As we wrap up the year, we hope you are inspired by the abundance of advice and insights offered today from our FACES of 2014. We certainly are.
Cynthia Allen, community involvement manager for Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation
Best advice you have ever received?
The best advice was definitely to treasure every moment with your children and take a million pictures, which I pass along to every new parent I encounter, because they grow much too fast and you can’t turn back time.
I believe we all have purpose, and our past (good or bad) makes us who we are today. So rather than living a life of regrets or wishing things were different back then, you have the opportunity today to use it all for the good of others and great is your reward in that.
Kontji Anthony, anchor and reporter for WMC-TV 5
If you could use your visible job as a newsperson to change one thing about Memphis, what would it be?
It would be to bridge differences between people. I meet so many people from every walk of life on a regular basis. As I go along, I see so many commonalities across the board. I think we all share the need to feel a sense of belonging. I would encourage people to consider stepping outside of their comfort zones now and again to meet someone new.
Shelley Arthur, director of Buntyn Preschool
What are three tips you can offer for gracefully striking a balance in life?
I am seriously laughing at the way you phrased this question! No one who knows me would ever describe me as “gracefully balanced.” There are, however, a few rules I live by:
- Patience with whatever throws a kink in the day you’ve mapped out.
- Being willing to get off the “busy bus” of social obligations with no regrets.
- Scheduling free time for you the same way you would for your spouse or children. If you are not recharged and rejuvenated, you are only able to give them your leftovers. No one benefits from a worn-out woman!
Lindsay Ballew and Laurian Scott, founders of the Thisbe and Noah Scott Foundation (TNSF)
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Laurian: “No one will help you until you find the gene.” This was said to me by Dr. Frangoul at Vanderbilt as I was holding my sick baby boy in my lap and begging him to help me save him. Dr. Frangoul’s words were a catalyst that motivated me to refocus my energy through TNSF to help look for the BVVL gene. Finding the gene has opened the door to be able to do research and start looking for treatments and cures. It even opened the door for me to be able to have healthy twins later.
Lindsay: There are two sides to every story.
Carmen Bond, owner of Social, a shop for gracious living
What do you enjoy most about owning your own store?
I really love digging and searching for beautiful things. I can’t have all of them, so owning a shop and sharing them with others satisfies a huge itch for me. Also, I really have met some great people along the way. Everyone has been so supportive, and it has been great when people have given me tips or constructive criticism to help me grow as a person and a businesswoman. I still have so much to learn, and I welcome this growth.
Carrie Brady, a community leader
What’s your favorite quote?
“The really wonderful moments of joy in this world are not moments of self-satisfaction, but self-forgetfulness.” (John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life.)
Colleen DePete, restaurateur and overseer of the River Oaks restaurant
How do you manage to strike a balance between work time and family time, when often they are one and the same?
People are often surprised we have been together more than 20 years. We work extremely well together and we have a rule: Do not talk about work when we leave. Our relationship has withstood the heat of the kitchen because we have mutual respect and appreciate each other’s sense of humor.
Chantal Drake, director of communications at Dixon Gallery and Gardens
When did you know that you would go into a communications career?
Honestly, when I started working at the Dixon. I have a B.A. in art history and studied art history and museum studies in graduate school. Although I had experience in communications through various jobs and internships, I didn’t know I was headed in this direction until I became the communications associate at the Dixon in 2010. I would have never imagined being in this position when I started out — but now, I can’t imagine it any other way!
Kallen Esperian, Memphis-based, world-renowned opera singer
What are some guiding words you live by or perhaps a favorite quote?
“Where there is a will, there is a way.” My mother’s favorite quote. I wear a bracelet inscribed with those words, in memory of Mama.
My three most important rules in life are: “to be kind, to be kind and to be kind.”
Kathy Farris, instructor for the Fashion Design program at the Memphis College of Art
Do you have a favorite quote or piece of advice you’d like to share?
Everyone is fighting their own battle that you know nothing about, so remember to be nice. I have to remind myself of this every day.
Kate Gassaway, a board-certified family nurse practitioner, health care entrepreneur and owner of Solutions Medical Center
“No one can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending!” I have no idea where I read that or who said it, but it has been my motto ever since I can remember.
Elizabeth Heiskell, founder of Woodson Ridge Community Supported Agriculture Shares (CSA) program with her husband, Luke
If you could communicate one thing to our readers about nurturing our bodies, what would it be?
Buying local is absolutely one of the most important things you can do. Knowing where your food comes from is a huge part of getting processed foods out of your diet. Also, learn to cook! Buying and eating locally is about eating seasonally. Learning how to make 18 different tomato dishes in the summer or cabbage dishes in the winter is key.
Carissa Hussong, executive director of the Metal Museum
What are some basic words of wisdom you can offer based on your professional experience?
If it isn’t a little scary, it is probably not worth doing.
JJ Keras, Memphis-based lifestyle consultant
Is there an overriding characteristic of the events that you organize?
You have to throw a little sauce on the party … show people a good time, give them a break from reality. I do all my ordering and administrative work during the day, but I get my best ideas at night. I’m not a morning person at all.
