift you can give someone than unconditionally loving them, especially at their worst. It is certainly true you realize who your true friends are in difficult times. Be eternally grateful for friends, family and colleagues who love like this, and commit to being this for others. ‘Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.””(Hebrews 11:1)

Terri Kight

Terri Kight, creator of sanitytwentyfour7 products: "Everything happens for a reason."

Terri Kight, creator of sanitytwentyfour7 products: “Everything happens for a reason.”

Kay Lewington

Kay Lewington of CTS Systems, Inc.: "If you change what you do to please and accommodate others, you will make yourself unhappy and frustrated. Stick to what motivates you. That doesn’t mean let everyone else suffer; that means if you forget about you, you will be less productive for and with others."

Kay Lewington of CTS Systems Inc.: “If you change what you do to please and accommodate others, you will make yourself unhappy and frustrated. Stick to what motivates you. That doesn’t mean let everyone else suffer; that means if you forget about you, you will be less productive for and with others.”

Ann Mashburn

Ann Mashburn advises young designers: "Be prepared to work your head off. Sid and I grew up in our careers in New York, and we learned that you really do have to be first in, last out and fully present in between."

Ann Mashburn advises young designers: “Be prepared to work your head off. Sid and I grew up in our careers in New York, and we learned that you really do have to be first in, last out and fully present in between.”

Mary Pat Matheson

Atlanta Botanical Garden's Mary Pat Matheson: "When you are in a leadership role, you have to be willing to take measured risks to grow your organization. Think big, gather the facts, look to other models of success and be willing to take measured risk for big return. That’s a core component of my philosophy on leadership."

Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Mary Pat Matheson: “When you are in a leadership role, you have to be willing to take measured risks to grow your organization. Think big, gather the facts, look to other models of success and be willing to take measured risk for big return. That’s a core component of my philosophy on leadership.”

Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice

Dean and EVP of Morehouse School of Medicine, Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice: "I think it’s important to take inventory of yourself — where are you physically, emotionally, spiritually — so you don’t get lost in the shuffle of life. None of us are superwomen: we need to avoid reflecting superficial representations of ourselves and we need to be real. Questions I ask myself include: Who am I? Do I possess the characteristics of success? How do I define my success? Is my personal success aligned with my professional success?"

Dean and EVP of Morehouse School of Medicine, Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice: “I think it’s important to take inventory of yourself — where are you physically, emotionally, spiritually — so you don’t get lost in the shuffle of life. None of us are superwomen: we need to avoid reflecting superficial representations of ourselves and we need to be real. Questions I ask myself include: Who am I? Do I possess the characteristics of success? How do I define my success? Is my personal success aligned with my professional success?”

Penny Morriss

Penny Morriss, owner/president of Concierge Services of Atlanta: "No risk, no reward. If you do not take a risk in life — not just in business — you will never know what reward awaits you. Once a risk is taken and it works out, that builds confidence. When I took the risk of moving to a new city, not knowing many people and taking a job I knew nothing about, I really lived the advice of 'no risk, no reward' that I give so many people."

Penny Morriss, owner/president of Concierge Services of Atlanta: “No risk, no reward. If you do not take a risk in life — not just in business — you will never know what reward awaits you. Once a risk is taken and it works out, that builds confidence. When I took the risk of moving to a new city, not knowing many people and taking a job I knew nothing about, I really lived the advice of ‘no risk, no reward’ that I give so many people.”

Alice Park

Children's Photographer and founder of NAPCP, Alice Park: "I chose to work with children because I am in constant awe of their innocence and authentic sense of wonder. They are the most real subjects my lens encounters, and I honestly believe that I become a better person every time I leave a photo shoot. If we could all learn to find beauty and love in the simplest things in life, as our children do, I believe the world would be a better place."

Children’s photographer and founder of NAPCP, Alice Park: “I chose to work with children because I am in constant awe of their innocence and authentic sense of wonder. They are the most real subjects my lens encounters, and I honestly believe that I become a better person every time I leave a photo shoot. If we could all learn to find beauty and love in the simplest things in life, as our children do, I believe the world would be a better place.”

Ashley Watt & Melissa White

The Bar Method's Ashley Watt & Melissa White on advice: Ashley says ,"One of the best has been to remind myself everyday why I am doing this. Everyday has its challenges and some days seem worse than others, but it’s always important to remember what makes you get up each day and keep going."; Melissa remarks, "‘Anything can be changed. If you don’t like it you can always change it.’ That statement resonates with me, giving me courage to try new things. Life offers many opportunities, why not go for it?"

The Bar Method’s Ashley Watt & Melissa White on advice: Ashley says,”One of the best has been to remind myself every day why I am doing this. Every day has its challenges and some days seem worse than others, but it’s always important to remember what makes you get up each day and keep going.” Melissa remarks, “Anything can be changed. If you don’t like it, you can always change it. That statement resonates with me, giving me courage to try new things. Life offers many opportunities; why not go for it?”

Lisa Wise

Lisa Wise of re:loom: "Starting our re:loom social enterprise was our way to use the donated clothing that we received and replicate our homeless program model, which helps our homeless women practice new skills repeatedly until they learn them, feel successful and move on to independent living ... no one wants to be poor and live a substandard existence. Things happen, and life can be complicated. Every mother wants her children to have a better life and for them to grow up to be happy people."

Lisa Wise of re:loom: “Starting our re:loom social enterprise was our way to use the donated clothing that we received and replicate our homeless program model, which helps our homeless women practice new skills repeatedly until they learn them, feel successful and move on to independent living … no one wants to be poor and live a substandard existence. Things happen, and life can be complicated. Every mother wants her children to have a better life and for them to grow up to be happy people.”

What a year it’s been! We send a huge “THANK YOU” to all our FACES for adding their voices to StyleBlueprint in 2014. 

Our FACES photographer, Catrina Maxwell, of CatMax Photography, brings us incredible photos with each interview. We applaud her talent for capturing the spirit of these ladies through her lens. Thank you, Cat.

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