We’ve always believed that forming a strategy is impossible until your clear on what your values and principles are. Without values and principles to guide you, making decisions can seem impossibly difficult. Given how important setting values and principles is to decision making we asked folks we admire to tell us about the values or principles that matter most to them.

Scott Felix | Director

The answer to this question will be changing for the rest of my life, but as of right now creatively speaking, it’s about the merit of filmmaking. I’m only 27, but my entire adult life has been dedicated to telling stories and now more than ever, there seems to be a turning point. Granted I didn’t go to film school. Everything that I’ve learned for the most part has been self taught, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. I feel like using the word cinema nowadays is a bit pretentious, but I could argue that it needs to be used now more than ever. It places the art of film on a pedestal that it deserves to be on. If we can agree that movies are an art form, then comparing it to others like paintings, music, and poetry, it’s clear that the art of film is still young. And just like the ages of painting, film will go through its own stages. The reason why my answer is the merit of filmmaking, is because of the age of content we find ourselves in. Read more>>

Amy and Karen Tung and Elano | Co-Founders

The world is full of so much unknown, but as humans we have the privilege to make certain choices that can add a little bit of certainty to our own lives and other people’s lives. If these choices are made with integrity, we believe that the world can be a better place one choice at a time. Integrity means following through with the promises and things that you agreed to do. It means being loyal, honest, trustworthy, and responsible. Having integrity means being able to admit when you are wrong and being willing to help fix things. The world shifts so much and can change in a blink of an eye, but being a dependable person helps ground the chaos just a little bit for others. Sometimes life happens and you can’t always follow through but it’s ok. We are always learning and evolving. As long as we have integrity in mind, we can keep moving forward with caring for ourselves and others for a more collectively content space for all. Read more>>

Tammy Le | Co-Founder LoveMade + Director of Communications Will.i.am

Integrity and authenticity. Integrity is being your word, being honest and having strong moral values. Having integrity builds trust and strong relationships with people. It builds the brands reputation and how people perceive the company. I think integrity is important in every aspect of your life and business. Authenticity is being true to yourself and your brand. Our company is founded on the idea of always doing what you love and what you are passionate about. We try to empower and inspire people to always be authentic and follow their heart. Read more>>

Phil Svitek | Podcaster, Filmmaker & 360 Creative Coach

Not too long ago I got turned onto the idea of resume vs eulogy values. This resonated deeply with me. In short, resume virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy ones are those that are talked about at your funeral. And while I’d instinctively focused on eulogy values more, hearing it stated so simply and clearly reinforced my resolve to strive towards eulogy values. Some people might say this leads to your career taking a backseat. I’ve found the opposite. “Life is too short” as the adage goes, and I’ve noticed that people are much more apt to work with you if you have the talent AS WELL AS humility, humbleness, kindness and so on. Likewise, these are qualities I seek in those work with. By doing so, it’s made me much happier and my work more meaningful. Read more>>

Amber Claire | Singer, Songwriter and Interviewer

I believe in doing the right thing by others and giving back as much as possible. I think that when you put good karma out there, it often comes back to you twice as much, in so many positive ways, Integrity is everything. Read more>>

Angie Scarpa | Musician and Director

I know that sounds like a weird, pretentious answer, but in art, I feel like it really is all that matters. For many years now, my entire life has been wrapped up in live performance. Either playing music in front of a crowd or directing, (stage directing, production managing etc) live shows. In life I’ve made records for very big labels and very small ones. I’ve directed tiny indie features and written scripts that were in consideration at major studios. I’ve directed live shows for thousands of people, directing large huge crews, with massive amounts of equipment, and I’ve done shows in tiny clubs, where I lit the whole thing with a mag light, while running the sound board myself… and, in my opinion, the one element that separated the successes from the failures was honesty. I feel like remaining true to yourself and making yourself happy is really all we have. The best art projects that, regardless of venue or form. When I’ve gotten wrapped up in trying to make other people happy or trying to “sell the project” it has almost universally ended in failure. Read more>>

Asif “As If !” Khan | Music Producer

Letting things happen naturally. So important to remind myself this often. As a person who is used to acting upon impulsive, I learned a lot of lessons to why trusting the process of your journey is valuable. I used to have a major fear of failure growing up, which always led me to overthinking, and overthinking would always result into not even trying. I then learned that there’s no such thing as rejection. When things may not go as expected, whether if it’s not getting that acceptance letter from that university or meeting the artist you been looking forward to working with, it absolutely doesn’t mean that you failed. From my own experiences, I can confidently say that this means that the timing for the achievement, blessing, etc, may not be present for you yet. It also means that there is something better that is on the way instead. That’s why you gotta let things be and focus on solution and growth. In simple terms, let things be organic. Read more>>

