Note: This piece is part of an ongoing community outreach series. If you know somebody who should be featured in a future piece, have an idea for a story you think the community should hear, or if you have advice of your own – let us know!


We’re a big fan of surrounding ourselves with people far smarter than ourselves and learning from their experience and advice so we set off on a mission.

We asked 29 local business and community leaders to share with us their best words of wisdom that we could share with the community.. We left the context for this open – some provided inspirational quotes from people they looked up to, other provided quotes of their own, and some provided specific advice.

We were amazed at the response and truly thankful for their responses, which we’ve shared with you below (in alphabetical order).

1. Tim Baker – Allstate Insurance, Owner/Agent

“Owning a business is like taking care of your health. The more you put into it, the healthier it becomes. Although you have the freedom, as an owner, to relax a bit, the outcome is the same as when you relax on your eating and exercise goals. Finding balance in your business and in your life is of the utmost importance to be successful in both.”
-Tim Baker

2. Scott Balsley – Creative Works Farm / Camp LIGHT, Founder/PresidentCreative Works Farm

“We are put here with on earth to help one another.”
-Professor Mark Cline, Enchanted Castle Studios

“Helping the children is the reward and the friends you make along the way is the bonus.”
-Scott Balsley

3. Dr. Eric Bond – Augusta County Public Schools, SuperintendentAugusta County Public Schools

“An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”
-Thomas Jefferson


4. Lynne Breeden – LTD 7, FounderLTD 7

“The biggest mistake a small business can make is to think like a small business.”

5. Christina Cain – Staunton Creative Community Fund, Executive Director

Staunton Creative Community Fund
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
-Mahatma Gandhi

“Our lives are not as limited as we think they are; the world is a wonderfully weird place; consensual reality is significantly flawed; no institution can be trusted, but love does work; all things are possible; and we could all be happy and fulfilled if we only had the guts to be truly free and the wisdom to shrink our egos and quit taking ourselves so damn seriously.”
-Tom Robbins

6. Ernie Campbell – Evermore Construction, Owner

Evermore Construction
“Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there. ”
-John Wooden

“Just do what’s right. That’s what I tell my team. Character is what makes us different, sets us apart, and makes people come back.”
-Ernie Campbell

7. Peter Denbigh – Watch Ya’ Mouth!, Founder

If you’re not willing to face the abyss of choice, you will almost certainly not spend enough time dancing with opportunity.”
-Seth Godin

“Being challenged in life is inevitable.  Being defeated is optional.”
-Roger Crawford

8. Mark Frazier – NIBCO, Plant Manager

“Without data you’re just another person with an opinion.”
-W. Edwards Deming

“Winners do what losers refuse to do.”

9. Michelle Gallaugher – Staunton Olive Oil Company, Founder

Staunton Olive Oil Company

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

“Do not be afraid, just believe.”
Luke 8:50

“Just love. Love others. Love life. Love what you are doing. It matters, all of it!”
-Michelle Gallaugher

10. Robert Hampshire – Village Church, Pastor

Village Church

“Know the truth. It is our only weapon against the lies we believe.”

11. Walter Hansen – Viking Forge Design, CoFounder

Viking Forge Design
“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
-African Proverb

12. Jay Hawkins – Chick-Fil-A Waynesboro, Owner/Operator

“Everything rises and falls on leadership.”
-John C. Maxwell

“Learn to love your work and you will never work again.”
-Truett Cathy (Founder of Chick-Fil-A)

“A leader always takes personal responsibility to build leadership credibility before asking for a leadership opportunity.”
-Jay Hawkins

13. Brett Hayes – Zeus Digital Theaters, Founder

Zeus Digital Theaters

“No one ever got in shape riding a bicycle downhill.”

“The biggest lies are the one entrepreneurs tell themselves.”

“The meaning of life is purpose. The greatest purpose is to serve others.”

14. Kim Hebb – SVOE, Program Development

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
-Matthew 7:12 (ESV)

“A low price can be attractive, but great service is beautiful.”

15. Chrissy Johnson – Vector Industries, CEO

Vector Industries

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
-Wayne Dyer

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
-Winston Churchill

“You have a 100% chance of ‘NO’ if you don’t ask.”

