At the beginning of each week, we kick it off with women from around the Memphis community and the South as part of our StyleBlueprint FACES series. We can learn so much from these empowered, incredible women, so we are revisiting all the best pieces of advice our 2018 FACES shared. Take on the new year feeling encouraged and inspired!

Wise Words: The Best Advice from Our FACES of 2018

Mayor Vi Lyles is the first African American female mayor in her city.

The first African-American female mayor of the city of Charlotte, NC., Mayor Vi Lyles says, “Be fearless!” Following a 30-year career in local government, the 68-year-old was serving as the mayor pro tem when voters chose her to take the city’s top seatVi says she can’t live without coffee, a good book and a compassionate heart.

Kirby Dobbs Floyd, a veteran of the nonprofit world, has been giving back to her community for almost 30 years.

Kirby Dobbs Floyd, a veteran of the nonprofit world, has been giving back to her community for almost 30 years. When asked her three words of advice she says, “First, believe that you can make a difference. Second, let your heart lead you to a cause that tugs at it. Finally, have the courage to make the call and ask how you can help.” Kirby supports organizations such as the Palmer Home for Children and Young Life and founded Hutchison Serves. Image: Micki Martin

Britney Thornton, She founded JUICE Orange Mound, a nonprofit with the mission "to unite, empower and support each resident ... by finding and funding innovative ideas within the community."

First-generation Memphian Britney Thornton grew up in Orange Mound, one of the first U.S. neighborhoods built by and for African-Americans. The 28-year-old founded JUICE Orange Mound, a nonprofit with the mission “to unite, empower and support each resident … by finding and funding innovative ideas within the community.” Her piece of advice? “In my bedroom, before I started JUICE, I put up two quotes. The first one was, ‘Dream until your dreams come true.’ Then, there’s the Bible verse Jeremiah 29:11: ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and give you hope.’” Image: Mary Kate Steele

My favorite one is dance like no one is watching. I try to tell my kids, enjoy the moment, seize the day. Be yourself. See where it can get you!" 

Family law attorney, part-time judge, animal advocate, the one-and-only “Bongo Lady” and NBA TV’s Fan of the Year, Malenda Harris Meacham‘s best piece of advice comes as no surprise. She says, “My favorite one is dance like no one is watching. I try to tell my kids: Enjoy the moment, seize the day. Be yourself. See where it can get you!” Image: Mary Kate Steele

"Find what you love and pursue it. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s outlandish or you can’t do it. I’m in an industry that ten years ago someone like me would not have been welcomed in, and yet here I am," says Head Distiller Alex Castle at Old Dominick Distillery.

“Find what you love and pursue it. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s outlandish or you can’t do it. I’m in an industry that 10 years ago someone like me would not have been welcomed in, and yet here I am,” says Head Distiller Alex Castle at Old Dominick Distillery. Catch this chemical engineer at Old Dominick finding the perfect mix. Image: Mary Kate Steele

Patricia Melton has coordinated staff, inmates and outside partners as the Manager of Grants, Education & Vocational Services for the Shelby County Division of Corrections to foster a just and rehabilitative incarceration system built on cutting-edge research and evidence-based policy.

Patricia Melton has coordinated staff, inmates and outside partners as the Manager of Grants, Education & Vocational Services for the Shelby County Division of Corrections in her mission to foster a just and rehabilitative incarceration system built on cutting-edge research and evidence-based policy. She serves the most vulnerable members of society, from foster children to the disabled to the incarcerated. Her best piece of advice, “I’m very close to my siblings and my nieces and nephews as well, and I’ve told them all this because I believe it to be true: Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.” Image: Mary Kate Steele

RELATED: 50 Pieces of Advice: Memphis FACES of 2017

Stay true to yourself. Be open, honest and real."

