Wednesday // October 3, 2018

Values: Know them. Say them. Live them.

At a recent luncheon, a retired Lieutenant General asked the audience, “What are your values?” Everyone sat silently for a moment or two letting that question sink in. No one dared to shout out an answer—either out of intimidation or maybe because we don’t really think about them often enough to verbalize (in front of a decorated general) much less live them.

I thought about my personal values for the rest of the day and how they impact my interactions with others and how I view myself, my job, and those close to me. What I value most includes: integrity, humility, honesty, respect, grit, passion, selflessness, trustworthiness and creativity. All of them are important to how I want to live and how I want to be viewed. I don’t think I would be comfortable with forsaking one for another—they are all in my DNA and how I want to conduct myself.

My challenge for all of you is this—if you were asked over lunch to verbalize your values, would you be able to? Would the list be accurate, not just words that someone wants to hear, but what you truly believe and how you carry yourself? Are you passionate about each one? Would others use the same words to describe you?

Values are important, and we should never forget or abandon them. We should be able to call upon them in any situation that we encounter during our work and personal time. They should be unique to each of us, and we should appreciate others’ values as much as our own.

Click here to learn more about EMJ Corporation and its values.


As Senior Vice President of People, Heather is a member of the executive team, providing leadership to departments within the corporation that directly impact EMJ’s culture, including benefits, learning and recruiting. Heather has more than 20 years of experience in employee resources-related fields. She is a national member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and is designated as both a SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) and a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). Heather is a DDI-certified trainer and an accomplished speaker. She lives in Chattanooga with her husband and three children.

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