Thriving in 2024: Mantras for Success in Work and Life from Duke Staff and Faculty

Duke staff and faculty share the words which help them weather challenges and find balance

Word bubbles with sayings.

And for Jill Foster, a social media ad for a sweatshirt emblazoned with the question, “What if it all works out?” supplied her with a mantra .

“It really spoke to me,” said Foster, Student Services Officer with the Department of Biology. “As someone who comes from a long line of worriers, and often jumps to envisioning the worst-case scenario, replacing negative thoughts with ‘What if it all works out?’ has helped me keep a more positive mindset and perhaps has even manifested everything working out in some situations.”

We asked Duke colleagues to send us their mantras, mottos or sayings that help them thrive in work and life. We received around 60 responses. As we head into a new year, check them out. Perhaps you will find one that inspires you.

Charlie Britt

IT Manager, Duke Health Technology Solutions

“You are more than you tell yourself!”

Robin Banker

Senior Stewardship Coordinator, Duke Health Development and Alumni Affairs

“Have courage, walk on.”

Joscelyn Upchurch

Staff Assistant, Pediatric Nephrology

“Work Smart, not hard.”

Leigh Goller

Chief Audit, Risk and Compliance Officer, Office of Audit, Risk and Compliance

Perfect is the enemy of progress.”

Marcelle Fuson

Administrative Manager, Clinical Services, Population Health Management 

“Teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

Ed Ibarguen

General Manager, Duke University Golf Club

“Getting better every day.”

Jordan McCollum

Senior Public Relations Specialist, Senior, Duke Health Physician Marketing

“Just start.”

Kathie Whaley Wiley

Staff Specialist, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

“Everything is Figureoutable.”

Terry Edwards

Employment Representative, Duke Clinical Research Institute

“Dear Past, thanks for all the lessons. Dear Future, I’m ready!”

April Feickert

Associate Director, IT
Associate Director, Office of Academic Solutions and Information Systems

“It just needs finishing. It will probably be fine. It will definitely be fine eventually.”

Jennifer Solomon

Nurse Practitioner, Perioperative Anesthesia and Surgical Screening Clinic

“We are all wonderful imperfect people in an imperfect process.”

Kristi Davis

Financial Management Analyst III, Duke Financial Services

“If we do teamwork like we should, then we all look good!”

Laura Street

Chief Technologist, Duke University Hospital Imaging

"There is always a solution.”

Brenda Winkler

Lab Research Analyst II, Pharmacology and Cancer Biology

“It is necessary, therefore it is possible.”

Renee Khan

Grants & Contracts Administrator, Duke Aging Center

“You never lose, you learn.”

Maria Dziegielewski

Clinical Nurse III, Duke Cancer Center

“Let go, let God.”

Jade Lugo

Research Technician III, Duke Human Vaccine Institute
"Be intentional"

Anita Punj

Strategic Services Associate, Duke Health Access Center
“Look for opportunities to learn new things every day at work from others.”

Michelle E. Johnson

Compliance Specialist, Patient Revenue Management Organization

“Use challenges to create new opportunities.”

Jennifer Davis

Radiologic Technologist, Waverly Primary Care

 “Peace::Balance::Breathe – Do what brings you peace. Find your balance. Don't forget to breathe.”

Jill Foster

Student Services Officer, Biology

“What if it all works out?”

Cindy Medlin

Reimbursement Specialist, Duke Financial Services

"Trying times are no time to quit trying."

Elizabeth Taylor

Population Health Care Manager, Population Health Management Office

"Create a vision that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning.”

Kiley Roha

Communications Specialist, Duke Neurosurgery

“Don't believe everything you think.”

Bernie Jelinek

Manager, Physics Instrument Shop

“Do not create extra work for yourself by creating a problem where one does not already exist.”

Rachael Murphey

Academic Dean, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

“Use your power for good.”

Rebecca Kandler

Respiratory Care Practitioner, Duke Raleigh Hospital

"They don't care what you know, until they know that you care."

Melissa Ly

Shared Resource Lab Manager, Duke Human Vaccine Institute

"Never cease to act because you fear you may fail"

Darrin Vicsik

IT Consultant, Duke Health Technology Solutions

"The water wears away the stone not with force but persistence."

Mandy Kelley

Senior Research Agreements Manager, Office of Research Contracts

“Get what you inspect, not what you expect.”

Judith Hill

Medical Records Coder, Patient Revenue Management Office

"It's not about me."

Bill Newsome

Communications Center Operator II, Duke Health Technology Solutions

"YOU WILL NEVER LOSE. You either win or learn"

Cassie Alford

Clinical Nurse, Duke Raleigh Hospital

“Great things never get accomplished when you stay in your comfort zone.”

Taylor Shain

Analyst IT, Fuqua School of Business

"I can do hard things."

Lori College

Staff Assistant, Infectious Diseases

“There are 3 simple things you need to do in all things in life: 1. Follow the directions. 2. Do your best. 3. Finish the job.”

Binakumari Patel

Assistant Director, Lincoln Community Health Center Pharmacy

“Keep Calm and Carry On”

Lisa Hinkle

Staff Specialist, Duke Faculty Club

"There's a solution to every problem.”

Emma Holt

Medical Lab Scientist, Duke University Hospital Transfusion Services

“Don't give up. Never give up.”

Lillian Rodermond

Departmental Business Manager, Department of Romance Studies 

“Non-resistance, non-attachment, non-judgment."

Greg Sawin

Associate Professor, Family Medicine and Community Health

"There is no catching up, there is no falling behind, I am doing the right work that must be done right now." 

Princetta Williams

Project Manager, Duke Health Technology Solutions

“Whenever I am faced with challenges at work or any area of my life, I pause, give myself grace, and extend the same grace to others.” 

Jeannette Vega

Staff Assistant, Student Affairs
“You shouldn't stress things you can't control; you can only control your reaction.”

Elizabeth "Putt" Smith

Program Specialist, Duke Cancer Network

"Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after having an experience with you is your trademark."

Schwanda Baptiste

Patient Service Associate, Duke Regional Hospital
“It we do unto others as we would have them do to us, this world would be a much kinder place.”

Lynnette Moats

Assistant Research Practice Manager, Clinical Research

"Everything is figure-outable.”

Jenni Solis

Grants & Contracts Administrator, Duke Quantum Center 

“I am not a bad mom because I work. I am not a bad employee because I am a mom."

Robyn Donohue

Comparitive Medicine Specialist, DLAR

“Just do it and do it well because they count on you!”

Jen Peele-Clark

Health Information Management Specialist, Patient Revenue Management Organization

"Left foot, Right foot, Breathe, Repeat"

Eileen Williams

Clinical Social Worker, Duke Regional Hospital

“Keep the faith. Have courage. And be kind.”

Paula Batton

Director of Customer and Academic Support, Office of Information Technology

“Sustaining the newness is just as important as gaining the insight that comes from experience."

Bessie Wade

Service Access Team Leader, North Carolina Eye, Ears, Nose & Throat

"One call, one patient at a time."

Angela Rice-Warren

Education & Training Coordinator, Duke Cancer Institute

"Does the choice I'm making now match my goals?"

Amy Spaulding

Staff Assistant, Pratt School of Engineering


Tina Lipscomb

Case Manager, Duke University Health System 

“When you wake up make a choice to be fully present.”

Seanna Horan

Administrative Assistant, Duke University School of Medicine

“On we go!”

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