Working part-time for both Methodist Healthcare, mostly at Methodist University Hospital, and Inpatient Physicians of the MidSouth, a private hospitalist group, Dr. Caley Spotts wants to make a difference in the healthcare industry. This past January, she took on the role of student through an online MBA program at Pepperdine University to give herself the background and education she needs to have more of a leadership role in healthcare administration. Her advice? “Stay true to yourself. Be open, honest and real.” Image: Mary Kate Steele

Cofounders of StyleBlueprint have words of wisdom to those in business, and just overall life in general.

Our very own cofounders Elizabeth Fox (left) and Liza Graves (right) have some pieces of advice for those looking to start their own business: “It’s going to be far harder than you can imagine,” says Liza. “Make sure you have the fortitude for it and enough saved up as your pay will likely be sporadic, at least at first. Figure out what your mission is and work the numbers to see if your idea is a job, or is it a hobby? And, your business should reflect you.” Elizabeth’s piece of advice: “Pretty simple — once you have a concept nailed down, figure out what the endgame is. Do you want to build a company to give you a nice lifestyle business or build it to sell it? Then, ask the smartest people you know to shoot holes through your concept. Once you’ve vetted your business idea, then spend your money on a top-notch lawyer, accountant and business consultant.” Image: Leila Grossman of Grannis Photography

I think it really helped me to get their expertise and see where this could go down the road. It helps to have people encourage you, teach you, coach you."

“I feel like I sought out mentorship, and people who were ahead of me pretty early on, like the second week I owned an Etsy shop. I think it really helped me to get their expertise and see where this could go down the road. It helps to have people encourage you, teach you, coach you,” says artist and founder of Signet Sealed, Sarah Baumann. Full of personality, this creative entrepreneur has doodled her way into many homes through her trademark city-inspired prints, mugs, dishtowels and more. Image: Mary Kate Steele

"If we go through life where everything is easy, what kind of people would we become? Challenge yourself."

Briahna Chambers, lead instructor with Tech901 and TEDx Memphis speaker of “Breaking The ‘Class’ Ceiling,” says, “Do not let the opinions of others keep you from going after what you want. Especially in the tech industry, people think computer science is rocket science. Entry into a new field or situation can be a challenge, but it isn’t impossible, so take that challenge and stick with it. If we go through life where everything is easy, what kind of people would we become? Challenge yourself.” Image: Mary Kate Steele

“The only real difference between anxiety and excitement is our willingness to let go of fear.”

“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,” says “Trading Spaces” Interior Designer Laurie Hickson Smith. “My best piece of advice to eliminate fear is to trust God, for each and everyone of us is created for great purpose!” Image: Mary Kate Steele

"In relation to Le Bonheur, my best advice would be just to live every day – appreciate every day – because you just never know when something catastrophic could happen to you, your family or a loved one."

Like many Memphis parents, Karen Eskin ended up at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital during the worst day of her life. From the terrifying moment that her son Brendan was airlifted to the hospital, she put her entire trust in the staff and volunteers who brought him back from near-certain death. She is now the CEO of Organized Advantage and President of Le Bonheur Club. Her best advice? “In relation to Le Bonheur, my best advice would be just to live every day — appreciate every day — because you just never know when something catastrophic could happen to you, your family or a loved one.” Image: Mary Kate Steele

"Relax and have fun and everyone else will too.”

Chrissy Hagerty is 6,640 miles away supporting her husband, Bill Hagerty as he serves our country as Ambassador to Japan. The importance of her role can’t be overstated as she welcomes dignitaries from all over the world. When asking Chrissy for her wise words she says, “In my current role as spouse of U.S. Ambassador, I have benefited from many mentors such as Nobuko Sasae, the spouse of Japan’s outgoing Ambassador to the United States in Washington, DC. Nobuko once told me, ‘Relax and have fun and everyone else will too.’ She said by being herself, she was more successful at deepening the relationship between the United States and Japan. She also told me to enjoy every day, as the time goes by very quickly. These pieces of advice have been very useful.”

Teachers of the year, Natasha and Shelby give their words of encouragement and advice.

