In our view, values and principles are the foundation upon which our lives, careers and relationships are built. So, we asked folks we admire to open up to us about the values and principles that matter most to them.

Ashley M. Ratcliff | Author, Advocate & Speaker

Gratitude is something that has anchored me throughout my life. When I take inventory of all that I have to be grateful for, I’m immediately put in a positive state of mind. Problems that seem daunting become approachable, and situations that seem impossible suddenly feel tangible. I have a lot to be grateful for and I don’t take it for granted. I’m filled with immense gratitude for my faith, family, friends, career, body, mind, creativity, health and so much more. Since 2013, I’ve been maintaining a “Blessings Jar,” wherein I catalogue all the good things that come my way — from the small wins like finding a $20 bill in a coat pocket while purging my closet for clothes to donate, to the major victories like becoming a bestselling author on Amazon. It’s become my New Year’s Day tradition to literally count my blessings from the previous year. Approaching each day with a grateful heart is something that keeps me centered. Read more>>

Andrew Gutierrez | Film Director/Storyteller

The values and principles that I value most are honesty and gratitude. It seems that both of those principles seem to have gotten lost in the fast paced world of our society. Lying is so prevalent in our culture that it is not even regarded as something negative but rather just apart of how we deal with people on the daily. I don’t know, maybe I am just “old school” but I value when people are honest with me, both, professionally and in my personal relationships. In addition, I believe I owe it to people to be honest with them. Honesty builds trust. In order for me to have trust with my friends and co-workers there needs to be honest conversations. If I am developing a screenplay with a producer or screenwriter or working with a cinematographer on our visual approach there must be honesty. If something isn’t working or we are headed down the wrong path, we have to stop and say something. We have to be willing to take the risk of being honest. this is what I want from the people I work with and this is what I give. Read more>>

Michelle Kopacz | Jewelry Designer + PE Teacher + Actor

A person’s character is the most important principle to me. Being honest and trustworthy and dependable all add up to good characteristics in a human being. Doing what you say you’ll do, keeping open lines of communication, showing up…I truly believe that if you are good just to be good it will all work out in the end. Read more>>

Arilia Winn | Author & Publisher

One of the principles that matters to me the most is, “Honor your family.” I take a lot of pride in my last name and the generations of families that we’ve been connected to and have postively impacted over the decades. Read more>>

Shelbi Herring | Owner, Copa Fina Wine Imports

For me, it all comes down to pride. Pride in your work impacts everything you do: you care about the outcome. You work harder. You drive better results. This ripples through the entire supply chain: a winemaker who makes wine with pride? You can taste it. Customers that are proud of their wine lists are the most fun to work with, and the most rewarding. It is a key characteristic I look for in all of our employees. We don’t sell super trendy, cult wines… we sell approachable, everyday wines with the intent to surprise and delight our customers. When our sales reps are proud of these wines, they work harder, do a better job representing our products, and ultimately deliver better service to our customers. It is the backbone of our culture and our reputation. Read more>>

Kristen Harris | Leatherworker

It never hurts to take a step back from yourself to “check in” and maintain good practice in keeping two feet on the ground.
Humility is a value that has always appealed to me and further, drawn a distinct line between those who are (for example) successful and REAL successful. The difference, to me, is monumental. My personal idea of one who is “REAL successful” carries a lot more than just money in their pocket. They are anything but arrogant and continue to have an open mind no matter what they may have already achieved. They possess the unique and discreet quality of being (perhaps) the most successful person in a room but never choosing to let it be known….simply because their scale of “success” goes far deeper than appearance or acknowledgement. Because of humility, they understand that opportunity can be right under your nose and if you’re too busy sniffing your own “greatness”, you could miss out on something bigger and better. Read more>>

Ava Moreno | Creator of THE WORK by Ava | Yoga & Pilates Instructor & Movement Specialist

