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You’ve Always Had It In You: What Entrepreneurs Need to Know Right Now

Could there be a direct correlation between a classic 1930’s film and bottom-line success? Cory Williams, the CEO, Chief Executive Officer, and Entrepreneur at EPIC Health Partners believe there’s business acumen in the courage, heart, and brain of L. Frank Baum’s characters in, The Wizard of Oz.

Growing up in a home with mental illness present, Williams found solace in the movie with two sisters, escaping to land—just beyond the rainbow.

“Each character has their own path to find what they so long for,” he explained. “As they encounter challenges, overcome adversity and persevere forward, they gain what they so desire; a heart, courage, and a brain.”

Noting that the Lion, Scarecrow, and Tin Man have immense care for one another but little for themselves, Williams notes that in his career, he’s seen much of the same in the business world. He believes that confidence and self-esteem are the greatest gifts one can have. After all, the Wizard says, “you’ve always had courage,” to the Lion, reminding him what he sought was inside himself all along.

Williams wholeheartedly insists that someone recognizing their worth is one of the greatest and most important elements of business success. “The very act of having confidence means that you’re making a choice to believe in who you are, feeling comfortable with who you are, and bringing your worth out into the world,” said Williams.

Confidence, like other soft skills, needs to be invested in and grown. This can happen, Williams illustrated, by taking on tasks that challenge, frustrate, and teach individuals to grow. Just as the Scarecrow used his heart to throw apples and stand up for his friends in the classic film, individuals can try out these acts on their own.

“Like a Nike® campaign that has endured over time, there is so much to the mentality of ‘Just Do It,” Williams stated. “Failing is a part of life, and taking risks teaches us how to move ever-closer to our end goals.”

While taking risks looks different for everyone, Williams believes the film shows a healthy example of a team building one another up to reach the end goal—together. This is so similar to what he encourages from his team at Epic Health Partners.

Knowing he wanted better for other families in his shoes, Williams stayed committed in his life to ensuring he could open facilities to make mental health more accessible. With three clinics already in the Danville/Pittsylvania area, the budding entrepreneur is still looking forward—with courage and heart. “There hasn’t been a point in my life where I wasn’t afraid,” Williams mused, who believes that while business intelligence is paramount in making decisions that affect employees and the bottom line, it’s about turning off the brain’s functionality to fear that’s most important of all.

“I wish more entrepreneurs and business leaders shared that moving through fear is where success begins,” said Williams. “And once we’ve trained ourselves to see the full spectrum of who we are—there’s no stopping our vision, dreams, or future wants. The power is truly within each leader.”

What are other solid lessons other budding leaders can take from Williams’ passion for The Wizard of Oz? Here are three things he believes future-thinkers should keep in mind:

1.) The power of positive thinking cannot be forgotten. Williams believes that taking a moment to recognize mistakes, then planning to prevent them in the future is a way to train the human brain to look beyond negativity and focus on success.

2.) Rewards are powerful motivators. Williams strives to take moments to reward not only himself, but his employees on jobs well done.

“Doing something that brings enjoyment lights up the brain and leads to greater joy,” he said. “Celebrating even the little wins can have a big impact.”

3.) Learning how to listen is vital. Williams noted that throughout his lifetime, the opinions and ideas he heard once marked him.

“It’s easy to believe we can’t accomplish something because someone else says so,” he explained. “The important part to remember is that we have the power to reject the negative and learn to listen to the self-esteem we’ve spent so much time carefully building.”

About Cory Williams

Cory Williams, the CEO, Chief Executive Officer, and Entrepreneur at EPIC Health Partners have been recognized in both his community and nation for leadership and dedication. With an MS in Computer Science and Business from Averett University and an MBA in Supply Chain Management from Ashford University, along with work at The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and Troxler Electric Laboratories, Inc., he’s making a mark on healthcare, supply chain management, and entrepreneurship. Learn more at