Every year, we feature successful, brilliant and fascinating women for our FACES of Memphis series. Together, their words of advice are some of the most wise and witty we have seen, and each December we bring you their collective best advice. Use it well, and get inspired from their insights and dreams!
Wit & Wisdom: Collective Advice from our FACES of Memphis, 2016
Catherine Erb is an artist whose work is featured at galleries throughout the region. Her advice? “It’s Gandhi’s, but it’s one of my favorites: ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.'”
Lori Spicer Robertson is a change leadership manager for First Horizon National Corp. “Live in your vision, not your circumstances,” she says. “This is the mantra my husband and I live by, because it is so easy to be blinded by our current situation and lose sight of our vision or the destiny that awaits us.”
Stacy McCall, president and CEO of ServiceMaster by Stratos, says, “Never stop learning. A major part of that pursuit is to understand that you can never ask enough questions. When I was a senior in high school, I had a teacher pull me out of a classroom one day and tell me I had to stop asking questions in class because it was upsetting my classmates. When I asked why, he told me they just wanted to know how to get the right answer not why it worked that way. Had I internalized those instructions and allowed that mindset to prevail in my life, I am sure that I wouldn’t be where I am today. So never be afraid to ask questions. You will always benefit, and you never know who else will be thankful you did.”
Ricki Krupp of Ricki’s Cookie Corner makes legendary challah and other treats, and her advice is pretty sweet, as well. “Don’t let others tell you what’s possible and what’s not. I had no formal business training and no formal culinary training. Many people didn’t give me much of a shot at succeeding in the early days, but I always believed in myself and had the support of my family. If you’re passionate about something, you can find a way to make it work.”
Regina Whitley, the founder of Greater Memphis IT Alliance, advises, “Practice the art of resilience, because life will certainly present you with challenges. In the words of the lyrics sung by both Ella Fitzgerald and Natalie Cole, if life lets you down, be ready to ‘pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.’”
Interior designer Anna Cardona’s advice is simple: Listen. “Truly listen to everyone, from the custodian to the CEO. You may not agree with what they have to say, but there is something to be learned by listening to everyone.”
When asked for her best advice for others, textile designer Andra Eggleston replied: “The most important things in life are the things you cannot see, smell or touch. They are deep inside your gut. They are the things you must feel with your heart. Your intuition is everything, and it is important to exercise it as much as your body and your mind. It is an immeasurable tool.” Image: Ashley Hylbert
Leigh Mansberg, the assistant head of school at St. Mary’s Episcopal School, believes in the power of working together. “Listen and collaborate. It’s way more fun and effective to move forward when you have partners ready to support your team’s vision and dream big with you.”
Jewelry designer Amy Wells loves this line from the Grateful Dead: Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right. “I would have never dreamed that I would be where I am today, so I encourage people to be patient and seek out what gives you passion … you will never work another day in your life.”
Anna Mullins of High Ground News and New Memphis advises to “invest in your communities, big and small. It’s rewarding in more ways than one.”
Lisa Toro, owner of City & State, advises to “embrace the possibility of failure. There is no shame in failing, because it means you have tried something worthwhile that many only dream of.”
Katie Midgley of the Plough Foundation has some rockin’ advice: “Don’t take yourself too seriously, and you can’t go fixin’ crazy.”
Career coach Angela Copeland is a podcaster and columnist whose advice for entrepreneurs is sterling: “Entrepreneurship can be a touchy path, especially at first. Take the time to build up your support network. Identify your weak spots and seek help. Most importantly, realize that it’s not going to happen overnight. We often have a picture in our heads of overnight success, but growing a real business takes years of hard work.”
Lurene Kelley manages communications and special projects for the Law Offices of the Shelby County Public Defender’s Office. She says the best advice she’s ever received is to be patient. “I have a tendency to want to figure out solutions quickly and take action. Mostly to move things off my plate, but many things require patience. Some things need to resolve themselves, and there’s nothing I can do but hold on. And I need to be more patient with everyone in my life — my kids, my husband, my parents, my friends. I often like to move fast and have things move fast. But patience requires you to slow down and know you can’t control most things.”
Jamila Wicks, the executive director of Books from Birth, advises others to take risks. “Determine what is the worst that could happen — as long as nobody is going to die — go for it! If you fail, you fail. Get up and learn from your mistakes.”
“The best thing we can do for ourselves and others is to work on our personal evolution,” says artist Pam McDonnell. “Become your own adviser and find out what it takes for you to move towards becoming a better forgiver, a better lover and a kinder human being. Dig, dig, dig — and look at yourself deeply. It can be a very painful thing to do but be brave and do it anyway because in the digging, you will also see how beautiful and un-flawed you actually are. The best part of doing this work is that the world is gifted with someone who fights less and can let go a little.”
Lifestyle blogger Cara Greenstein has great advice for all of us: “Unplug from the wired world whenever you can — there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction. Flood your schedule with people, not with emails and text messages.”
Certified Professional Midwife Amy Stewart-Banbury shares some maternal wisdom: “My mother always said, ‘Don’t start something you don’t want to finish.’ I didn’t get it when she said it but I certainly get it now.”
Teri Trotter, cancer survivor and founder of the Pink Wig Project, has simple yet substantial advice: “Live every second of every day and be thankful.”
Memphis born and New York-based jewelry designer Saundra Messinger keeps it simple when it comes to her advice for others: “Don’t ever let an obstacle become a road block.”
Exceptional Foundation director and therapy dog advocate Jo Anne Fusco’s advice to others: “Work hard and dream big!”
Katie Smythe, the founder of New Ballet Ensemble & School, says her superpower would be “to fly and to make college free so that I could fly kids out of poverty and to the school of their choice!”
Donna Smith, wife of University of Memphis head basketball coach Tubby Smith has a wish for others: “I would wish that anybody who needed to get clean and sober, whether it was off of drugs or alcohol, we could do it by just taking a wand and touching them on the head. That would be my dream.”
Stacy Crenshaw of Billie’s Pecans keeps it simple when it comes to her advice for others: “Always enjoy what you do and make sure you stay balanced between family and career.” Image: Lisa Buser
When it comes to advice, Luckett Media founder Whitney Luckett keeps it short and sweet: “Fail fast gracefully.”
“Don’t let anyone or anything make you think or feel you can’t do (nor discourage you from doing) what you aspire to do,” advises musician Marcella Simien. “Be confident in your exploration, but you must be open to learn every single minute you’re alive. Listen and learn. Don’t miss out on an opportunity because you’re afraid of the risks. Jump in and jump out of your comfort zone.”
What wonderful advice for starting a new year!
Thanks to Micki Martin, who was the principal photographer for most of our FACES.
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