Although they always make time for their students, Shelby County Teachers of the Year Natasha Medford (left), an eighth-grade science teacher at Ridgeway Middle School, and Emily Taubken (right), a third-grade teacher at Kingsbury Elementary School, are a little hard to pin down for something as extracurricular as talking about themselves. These two teachers have some enlightening advice to give. Natasha says, “Never give up. Wake up every day with a goal in mind, just having something that drives you. Make sure that you set a goal and see it through.” Emily says, “Find something that combines what you’re excited about and what you’re gifted in, and find a way to make that contribute to a bigger picture.” Image: Mary Kate Steele

Miss Tenneesse's best piece of advice? "Never doubt yourself!"

In Caty Davis‘ reign as Miss Tennessee, she’s traveled more than 80,000 miles and spoken to nearly 50,000 students. Caty has spent the last year championing her platform, Attacking Addiction, and sharing her incredible story. She’s helped raise more than $40,000 for addiction recovery programs across the state. Miss Tennessee’s best piece of advice? “Never doubt yourself!”

 Courtney's best piece of advice: "Trust and follow your heart."

Courtney Smith, Cofounder and Chairman of the Board of Southern Reins Center for Equine Therapy, has a lifelong love of horses, a degree in special education and a heart to serve the special needs community. Courtney’s best piece of advice: “Trust and follow your heart.” Image: Mary Kate Steele

As a lifelong Memphian, Carol has deep affection for the city, and paired with an illustrious career studying how to build successful, happy communities.

“I think the best advice is people don’t want to hear your story, they want to hear their story,” says Carol Coletta, advocate for the city of Memphis and President and CEO of the Memphis River Parks Partnership (formerly the Riverfront Development Corporation). This latest in a series of eminent positions augments her role as a senior fellow at The Kresge Foundation, a national philanthropy actively reimagining the Memphis waterfront and the ways our citizens can connect through it. As a lifelong Memphian, Carol has deep affection for the city, and paired with an illustrious career studying how to build successful, happy communities, she is especially well suited to positively impact our city. Image: Mary Kate Steele

Virginia says, "Ask yourself what you’re doing to be worthy of others’ trust. We say this a lot in Playback: with trust, almost anything is possible, and without it, almost nothing at all."

Spending the last decade leading Playback Memphis, a drama therapy company she created to build individual and community healing through deeper listening, Virginia Murphy, makes a constant difference in the lives of youth and teens. When asked her best piece of advice, Virginia says, “Ask yourself what you’re doing to be worthy of others’ trust. We say this a lot in Playback: with trust, almost anything is possible, and without it, almost nothing at all.” Image: Mary Kate Steele

"Keep your priorities straight. For me, they are God, family, country, work."

Making the Bluff City better one vote at a time, Heidi Shafer serves as the current chairman of the Shelby Board of Commissioners and is the full-time COO of The Skin Clinics and The Flinn Clinic. Heidi shares her words of wisdom, saying, “Keep your priorities straight. For me, they are God, family, country, work.” Image: Mary Kate Steele

"Try not to judge or control. The only real choice and power we have is how we let things affect us. The only thing that can keep us sane is to keep trying to give, to be a part of something."

Babbie Lovett has spent the past 60 years building a rich and fascinating career in theater, fashion and modeling. Babbie’s wisdom: “You do not change anybody else. You can’t make a whole lot of difference in the way other people think. All you can do is be honest with yourself and share as much as somebody will listen. And try not to judge or control. The only real choice and power we have is how we let things affect us. The only thing that can keep us sane is to keep trying to give, to be a part of something … And you never know the outcome. You learn from each experience. And you learn that if you can get through one, you’ll get through the next.” Image: Micki Martin

"Try not to be so anxious about everything — with prayer and perseverance, things have worked out the way they were supposed to.”

The founder and owner of Millstone Market & Nursery, Tricia Hunt, is making homes across Memphis more beautiful one plant and container garden at a time. If Tricia could give her younger self advice, she’d say, “Try not to be so anxious about everything — with prayer and perseverance, things have worked out the way they were supposed to.” Image: Mary Kate Steele

"It’s okay to find your calling later in life. I feel like you start actually thinking as an adult in your 30s, so it’s perfectly okay to start the career you actually want then."