16. Kathleen Kellett – Kathleen Kellett’s Real Estate Team, Owner/Agent
Kathleen Kellett's Real Estate Team

“People don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.”

“Don’t lead with money on your brain, but your clients best interests’ in your heart and the rewards will come.”
-Kathleen Kellett

17. Sara Kite – The Faded Poppy, Creative Director/CoFounder

The Faded Poppy


“You can’t look at the competition and say you’re going to do it better. You have to look at the competition and say you’re going to do it differently.” -Steve Jobs

18. Delegate Steve Landes – Virginia’s House of Delegates, 25th District

Delegate Steve Landes

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
-Theodore Roosevelt

19. Bill Lenherr – Greenbrier Technologies & Electric, CEO

Greenbrier Technologies & Electric

“It’s all about relationships… instead of walking through the door with a stack of product literature and telling the customer what they need to buy you should get to know the customer. Ask them to show you what their business does and you will be surprised how much they enjoy telling you their story. Through that process you will develop a better understanding for how your services align with their business.”
-Bill Lenherr

20. Julie Markowitz – Staunton Downtown Development Association, Executive Director

Staunton Downtown Development Association

“What’s interesting to me is that the handbook for making meaningful change on talent retention and attraction is still being written.  For Detroit, and all other cities for that matter, the talent question will determine their fate. Without people, place-making becomes a pipe dream.”
-Josh McManus

21. Greg Mayo – Cornerstone Church of Augusta, Pastor

Cornerstone Church of Augusta

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
-Jim Elliot, martyred missionary at the age of 28

22. Debbie Ramsey – Love, INC, Executive Director

Love INC

“Only God Can Turn A Mess Into a Message,
A Test Into A Testimony,
A Trial Into A Triumph,
A Victim Into A Victory.”

23. Susan Read – Black, Noland, & Read, PLC, Partner/Attorney

Black, Noland, & Read, PLC

“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”
-Thomas Edison

24. Dr. Linda Reviea – Staunton City Public Schools, Superintendent

Staunton City Public Schools

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” or “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” -Benjamin Franklin

“Learn something new every day.” -Grayce Dalton (her grandmother)

25. Rebecca Simmons – Valley Children’s Advocacy Center, Executive Director

Valley Children's Advocacy Center


“You must have a game plan. If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” -Dave Ramsey

26. Sheriff Donald Smith – Augusta County Sheriff’s Office

Augusta County Sheriff's Office

“When God sees you doing your part, developing what he has given you, then he will do his part and open doors that no man can shut.”
-Joel Osteen

27. Joe Sullivan – Vohtr, Founder


“With any venture, always focus on continuous improvement. Propose an idea of how to execute faster, better, or cheaper. Try it! Did it work? Great! Over time your efficiency gains will help you outpace your competition, leaving you more time to innovate and adjust to changing market demands. Did it fail? Great. Failure can lead to new skills, or new insights into how to do something difficult or untested.”
-Joe Sullivan

28. Minnie Stevenson – Kline May Realty, Realtor

Kline May Realty

“To give real service you must add something that cannot be bought or measured by money, that is integrity and sincerity.”
-Douglas Adams

“Everyone has been given a talent in life. Your job is to find out what your talent is an use it to your fullest potential.”

29. Steve Wittenberg – iHeartMedia, Sr. Account Executive


“Be not afraid”
-Saint John Paul II

“Never, never, never, never give up.”
-Winston Churchill

“You can get what you want in life if you help others get what they want.”
-Zig Ziglar


And before we leave – 3 last quotes, from your Valley Inbound team!

Valley Inbound

Vital Boisset

Vital Boisset

“Patience and time do more than strength or passion.”
-La Fontaine

“Many a false step was made by standing still.”
-Tim Ferris

Dan Taylor

Dan Taylor

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
-Winston Churchill

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”
-Richard Branson

Evan Pettrey

Evan Pettrey

“Hard work and intense focus does not guarantee success but success is usually impossible without it.”

“The most motivational speeches I have ever heard came from people who told me something wasn’t possible.”


How’s that for some nuggets of wisdom?! Thank you to everybody who took the time to share their thoughts with the community!

If you have any words of wisdom of your own you’d like to share, be sure to let us know in the comments or send us an email!