Integrity is the value that matters most to me. A few years ago when I began doing some work around values, my mission statement, purpose, direction, etc., integrity and authenticity kept coming up. Especially in today’s world where many people feel that they need to be like someone else to be successful, it can be so rare to find people who are unafraid to be fully and authentically themselves. I choose to step forward as my most honest and true self, to uphold integrity in not just my business but in all aspects of my life, and it’s been my North Star to help guide me on my path. I try to get quiet and really listen to what feels right, and let that lead me. I’ve seen many people around me over the years fall victim to trying to be liked, to gain a following, etc., and can sometimes lose their integrity in that pursuit. I want to be a role model to others to always stand up for what’s right, to be true to yourself, and to trust that the rest will fall into place. Read more>>

Assaf Raz |

Through my life, I grew to understand that the world, which I “see,” is a byproduct of my own goggles. Due to that, I appreciate the endless opportunity to reevaluate and choose my actions. I hold this to be a inalienable right, irrespective of consensus or lack of. The above ethos runs through the core of our company. The employees are free to express themselves, regardless to the subject or sensitivity. In my view, it has helped us to nourish a strong bond, which carried us through troubled times. Read more>>

KarmaNia Smart | Reiki Practitioner & Entrepreneur

I think the value that matters most to me is faith. Having faith is something that I hold very close to me. It is the driving force in all that I do. Having faith in the Universe, my higher power, and my own potential is what keeps me motivated and willing to take risk. I think the ability to have faith in times where there is a lot of uncertainty is a gift. Sometimes we can get stuck in what we see and hear, the physical world. But having faith goes beyond your senses, it allows you to tap into the belief that good things are still possible even in the hardest times of your life. My faith in myself allows me to take risks that scare the hell out of me. Even in the midst of doubt, I have this confidence that I will be guided and supported in my endeavors. In the context of my business, Starseed Botanica, faith definitely is the driving force. My faith in my own success allows for my creativity to flourish. Faith doesn’t put limits on your ideas. Read more>>

Ahmad Muhammad | Candle Maker

Honesty is very important to me. When it comes to all of my products, I am as honest as I can be about the all uses others can get out of it. I might add some flowery language to some of my listings but I genuinely believe everything that I put out there for my customers to enjoy, I’m just carrying the vibe that I get from my selections using words. That honesty I carry, comes with extensive testing and making sure that I am creating something that I would buy for myself. Read more>>

Bridget Weiser | Painter

What I value the most is consistency and discipline. I like my curiosity to lead me towards emotions and ideas that I have never felt before. I thinks it’s really important to follow a feeling. Seeing each day as opportunity to create something really gets me going. I don’t like to paint the same way twice so the more experiments, the better. I just keep showing up and seeing what happens. Itbuilds momentum. Inspiration is always there you just have to tap into it. When I feel relaxed and calm I am able to find a flow. The flow state is where I am able to really make good art. I lose space and time -it’s beautiful. It inspires me to become obsessed with the process. Read more>>

Selina Hall | Model/Model Mentor, & Graphic Designer

To those who know me, there’s never a time where I’m not preaching “keep going.” Perseverance and growth are important to me. It’s life, and what is life without trials & tribulations? Or times that we feel like crawling up in a ball and sleeping the days away? I’ve always felt like circumstances are temporary and can always be changed even if the only option is to be uncomfortable making the change. We must leave our comfort zones to do the the things that are for the betterment of our lives. As a result, we grow. Either it becomes a lesson or experience, either way we got through it. This is what keeps going each day of my life. It’s the principle. Read more>>

Amylee Amos | Dietitian Nutritionist and Founder of The Amos Institute

Above all, our business seeks to operate with integrity. There are so many charlatans in the in the field surrounding treatment and management of chronic diseases. On both personal and professional levels, our team has had so much experience with businesses and practices that prey off of people’s fear of diseases like Alzheimer’s disease to make a profit. We wanted our company to be the exact opposite. We work from a place of integrity, honesty, and kindness. Read more>>