A love of good food and a good story was all it took for Andrea LeTard to start her business. Author of the blog Andrea’s Cooktales and now a delightful cookbook Andrea’s Cooktales: A Keepsake Cookbook, it’s safe to say she stays busy. Andrea says, “It’s okay to find your calling later in life. I feel like you start actually thinking as an adult in your 30s, so it’s perfectly okay to start the career you actually want then. Two of my biggest food inspirations didn’t start cooking until later in life — Julia Child in her 40s and Ina Garten in her 30s. It’s never too late!” Image: Mary Kate Steele

"Recognize that the person beside you is doing the best they can. I have to give myself that reminder in the many moments that I am being incredibly impatient."

“Recognize that the person beside you is doing the best they can. I have to give myself that reminder in the many moments that I am being incredibly impatient,” says Amelia Thompson, Associate Director of Development at Ballet Memphis. Amelia helps manage the annual fund, as well as major gifts, for Ballet Memphis, and her enthusiasm is contagious! Image: Abbey Bratcher

“Learn it, own it, show it.”

Joining Explore Bike Share in the months before its May 2018 launch to help connect Memphis through the city’s first bike-sharing system, Denise Parnell is now working to build a deeper understanding of Memphis through this new form of transportation. Denise, who is also the blogger behind The Elle Aesthetic, says, “To paraphrase a manager I had at Hofstra University, ‘Learn it, own it, show it.’ I came in a bit shy, and she was like, ‘This is your learning process, but once you learn it, feel comfortable and be able to delegate and show people that you are in this role for a reason. Don’t be afraid to take up space.’ I think those are some great words of advice.” Image: Abbey Bratcher

Breast Cancer Survivor, Amputee and Author of Getting To The Other Side of Victory, Donna Hopkins is beyond inspirational with the way she handles every day life.

“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 every day as if it will be my last day,” says breast cancer survivor, amputee and author of Getting To The Other Side of VictoryDonna Hopkins.

“My dad told me to never compare your insides to everyone’s outsides. In this day and age of social media, I think this is poignant to teach to future generations as well,” says Dr. Patel when asked what is the best piece of advice she has received.

Dr. Purvisha Patel is the founder of Advanced Dermatology & Skin Care Associates, a practice with locations in Germantown, Olive Branch and Arlington, as well as the entrepreneur behind Visha Skincare, a brand of skincare lines that can be used to treat multiple skin issues and is cost-effective and suitable for both women and men of all skin types. She says, “My dad told me to never compare your insides to everyone’s outsides. In this day and age of social media, I think this is poignant to teach to future generations as well.” Image: Abbey Bratcher

"Do something every day that’s meaningful. Have passion for what you do. Leave things better than you found them."

A love of historic architecture led Krissy Buck Flickinger to join Looney Ricks Kiss, where she is now professionally accredited by both the U.S. Green Building Council and International Well Building Institute for her dedication to designing buildings that are better for the environment and the people inside them. Krissy’s best advice? “Do something every day that’s meaningful. Have passion for what you do. Leave things better than you found them.” Image: Abbey Bratcher

"Take the time to discover who you truly are and figure out how to have the courage to be that all the time."

Executive Director of Clayborn Temple, the site of organization efforts for the 1968 Sanitation Workers’ Strike and other civil rights actions, Anasa Troutman, leads the mission to uphold and advance the historic space’s legacy. Anasa says, “Take the time to discover who you truly are and figure out how to have the courage to be that all the time.” Image: Abbey Bratcher

“Always be you.” Love me or leave me. I live by those words of advice," says first executive director of Thistle & Bee, Jordan Boss.

“I have been fortunate to be surrounded by incredible women and men along my journey. A theme I have heard from most of them close to me: ‘Always be you.’ Love me or leave me. I live by those words of advice,” says first executive director of Thistle & Bee, Jordan Boss. She is helping to build a business that will employ survivors of prostitution and human trafficking in a residential program where healing can take place. Image: Abbey Bratcher

There will always be things beyond your control, so be wise and live conservatively."

