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Words of Wisdom from Cypress Women Who Lead

Cypress Businesswomen and Artists Share Life Lessons, Advice

Article by Erica Hernandez

Photography by Josh Olalde

Originally published in Cypress Lifestyle

Kimberly Colley

Executive Director, The Blue Bow Foundation, Inc.

What inspires you to continue your work with The Blue Bow Foundation?

I’d have to say that what inspires me most is knowing that we’re making a real, observable difference. When I have the privilege of talking with other police spouses, officers themselves or supporters of law enforcement, I am quickly reminded that what began from my passion for wanting to help and give back to others has grown into something life-changing. Every year, I look back at our growth and am so proud of where we have come from and where we’re going; and to see and hear the positive effect we have on police families is incredibly rewarding.

What advice would you give a young person who wants to give back to their local community?

I would ask them if they are expecting anything in return. Giving back because you genuinely want to help others is the most rewarding thing that you can do. Your true character is shown by what you do when no one is looking, and giving from a servant’s heart screams integrity.

What's one life lesson you've learned?

I think the most important one is that you never know until you ask or try. So many doors would never have opened for me if I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone and gone after exactly what I wanted.

Bree Wristers

Artist/Owner, BREE The Mural Girl

What inspires you to keep creating?

The smiles I get from clients and knowing I’ve made a lasting artistic impression on another family or business.

What advice would you give a young girl who wants to become an artist?

Work hard. Stay loyal. Always do exactly what you promise. Do not give up.  

To what do you attribute your success as a business owner and artist?

Hard work, continuing to rework the plan and truly putting my heart into each painting as if it was the only one I had.

Anita Bunkley

Author of Emily, The Yellow Rose and A Thousand Steps (Rinard Publishing)

What inspires you to write the kinds of stories you do?

I enjoy the research involved in writing historical novels and strive to portray unique periods in history from the African-American female point of view. When I come across an unusual tidbit of historical fact (or legend) that intrigues me, I feel compelled to explore it further and often wind up incorporating my findings into my novels.

What's one life lesson you've learned?

Remain open to change. Nothing stays the same. It is important to go with the flow, grow with the times and be patient when unsure about how to proceed. It is better to be cautious, rather than regretful, when pausing to reflect or consider how another point of view might have allowed you to avoid a difficult situation.

What advice would you give a young person who wants to become a writer?

Write about what you love, not what you think others want you to write. Study the craft of writing. Surround yourself with others who share your passion for the written word. Read, read, read in your chosen genre.

What's the best writing advice you've ever received?

When writing a novel, start as close to the end as possible. Only take advice or constructive criticism from those who have authored, edited or agented an impressive body of work.

Alejandra Febre

Franchise Owner, School of Rock Cypress

 What's the best advice you've ever received and why?

The best advice I have received is to never be afraid to surround myself with people who are better than me, people who will push me to become a better version of myself. Your job as a business owner is to inspire and lead the most talented individuals you are able to find and share your vision and make your dream become their dream.

How do you define success?

Success is a measure of the accomplishment of our dreams, but it is also a state of mind. Things usually don't go as planned, but our ability to adapt, to improvise and to change can turn any situation into a learning experience and the outcome into a positive result regardless of our original intent. As Thomas Alva Edison said, "I did not fail; I have learned 10,000 ways it won't work." Success is always persevering.

What advice would you give a young girl who wants to launch a business?

My advice for any young girl or woman who wants to launch a business would be: take a leap of faith and do it. However, plan ahead, do your research, take calculated risks and be prepared to work really hard and never give up because there will be obstacles in the way.

What's the most valuable lesson you've learned so far in life?

The most valuable lesson I have learned in life is to never define myself by the paradigms of others. We don't have to be what others expect us to be or limit ourselves by prejudices and preconceptions. We must be brave, we must question everything, we must think outside the box, we must stand for what we believe, and we need to be the most precious thing that we can be: our own selves.

Eileen Jones

Partner, Business Owner, Aire Serv of Houston Northwest and Katy, Klaus Brewing Company

To what do you attribute your success in business?

I have always been entrepreneurial even from a young age. I set goals so I have a target and surround myself with positive like-minded people.

What advice would you give a young person who wants to launch their own business?

Find something that you are passionate about. It is so much easier to put your heart into a business that you love and enjoy. I would recommend that they have a mentor who can guide and direct them.

What's one life lesson you've learned?

Perseverance. When faced with difficult situations, allow it to grow and strengthen you. Never give up.

What's the best business advice you've ever received?

I had a wonderful business mentor that was really tough and would find any mistake. It helped me to make sure I looked at the details and fully researched everything.

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