Rachel Mathieu | Actor & Writer

“It has long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them, they went out and happened to things.” This quote is most commonly attributed to Leonardo da Vinci; it’s been one of my favorites for a long time. To me, it highlights the value that I’ve held on to most closely during the course of my career in the performing arts. Waiting for opportunities to present themselves to you is a long, laborious, and often futile process. The people that find the most success are those that create opportunity for themselves. I’ve found this to be true countless times in professional settings, both for myself and for the people I admire. So many of the best new voices in film have come from people that used a self-starter, entrepreneurial mentality to launch their careers: Phoebe Waller-Bridge creating Fleabag from the script of her one-woman show, Issa Rae turning her web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl into the hit show Insecure. Read more>>

Abis Akolawala | Videographer, Photographer & Editor

Professionalism is crucial in the video production & photography world. The basic concepts like showing up on time, not wasting peoples’ time, being prepared and most importantly, how you conduct yourself while on set with the client and talent. This is important to me because you’re representing your own business & brand when you show up to a shoot and if you make a terrible impression on a client, you’re not going to get continued business with that client and they won’t refer you to anyone. And yes, word spreads so if you’re working in LA, things tend to catch up with you. Read more>>

Mary Jane Cole | Digital Photographer, Painter, & Tattoo Artist

Respect stands out as one of the the most important values to me. I’ve always felt that if you truly have respect for yourself and others, it encompasses most of the other values. You learn to show more gratitude and to be honest and authentic in your communication. Respect cultivates understanding and empathy which drowns out anger. You naturally work harder when you have a real respect for the work you’re doing and the people it will impact. And an important facet I find myself constantly working on is Self-Respect. As a Business Owner, feeling pride and confidence in your work is pivotal. If you don’t believe in what you’re creating, why should anyone else?. Read more>>

Miriam Gitelman | Chef & Owner of Coco Jolie Fine Chocolates

The core principle of our business is integrity. It’s key to the work we do day-to-day, as well as how we go about sourcing our ingredients and supplies. For reasons I can’t completely explain, I’ve always had a very strong sense of justice. Even as a child, when I saw something I knew was wrong, or a person or animal being mistreated, I would speak up (and in circumstances where I couldn’t, it would eat at me for a long time). When I started Coco Jolie, I knew that I would only use organic, fair trade or direct trade chocolate, as well as similarly certified ingredients wherever possible. Specifically because of the long history of child labor abuse and farmer exploitation in the cacao supply chain, it was very important to me to ensure that our chocolate come from traceable sources where farmers were being paid a living wage, able to reinvest in their communities, and utilize farming practices which support a healthy and sustainable environment. Read more>>

Laura Jane Jones | Musician, Songwriter and Producer

I have learned over the years that the two most important principles for me in working with other people and developing relationships is ethics, integrity and knowledge of the business. This may sound a bit harsh because we all have learned and gained knowledge of the business from experience, so perhaps I should reframe that. I have learned I need to work with people that at least want to gain the proper knowledge of the business. I think word is bond. This business can be a slippery slope if you don’t know what is what. It is important to respect artists and the art we create. Yet is also important to know and understand the rules and the actual laws in place for the business. I think one of the most intriguing things that I have found is songwriters misunderstanding their role in actual songwriting, and when partnerships in songwriting teams go separate ways, that even if the team has gone separate ways – individuals can still write, re-produce and release the song they wrote. Read more>>

ZsaZsa K. | Gallery Director & Curator

Galeria Vida was founded on & continues to function on the primary principle of inclusivity. Despite societal progress, there is still room for improvement re: art galleries providing equal opportunities for artists who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized. We make it a priority to seek out minority creative groups, such as female identifying, BIPOC, self-taught, under-age, elders, and/or culturally oriented artists. We’ve incorporated art world interviews, as well as group exhibits, to expand our virtual gallery space. We’re also very interested in opening the general categories of “fine art” to include sound (music and alternative audio soundtracks) and video (performance and film). Read more>>

Ryan Hellquist | Actor & Producer

Compassion is the value that matters most to me. Defined as a sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. The way I see it, the more compassion humanity expresses, the more we will help the greater good and improve the quality of all life on earth. It starts with compassion for yourself and the ones closest to you. Then it spreads throughout your community. You can feel the difference when you are in a community of people where compassion is held in high value. A community that values compassion nurtures more compassionate people. I believe greed to be the most destructive factor in a global community of life. Greed, defined as a selfish and excessive desire for more of something than is needed, is very much the opposite of compassion. Greed is unsustainable and does not cultivate a balance of resources or benefit the greater good. Read more>>