Dr. Felicia Knightly, head veterinarian with the Memphis Zoo
What are some guiding words you live by or perhaps a favorite quote?
“Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Molly Lambert, owner of Maggie Louise Bridal in Collierville
What inspires you most in your professional and private life?
Following God, by a long shot. As long as I keep my focus on Him, I have the faith to know that anything is possible and the ability to share my love and passion with everyone who walks through my doors. My hope is to be able to look back knowing that I’ve seized all the opportunities at my door and diligently used the gifts and blessings I’ve been given to make the most of my time here. If you had told me that by 25 years old, I’d have Maggie Louise, I wouldn’t have believed you. But that alone has inspired me and shown me the sky is the limit. My family, fiancé and friends are also the backbone and inspire me daily to do my best.
Julie Lansky, the third generation of the Lansky Bros. retail business, and buyer and marketing manager for all four Lansky Bros. shops
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
On the first day of work, my dad told me, “When you own your own business, you create your own destiny.”
Tramica Morris, mother of 12-year-old Moziah Bridges, the founder of Mo’s Bows design company
Do you have a mantra or basic words of wisdom you can offer based on your experience as a mom and entrepreneur?
Mo and I were on a flight from Los Angeles one day, and I had the pleasure of sitting next to Vivian Ayers Allen, the strikingly beautiful mother to Debbie Allen and Phylicia Rashad. She shared with me her personal mantra, “Listen to your children, and lead from behind.”
Caren Nichol, attorney, member of the board of directors at Evans Petree, Fox News Legal Analyst, cancer survivor, wife and mother
Did you make a New Year’s resolution for 2014?
Two: To help the young lawyers in my firm establish their practices and to have as much fun as possible. I have officially been in remission for five years and am no longer considered a cancer risk, so this year I am going to celebrate.
Neely Woodson Powell, founder of The Charleston Shoe Company
Best advice you have ever received? Favorite quote?
I think my family has always instilled in me an appreciation for life and the magnificence and wonder of a sunset, a blooming flower, the sea — all the most simple aspects of life. This wonder inspires me to not to waste one minute of this precious life, to enjoy it, smile and laugh. I think the advice of going for anything under the notion that life is magical and short. We shouldn’t wait for things to happen to us, we should make them happen!
“There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Nelson Mandela
Susan Schadt, recently retired CEO of ArtsMemphis, new owner of Wild Abundance Publishing
What is key to a successful day in the professional life of Susan Schadt?
Open dialogue and checking in with team members! The walls in our office do not go to the ceiling, so any conversation is an open one. This creates a lot of energy and a wealth of ideas. All that has happened at ArtsMemphis is the result of wonderful board members, talented staff members and generous volunteers. One key member of our team is my successor, Elizabeth Rouse. She has been with ArtsMemphis for eight years as an indispensable staff member and has served in many roles since her arrival. She is totally ready to take my place when I retire in December.
Shantih Smythe, local restaurateur who co-owns two local restaurants with her husband, Bert: McEwen’s on Monroe and Alchemy in Cooper-Young
Please share a few words of wisdom or perhaps your favorite quote.
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor E. Frankl
Julie Spear, floral designer, Memphis Garden Club member and a Garden Club of America Flower Show judge
What’s the best advice you have ever received?
“Julie, it’s really important to learn the Latin names of plant materials, because it’s just like people. If you know who they are related to, then you know why the heck they act that way!” — My grandmother
Emily Tickle Thomas, cancer survivor, founder of The Cancer Card Xchange
Based on The Cancer Card Xchange experience, what advice would you give others?
You don’t have to have a lot of money to do something, to help someone. Don’t wait for the perfect time or when you can do something bigger or more impressive. You don’t have to have every single thing planned out. Just do something. I started The Cancer Card Xchange with the purchase of a domain name, a Facebook page and a post office box. And now we have given almost 1,000 people close to $100,000 worth of gift cards in three years’ time.
Holly Whitfield, I Love Memphis blogger and social media strategist for the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau
What are some words of wisdom you can offer based on your professional experience?
Don’t have “impostor syndrome.” Don’t think, “What if people find out that I don’t really know what I’m doing?” The truth is that no one has a perfect map of what they should do with their career; everyone is making it up as they go along, and then using their skills and work ethic to fill in the rest. This is especially important for young women. Ladies, let’s look at what we’ve accomplished, at what we’ve earned, and let’s own it.
Felicia Suzanne Willett, owner and executive chef of Felicia Suzanne’s restaurant
Best advice you have ever received? Favorite quote?
I had one of my mentors tell me that I needed to ask for help. If I didn’t learn to delegate, then the restaurant wouldn’t stay around. If I had to be in charge of everything, I wouldn’t be around. Trust people and put them in good positions.
What a group of amazing women! Thank you for sharing yourselves with our readers this year!
A new year is knocking on our doors, and it’s going to be a happy one at StyleBlueprint Memphis! In 2015, we will continue to build the SB Memphis Guide, launch the SB Memphis app and introduce SB Weekend! Stay tuned!