In Tiffany McLemore‘s current role as the Principal Broker of the Coldwell Banker Collins-Maury corporate office, she works with both new and experienced agents to help them develop their careers. Tiffany says, “Save always. There are a lot of ups and downs in real estate. Ten years ago was the start of a tough time for many in this industry. If you made it through those times, you look at today’s market through different lenses. There will always be things beyond your control, so be wise and live conservatively.” Image: Abbey Bratcher

"I have eight granddaughters. Eight. Granddaughters. I hope that each and every day, they see in me something that makes them keep reaching, keep reading and keep growing. That’s what I always push to them. Keep going," says Gerre Currie,

“I have eight granddaughters. Eight. Granddaughters. I hope that each and every day, they see in me something that makes them keep reaching, keep reading and keep growing. That’s what I always push to them. Keep going,” says Gerre Currie, Community Development Officer for Financial Federal Bank, a position that helps her build financial literacy and generational wealth for underserved residents. She also serves as secretary of the Memphis Area Community Reinvestment Act Association, an unprecedented collaboration of area banks dedicated to serving those with low-to-moderate incomes. Image: Abbey Bratcher

Author of Storealities, a book that encourages all of us to honor our own stories and the role we play in where we are today, is Roquita Coleman-Williams.

Author of Storealities, Roquita Coleman-Williams is also a certified train conductor as part of her solutions manager role with Canadian National Railway. She was also the first African-American female brand ambassador for Vibram footwear and serves on multiple philanthropic boards throughout the Memphis community. Her wise words? “The advice that I give often is: Have a strategy around a professional brand. If it’s your desire to be successful, to be impactful socially, then get people in your life who will help you build a professional brand. You have a brand whether you want it or not, so choose the brand you want to have. Be intentional about it.” Image: Abbey Bratcher

Pitmaster, cookbook author, and owner of STEAK by Melissa and two locations of Memphis Barbecue Company, Melissa Cookston does it all.

Pitmaster, cookbook author and owner of STEAK by Melissa and two locations of Memphis Barbecue Company, Melissa Cookston does it all. Melissa’s best piece of advice: “Always strive for perfection. If you don’t, you’ll never be great, because mediocrity is not OK.” Oh, did we mention she is a two-time grand-champion and five-time whole-hog-champion at the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest? Image: Mary Kate Steele

"Pray. I find the answers to all my tough questions through prayer," says Kelsey Loebel of Confections & Connections.

“Pray. I find the answers to all my tough questions through prayer,” says Kelsey Loebel of Confections & Connections. Kelsey connects her business and her customers to those in need by donating 10% of her profits to local charities, and she recently purchased Miss Muff’n in Germantown. Image: Micki Martin

Melanie gives her advice on leadership, "Believe in yourself. Believe in others. Never be afraid to take a risk."

CEO of Girl Scouts Heart of the South since 2014, Melanie Schild, has elevated the organization’s relevance by transforming its culture to one of innovation. And she wants you to know that the Girl Scouts are about a lot more than cookies! Melanie says, “Believe in yourself. Believe in others. Never be afraid to take a risk.” Image: Mary Kate Steele

"Be able to hear that there are ways to use a bicycle to get around and move through town. I’m still hearing that, even after riding for several years, that I could still have an issue of my own and have a friend in my community be able to solve it.

“Be able to hear that there are ways to use a bicycle to get around and move through town. I’m still hearing that, even after riding for several years, that I could still have an issue of my own and have a friend in my community be able to solve it. People can think through with me any kind of issue I’m dealing with,” says Executive Director of Revolutions Bicycle CoOp, Sylvia Crum. The nonprofit organization sells refurbished bikes and memberships to its shared workshop to fund education and outreach programs for riders of all ages and skill levels, creating a cycle of exploration. Image: Mary Kate Steele

From organizing closets to cleaning out attics and everything in between, these two friends help you more efficiently organize your spaces.