Mike Van Gorder | Urban Planner, Activist & Punk Rocker

Art, storytelling, filmmaking, punk rock, or hell, telling a joke – it’s all about celebrating the moment, connecting to that joyfulness that we need to find meaning in ourselves and purpose to our lives. I write stuff and play stuff and perform because I love it, because it brings me joy, and if I can share that with other people it multiplies that joy. And with regards to my family, let me tell you, hearing my toddler sing a song I wrote for her – hearing her demand “Daddy’s song! Daddy’s song!” in the car – that is joy. She’s got perfect pitch and she’s two years old. If you’re asking me as an activist and a professional, that value is equity. I’m the child of the suburban middle class, and yet all the tools that previous generations used to build their wealth and independence have basically disintegrated – I can’t ‘work my way through college’, and I can’t buy a house on just one income. Read more>>

Lauren Kellim & Erin Conklin | Humble & Grand | Co Founders and Sisters at Humble & Grand

In the early days of our company, we really focused on Simplicity, Authenticity, and Sustainability as core values. Those are still central to all decision-making within Humble and Grand. But what we have discovered is that trust is actually the most important principle for us. We have learned that we must trust our abilities, the knowledge, and the skills we hold to help others. We must trust the process. We must continue to put our love for what we do above financial successes because when you trust in your work, you do it for the greater good of others. Then when you continue to help people and inspire them they have trust in you. So it ends up being a much more reciprocal principle. Which really is a backbone to any good sustainable business, Trust. So I suppose now, Trust and Trustworthiness are principles that matter the most to us. Read more>>

Arius Ziaee | Freelance Animator and Illustrator

What I value most is being open minded and non judgmental. There’s of course healthy judgment, but I’m talking about deciding you don’t like something or someone before really interacting. I used to get so caught up in trying to make art in a particular and consistent way and would constantly analyze and judge my work, which made art making burdensome. Once I started experimenting with different ways of creating and let up on consistency it opened me up and I spent less time overthinking and found so much creative freedom and intuitive expression. Art making can be fun, personal and cathartic, don’t let it become something that’s competitive or compared and judged. Moving away from judgment and being more open minded has opened my world to so much, such as meeting lots of wonderful people, discovering lots of amazing music, going to exciting events. Read more>>

Joanna Syiek | Director/Producer

I think tenacity is a value whose importance cannot be understated. In life, whether in creative pursuits or in more regimented work, you will find yourself faced with a lot of “no”s, hiccups in plans, and obstacles standing between you and your desired goal. Being willing to step back, reassess, and reapproach the problem with a new idea or mindset can literally be the reason why the show goes on or project is successful. I admire those that have incredible determination when it comes to realizing their goals, and try to push forward my own level of tenacity by surrounding myself with a community of people that aren’t afraid of a good challenge. Challenges are how we grow. Read more>>

Alex Wakeen | Artist & Creative Entrepreneur

The value or principle that matters most to me is one from the late Bishop Miquail M. Broadous Sr. He says to start where you are, use what you got, and do what you can. The reason why this principle matters to me is because a lot of time the thing that stops us from reaching our full potential is the feeling of not having enough. When you start where you are, you accept that just because you start here, doesn’t mean you will end there. When you use what you got, you find the unique aspects of of you are just based off of what you have access too. Last but not least you do what you can because that’s the motivation and the activation required and needed to keep everything moving forward to the ultimate end goal. Read more>>

Bryan Grant | Founder & Executive Creative Director

I love this question because our core values shape everything we do.  When I started Bryan Grant Studios it was important for me to treat every artist, producer, and client with respect and integrity.  This also means we value the work that comes into the studio, while not taking anything for granted. We work tirelessly to be the best at what we do while always pushing ourselves to listen and learn in order to be growing and adding the greatest value to the projects we produce. Read more>>

Alice Funk | Creator

Be kind to others. I’m not sure when this became a value that mattered to me, but when I look back this is something I find myself doing all the time. In my personal life, I have experienced losing a loved one and understand what it means when someone lives a life with a life-threatening disease. This doesn’t just affect the person that lost her/his life or the person that has to manage the disease, it affect all those around the person who care and provide support. Being kind doesn’t cost you anything or require you to make any additional effort, but it might just make someone’s day that much better. We don’t know what others are going through so be kind. Read more>>