We asked some of the brightest folks in the community to open up to us about the most important lesson their business or career has taught them. We’ve highlighted some of those responses below.

Audrey Gayle | Cutting Specialist – Men, Women, & Children

“With great risk comes great reward.” Most of my life I had been living in fear and because I lived in fear there was no room to grow. It wasn’t until I started allowing myself to be put in uncomfortable situations that the person I envisioned was coming to light. Life had thrown a lot lemons and with those lemons, I made lemonade, lemon bars, lemon meringue pie, and lemon risotto. The COVID-19 pandemic was essential to my life that I can’t wait or hope for a change. I needed to be the change in my own life. It was scary to become self-employed during the pandemic and lose my health benefits but I’ve learned so much and I’ve gained freedom with my life. I’m surrounded now by motivating and uplifting people who are willing to share their knowledge to ensure my success. I have a work life balance now where initially I was working 45hours a week for the man. Now I am the man so to speak. My quality of life has improved for myself and for my family. Read more>>

Catherine Humenuk | DBT Therapist & Yoga Teacher

In my personal life I have always been a risk taker. My grandfather once told me that no matter where we go and what we do with our time, no one lives forever. Making the safe choices doesn’t stop time from passing. Taking his words to heart has helped me change careers and move states a handful of times with nothing but a suitcase full of clothes and faith in my new adventure – and I have never regretted it. Professionally, I became interested in risk while I was working in the emergency department doing mental health crisis assessments. After a move across state lines, I learned that the local mental health laws had a huge impact on how risk was conceptualized and managed in the hospital – even though my patients weren’t any different. That experience inspired me to get a Risk Management degree from Texas A&M School of Law, to get a better understanding of the macro perspective. I relied on my personal and professional understanding of risk when I started my private practice. Read more>>

Erica Cawley | Owner & Founder of Nail Addict Bag (NAB)

Without risk taking I wouldn’t be where I am today. I took a risk to start NAB, but it was a risk worth taking. I asked myself, “Will I be successful, profitable, would other understand or share my vision?” I wasn’t sure the answer on any of those questions but if I didn’t take the risk I would have never known the need there was in the market for a DIY nail kit and help others feel beautiful and proud of themselves. Read more>>

Jenee’ Molacek | Kids Entertainment & Party Venue

I kind of live my life with an outlaw way of thinking. I tend to do what I want when I want and ask for forgiveness rather than permission. I have always had a very different way of thinking than most people. I’m very open to possibilities. Things are never black and white with me. I think being a risk taker has shaped me into a very confident and carefree woman. I don’t need anyone’s approval or opinions to make a decision. That mindset definitely helps with being an entrepreneur. Being a business owner , is scary and exhilarating, both of which are the same emotions you feel when taking risk. I guess you could say I crave the roller coaster ride ride of not knowing what’s going to happen. But, what I do know, is that once my mind is made up, I am so determined and focused, it’s like tunnel vision. Being a risk taker has its perks. You develop a thick skin like no other. Read more>>

Meet Maggie Parvaneh | Photographer & Video artist

I work across Photography, Video and installation. I started my career as a Photojournalist in Iran, which was mostly dominated by men at the time. Against all limitations, I was very enthusiastic to become a Photojournalist. I grew up during the Iran-Iraq War, and I wanted to go to the battlefield but females could not go to war. My dream was to become a Photojournalist so I could go to the battlefield and witness the war in person. My wish came true and finally witnessed two wars when I started my professional career. One was in Afghanistan during the Taliban war, and the other was Kurdistan Region in Iraq. Read more>>

Sandra Dahdah | Photojournalist/Commercial Lifestyle Photographer

Everything in life entails some type of risk. The most important factor is to not pursue out of fear because that will also entail regrets. I had a full time job at the Governor’s office before committing to Photography. Even though it was part of my major, I just didn’t think I could pursue it as a career. I found myself envying my artist/photography friends that were committed to their craft. Then one day a friend shared something with me that changed everything, he said, “your time is the most valuable thing you can give to anyone, so how do you want to spend it?” That’s all I needed to hear. I quit my job shortly after that and started my photography business cold turkey. One account led to another. Also, never take you family/friend network for granted, they are so valuable. From just being morally supportive to helping drive business your way. It’s very beautiful. Ive been in business for 10+ years and I would do it all over again in a heart beat. It hasn’t been easy, lots of sacrifices, but I truly believe when you do what you love you will make it work. Read more>>

La’ Shae Alexander | Sex Educator & Content Creator

I love this question because you can’t talk about risk without talking about fear and that’s something I have had to overcome in more ways than one. The beautiful thing in it all is that on the other side of fear is courage. Being a risk taker is choosing to face fear and overcome fears with every chance we take. It’s going against the grain and doing what you dream of doing. For me risk taking has showed up in my life and career in so many ways. I recently put myself out there (if you will) and decided to do something I’ve been afraid of doing for a long time and that’s become a Sex Educator. It has already been rewarding even as a student because I am learning about the ways we connect despite our differences. I look forward to not only teaching in classrooms and professional settings, I look forward to sitting down with adults who like myself only had a narrow lens of education presented to us. Read more>>