The organization experts behind Blue Pencil Home, Brooke Levy (right) and Katie Savage (left), share their wisdom that applies to more than just a clean home. Katie says, “Live every day to the fullest, and make sure that you take a pause for yourself.” And Brooke says, “The first step is always the scariest; do it anyway!” From organizing closets to cleaning out attics and everything in between, these two friends help Memphians to more efficiently organize their spaces. Image: Mary Kate Steele

Meet Elizabeth Locke, the lady behind Elizabeth Locke Jewels, which she started in 1988. Her pieces are found in stylish shops across the country, as well as in her flagship stores in Manhattan and Boyce, Virginia, where she currently resides.

“When I decided to go into the jewelry business 30 years ago, I took a well-known estate jewelry dealer out to lunch and excitedly told him that I was going to become a stone dealer. He told me that I would be eaten alive by the competition and begged me to reconsider my choice. Because of this advice, I changed my plans and instead decided to design jewelry. So although my career plan was mercilessly crushed, he did me an enormous favor!” Meet Elizabeth Locke, the creative mind behind Elizabeth Locke Jewels, which she started in 1988. Her pieces are found in stylish shops across the country, as well as in her flagship stores in Manhattan, New York and Boyce, Virginia, where she currently resides. Image: Elizabeth Locke Jewels

"Be true to yourself. Don’t try to fit in. Be happy. Find what makes you happy, and do it! Make a difference."

Lisa Gwatney, Director of FedEx’s Strategic Portfolio Management Office and World Food Champion, says, “Be true to yourself. Don’t try to fit in. Be happy. Find what makes you happy, and do it! Make a difference.” Wondering what dish made her World Food Champion? It was her ‘Steak and Tators’ dish: grilled Wagyu ribeye filet with seared foie gras, wild mushrooms and an Amarone reduction sauce served with white truffle potato galette and steamed carrots. Yum! Image: Abbey Bratcher

"Hang in there. You are stronger than you think."

Neala Hester, owner and curator of The Find, holds the secret to affordable home finds. In just five years, Neala went from finding great deals out of necessity to turning it into a home business to opening her first shop to needing an even larger space, which is now open in Regalia. Neala says, “Be humble, pray hard and love people well.” Image: Mary Kate Steele

Mary Conley, blogger, wife of an NBA player, mom of two boys and an influential woman in Memphis!

For a woman who planned to be an orthodontist in Ohio, the journey to becoming a fashion blogger, social media influencer and NBA wife in Memphis was utterly unexpected. Meet Mary Conley. Her advice? “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus. That’s gotten me so far, because men and women really do just think differently. When you bring kids into the mix — I do things one way, and he does them another. And I kind of wonder in my head, Why did he do it that way?, but it doesn’t matter, because that’s what he thought was best, and we’re all trying our hardest. I now give that advice to all of my friends.” Follow along on her chic lifestyle with Living LaReve. Image: Mary Kate Steele

Jennifer Oswalt, President and CEO of Downtown Memphis Commission, is constantly making the community of Memphis better.

Jennifer Oswalt, President and CEO of the Downtown Memphis Commission, is constantly making the community of Memphis better. Jennifer tells us her best received advice, “‘This too shall pass,’ which is what my mother always says when I’m freaking out about things. I tend to be a worrier, but I think keeping your eye on that is always important. You will get past it; it’s not forever.” She is also serving on the board of the Women’s Foundation, which gives her a unique perspective on how the Downtown Memphis Commission affects many areas of the city. Image: Laura Armstrong of NLA Projects

For 40 years, Terry has been working for Folk’s Folly and Humphrey’s Prime Cut Shoppe with a deep love for and dedication to the company.

“Treat people as you want to be treated. You never know what’s going to happen from day to day. If somebody needs something, you need to help them. A lot of times you see something needs to be done and people might say, ‘That’s not my job.’ Just do it and go on. It makes the day a better day when everybody’s getting along,” says Terry Martin, loyal and beloved employee of Folk’s Folly. For 40 years, Terry has been working for Folk’s Folly and Humphrey’s Prime Cut Shoppe with a deep love for and dedication to the company. She loves to chat, so stop by and say hi! Image: Laura Armstrong of NLA Projects

"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."

