At InnerWill we define Values Based Leadership (VBL) as living, working and leading in alignment with your core values to ignite the potential of those around you. These are not just words for us, they represent a real-life journey to finding a better, braver, and more authentic version of oneself! Each person has a unique path as they make this journey; I’d like to share a little bit about my path and what VBL means to me.

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I grew up observing people who modeled this. I saw family members, neighbors, and friends who were living, working and leading in alignment with what was important to them. This began with my parents, teachers and others in the communities in which I lived. It showed up in the civil rights movement, in faith communities, and in educational institutions. These people had a formative impact on my development and pushed me to strive for the same positivity and fulfillment both personally and professionally.

I have experienced several work environments throughout my life. Some were positive models for VBL, others were not. When I worked in an organization where my values were aligned with theirs, I was more passionate, joyful and effective. When working in environments that did not align with my core values, I experienced less joy, less connection, less engagement. Simply put, my work didn’t have the same energy; over time my heart was no longer in it.

It was during one of those times that I interviewed with Luck Companies and was immediately drawn to its’ Values Journey. Luck’s explanation of VBL and approach to work place culture was music to my ears, and it immediately felt like the right environment for me. This was an organization with values aligned with mine, one that was moving from a good culture to a great one. I quickly connected with the people and mission of Luck, enthusiastic to have landed in such an incredible organization.

When I first arrived at Luck, I wasn’t looking to tap into my full potential. I was looking for a job that I could put my heart into without it spilling over too much into my nonwork life. Luck’s focus on VBL changed my perspective. My supervisors saw potential in me that I had never considered. Because of my background in education, my people skills, my communication abilities, and my love for the values, I was encouraged to take on new responsibilities outside of my job description. I was motivated by those around me and began to step out of the comfortable and known into the adventure of VBL.

The Luck team’s investment in me and genuine confidence in my capabilities pushed me to realize my passion for growing the leadership potential in all people. It led me to ask for more responsibilities and cultivated in me a greater desire to give back to the organization. My experiences influenced me to obtain my coaching certificate from N.C. State University – something I had never considered before. This opened the door to another area of development and passion for me, a Leadership and Executive Coaching practice.

While my VBL journey continues, I am grateful for all I’ve learned and recognize that my personal and professional growth since beginning at Luck has been some of the greatest of my life. By identifying my core values, and working with a company that takes time to nurture, train and showcase these passions of mine, I truly feel where I am working aligns with what is important to me.

It’s important to note that VBL is not just about work; it’s much more holistic than that. VBL is about how you live your life. It impacts communication, friendships, families and every relationship you have. Most importantly, it’s an ongoing journey that requires commitment, hard work and conscious efforts to maintain.

If you find yourself looking for more fulfillment in your life, I encourage you to start this journey with an honest assessment to increase your self-awareness (check out our Igniter App). Begin with a willingness to work on yourself. Evaluate your strengths, weaknesses and opportunities, and don’t be afraid to see yourself for who you really are. Most importantly, commend yourself for being vulnerable and taking the time to reflect…and don’t be overwhelmed with what lies ahead. Remember, everything starts with one small step in the right direction.


Carla Ruiz

Carla Ruiz

Carla’s mission is to fuel growth and development by affirming strengths, challenging beliefs, and igniting potential through Values Based Leadership. She presents, facilitates, and coaches in a variety of leadership programs and with companies intentional about strengthening their culture. In her role as a Leadership Development Coach, she is passionate about increasing emotional intelligence, which she believes is the cornerstone of effective leadership.

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