Meagan Whitfield | Thrift & Lifestyle Blogger

The older I become the more I understand the principle of staying true to who I am. My mom always tell me, “Just do Meagan.” Whenever she tells me this, I have to reflect on what that means to me. Sometimes, I get so caught up in social media and compare myself to the “lavish” lifestyles portrayed by others. However, I’ve realized that my life is not meant to be like others. The only person I’m meant to be is simply Meagan. This principle has encouraged me to align every decision, thought, or idea with who I am. If it doesn’t feel, sound, or look like Meagan, then I simply don’t let it enter my space. I have found peace in knowing I am simply enough. Read more>>

Alena Steen | Farmer

My partner and I are building a small farm in service to the other-than-human world. In practice, this looks like an incredible amount of biodiversity (more than 230 species of medicinal plants and cut flowers on one acre!), regenerative (non-certified) organic farming practices and a deep commitment to building healthy soil biology. This appreciation of a world beyond the simply human is also reflected in our small farm’s economy of slow growth and handcraft. We are working at nature’s pace to grow something sustainable and community-centered, with pollinators, migratory birds and soil microorganisms as a part of our cherished community. Read more>>

Josh Golombek | Actor

I have an incredible quote from one of my teachers, Dr. Patrick Leddin. He instilled in me something very simple, “Do what you say you are going to do.” This quote has stuck with me as I’ve been building my acting career, but has also been very applicable to my every day life. I aspire to be someone who is accountable, reliable, and trustowrthy, and this quote encompasses these principles. There are definitely additional values that I strive to uphold, but this one has been a big one for me recently!. Read more>>

Robin Hill Gray | Author, Editor, and Model

Out of all the principles, intuition is the most valuable principle to me because it is built on a myriad of things. Intuition is built on trust, honesty and vulnerability with oneself. I say this because you are more inclined to trust your gut when you believe in yourself and are honest about what you want. In creative industries this principle is even more so important because you have to be confident in every choice you make and a large part of being a creative is instinctual. There are many times when I have had to make decisions for my career that were nerve-wracking, and I allowed the uncomfortableness of where I was make the decision for me when all I needed to do was just focus on my intuition. I’ve discovered that in fostering my relationship with intuition I am able to make effective decisions that are free of worry and stress and ultimately lead me to what is in my best interest. Read more>>

Tanya DeFreitas | International Bestselling Author & Publisher

In business and in my personal life, integrity and commitment matter to me. I strongly believe in doing what is right because it is right and doing what is right even when no one else is watching. I also strongly believe that we should keep our commitments no matter how we feel. Feelings are fickle and inconstant. They change and they often lie to us. We have to be strong enough to override a feeling and emotion in order to maintain a commitment. These principles have served me well in life. Although I may have paid a higher price for walking in integrity and truth, in the end, I come out on top because I maintain these values and strive to keep my word. Read more>>

Nicholas Dolan | Actor and Medical Courier

For me, the most important thing in life is love. I know that sounds cheesy, but it is truly the backbone of my life. No matter what background, how much money you make, your religion, social class, etc. we all as humans crave love. We all want to love someone, and to feel loved by someone. However, it goes deeper than that. I, over the past year, have truly lived my life through love. What I mean by that is, I do everything I do in my life, with the intent of love. When I walk down the street, I walk with love, saying hi to someone, at work, playing sports, working out, talking to other people. This does not mean I walk around with a smile 24/7. I simply am just living. No judgments, no sitting in traffic flipping people off, I just live. Period. I look at nature. I never used to look around me. I was too stressed with the issues of life. Now I notice the flowers blooming, the beautiful green grass, the trees providing that coolness on a hot day. Read more>>

Jacques Lesure | Jazz Guitarist & Spiritual Life Coach

Integrity. We are a complex. We have thoughts, which generate feelings, which bring on words and actions. The alignment of all four are important. When they are aligned,,you are living and walking in integrity. This does NOT mean that you will be PERFECT or that your old missteps vanish. In integrity, you try to remedy the past as mush as possible,,and do your ABSOLUTE BEST going forward. You are who you SAY you are and how you publicly present yourself. Read more>>