In dealing with eating disorders and depression, Sarah Hays Coomer turned to fresh air and sunlight, and as a certified personal trainer and wellness coach, she urges us to do the same. When asking the best piece of advice she’d received, and from whom, Sarah says, “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

27-year-old Victoria Young does it all!

“This is two-fold, but they go together. You don’t get what you’re worth, you get what you negotiate. And everything is negotiable. Especially as a young female in business entering a male-dominated world, you have to be unapologetic about knowing your worth and demanding it,” says 27-year-old Victoria Young. Victoria founded a college-prep nonprofit, ran for city council and is a third-year law student who recently opened Spincult cycling studio in the Memphis Medical District. Oh, and she’s also a singer who has performed for Nelson Mandela, as well as the host and organizer of Memphis’ iteration of Dîner en Blanc, an elegant community-building gathering. Image: Laura Armstrong of NLA Projects

Marcia Kaufman, Executive Director of IRIS Orchestra.

Meet Marcia Kaufmann, Executive Director of IRIS Orchestra and new Memphian. Degree in hand, Marcia began traveling with a string quartet with performances everywhere from Louisiana to Arizona and Mexico to Russia. Her travels then continued to Washington State, where she founded and operated the Icicle Creek Chamber Music Institute, then to Colorado, where she was executive director of the Breckenridge Music Festival and then to Oregon, where she was executive director of Portland Baroque Orchestra. Now, she has settled in Memphis. Marcia’s advice is, “Stay open to new things — the stuff you didn’t plan on, the accidental discoveries or the detours that you get sent on. If you just stay open, life can be much more interesting.” Image: Mary Kate Steele

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Jessica N Turner, author of "Stretched Too Thin"

Author Jessica N. Turner recognized this feeling in thousands of women, and with her new book, Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter, and Thrive, she encourages moms to identify their biggest challenges and make changes to help them go from barely surviving to thriving. When asking her piece of advice and who she received it from, Jessica says, “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

Keenon McCloy, head of Memphis Public Libraries

When she stopped back in Memphis after graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, Keenon McCloy had no intention of staying. But an intriguing offer from the new Mayor-Elect and the opportunity to see the city from a whole new perspective drew Keenon into the inner workings of her hometown. Twenty-seven years later, she now heads Memphis Public Libraries. Keenon’s best advice? “To whatever extent you can, reach outside of your comfort zone — you will grow. If you’re feeling totally comfortable, you probably aren’t pushing yourself enough.” Image: Mary Kate Steele

With her family being in the healthcare world, Nia is following right along all while making a difference in the community.

She grew up celebrating holidays inside hospitals, and now Dr. Nia Zalamea-Ducklo brings a sense of joy and purpose to operating rooms around the world. As a general surgeon, assistant professor and mission volunteer, Nia brings a global perspective to her hometown and a Memphis heart to her international efforts with Memphis Mission of Mercy, which now include the ambitious task of opening a mission hospital in the Philippines. Her best advice? “One of the things my mentors talked to me about when I was a student was to find my ‘why,’ in everything — the why that informs your life — and keep that center. My why has certainly changed over the years, but it provides a lot of clarity and peace. It helped me with every transition that I’ve made and how I look at my career in the context of family.” Image: Mary Kate Steele 

We hope you start the new year feeling a little wiser from hearing from these spectacular women — we know we do!

Thanks to Mary Kate SteeleMicki Martin, Laura Armstrong of NLA Projects, and Abbey Bratcher for the photography of our FACES of Memphis. 

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Want insider tips from financial experts? Read our new Q&A series, “Money Moxie,” in which Reliant Investment Management’s dynamic team of financial experts cuts through all the dizzying fiscal jargon and delivers practical answers. Approachable financial information has never been easier! Click here to read the second article in the series.

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