Ian McCartor | Legacy Songwriter / Ashes Artist / Hospice Nurse

Spend your life serving others with what you love to do. People at the ends of their lives tell me this is one of the things that matter most. Read more>>

Katya Grasso | Singer/Songwriter

For me, authenticity has been a driving force throughout my career as a musician. I find that the songs that arise organically from my own experience and emotions are the ones that I am connected to most. It hasn’t been easy though, as sharing these songs means leaning into a lot of my vulnerabilities. When I first started my journey as a songwriter, I let the fear of being vulnerable take up a lot of space in my mind. I was hesitant to release my music into the world because I was afraid the songs were too personal. It felt like I was reading my diary to everyone that I knew…with a loudspeaker. Over time, I realized that telling stories that dive deep into the intricacies of emotion is what can connect musicians with their audiences. That’s what has always drawn me to music in the first place: the sense of a shared human experience. Read more>>

 Yana Kosteckova | Graphic Designer & Illustrator

I value my mental health now than ever before. I’ve always thought people-pleasing was the best characteristic about me; putting others first, and myself last has always been my “specialty.” Ever since my career has been taking off, I’ve learned the hard way how overwhelmed I get, even when I get the job done. When I’m working, I take the time to walk for 20 minutes a day, see my therapist once a week and meditate for 5 minutes (if I remember to). The most valuable piece of information my therapist told me is free time DOES NOT equal availability. Read more>>

Franziska Pugh | Publicist & Certified Hype Woman

What I value most in life and business is celebration. I believe that celebrating one’s business launches, a risky maneuver that worked out, small progress on the path of becoming a better version of oneself, and even failed attempts and bad decisions are integral in living a full and healthy life. That’s why I started my business on the principle of celebrating the stories of the creative community – those that are courageous enough to speak their authentic truth and build things so unique that they tell a story without the artist present. We live in a world where everything feels the same and labels are easily placed on boxes. It’s easy to overlook the in-between moments and everyday structure of life without taking a moment to celebrate its liveliness. When you place intention and value on the smallest gestures and biggest milestones, you have the unique opportunity to build contagious positivity into your life and your community. My hope is that by celebrating the moments of those around me, we can inspire more people to feel brave, feel worthy and share their gifts. We can create hope. Read more>>

Jasmyne Mangum | Skincare & Beauty

Equality. To me personally it’s one of the most powerful pieces about life. The moment you remove that equality component it creates chaos. Gender, race, religion and age are just a few examples that affect the worlds equality today. Growing up I wasn’t always treated the same as my peers, so as I grew I knew I wanted to make a difference. I created a family-based brand that values equality and the uniqueness of every age, every race and every person. My products are customizable, and we have natural products for everyone. I want everyone to feel good about themselves not only looking in the mirror but also the blessing of just existing. Life is such a beautiful thing and when people are treated equally it makes life that much better. Read more>>

Norman Clayton | Graphic Designer, Letterpress Printer & Book Maker.

Excellence and mastery are very important to me as a typographer, letterpress printer and book maker. For clients, I make books that are unique in their form and expression. For each book project, the paper, type, design and binding are carefully considered with choices driven by the content and intention of the client. While creative collaboration is the foundation of each book I design and make, striving for excellence with mastery of materials, typography and printing are always guiding principles. Read more>>

Na’imah Metoyer | Licensed Esthetician & V-Steam Facilitator

Self care is a value that matters most to me. “Self preservation is the first law of nature”. I feel that every human being on earth should take time to unplug and relax their mind and body at least twice a month. Doing so will help you find balance and peace, which will ultimately improve your health and wellness overall. It is very important to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself before anyone else. Once you have a fulfilling relationship with yourself you can then give to others. You can not pour from an empty cup. I always encourage my clients to choose whatever is good and nurturing for their well being because self care is very personal to each individual, as well as intentional. Read more>>