Dolores Hirschmann | Chief Clarity Officer

Personally, I am a risk-averse adventurer, which is an oxymoron. I love to explore and get my feet wet, but I am careful not to get too wet. I have found that I am more tolerant of risk now, as I have personally evolved, than I was when I was younger and less experienced which is probably the case for most people. The more confidence I have in myself and the more trust I have in my decision making abilities, the more courage I have to play bigger and take risks. The truth is that your business will never grow if you don’t take some sort of risk. And there are two types of risk: CONSCIOUS and MANAGED risk or UNCONSCIOUS risk. The first one is strategic and requires research and planning – you don’t just fly by the seat of your pants. It has a much higher chance of resulting in a favorable outcome because you did the work and you feel confident in your decision to take on the risk. I have taken many risks in my career, some worked out and some did not. Read more>>

Diana Castaldi | Bridal Makeup and Hair Artist

I am a firm believer that risks are essential to growth. I’m not talking about going to the blackjack table and putting your life savings on red and seeing what happens. No, I’m talking about the risk that comes from doing something brave in order to live your truth or follow your dream. I was a classroom teacher for 8 years and always wanted to have my own bridal beauty business, but I was afraid. How would I do this? How could I make this happen? I put myself through my teacher credential program by working at MAC and worked here and there on weddings on the weekends, but never thought that I had what it took to make it my full time job. I wanted to be my own boss, to be able to work with my dream clients and was scared to take the risk. The pandemic changed everything for me. I realized that life was too short to not live your dream. I took a risk, I invested in a business coach and vowed that I would work to make my business my top priority and live my dream once and for all. Read more>>

Debbie Byrd | Musician & Realtor

People often ask me how I ended up in this place or that, from wild experiences or famous people, to acquiring big deals. Things like playing music for Alan Jackson’s family in his backyard once, to helping a friend with a busy week in her business and I ended up making coffee for John Malkovich because of it, taking the time to call on that $60k lot that turned into a $1.5million dollar listing. If you look at who I am overall I have a lots of little talents or gifts, but nothing that makes me a standout in any area. What it really comes down to is that I take a lot of risks. I jump off of a lot cliffs, metaphorically. I don’t always land on my feet either. Sometimes I lose money on a business idea and I don’t eat out for a couple of months. Sometimes I waste a bunch of time that could have been used on something “productive”. Risk doesn’t usually look the way you think it should. Risking sometimes looks like being generous when you don’t have time, or the money. Read more>>

Donna Moss | Interior Decorator

I have never been afraid of taking risks and doing so has been what jettisoned my career from the beginning. In 1995 I decided to do a Kaliscope of Homes showhouse for the first time, I was fairly new in the industry and took on a 9,000 sq ft home by myself. I knew it would either get my name out there or ruin my career. I only had a few months to make all the selections for this new construction project that another designer had backed out of. Not only that I had to get all the interior & exterior furniture loaned for the 6 week show. My connections at the time to many furniture companies was few and far between but I took the risk anyway. I worked night and day and the hard work paid off! I won multiple awards got lots of jobs from it and the builder ask me to do his showhome the next year. One of the biggest risk later in my career again was when I was selected to be on the first season of HGTV’s design compatition reality show Design Star. Read more>>

DeNesha RaChelle | ROKU Network Television Host and Bestselling Relationship Author

Risk taking is imperative in order to push forward in your life/career. Being a risk-taker has enabled me to start my television network, create my talk show, and to become a best-selling author. None of these goals would have been achieved had I not taken risks. Risks require faith to JUMP! They are not for the timid nor for the proud. You have to be strong, courageous, and humble in order to be effective in your pursuit of the unknown. All of these characteristics aided me while taking risks in both my life and career which ultimately guided me into my purpose. Read more>>

Carisha Davis | Artist and Designer

Although one of the most arduous and daring things that a business owner can do, you have to learn to take risks, even if you take them in fear and trembling. Always have someone wise mentoring and speaking into your life and your business so that you can take risks in wisdom. But, sometimes it wont make sense to anyone but you. You will know in your gut that whatever it is, is the right move. Trust your gut. As cliche as that sounds, my gut feeling and discernment has brought me some of the greatest successes in my business. Read more>>

John Brown | Media Personality & Artist

“No risk , no reward” as the saying goes. Being an entrepreneur , as well as being a young black man in America comes with its own set of risk within itself. Moving from Compton,CA to Dallas,TX, without any specific direction as to what i was going to be doing was probably the biggest risk I’ve taken in my life. However, I wouldn’t be here answering these questions had i not. Read more>>

Leesha Naeema | Self Taught Visual Artist

I feel that most people think of risk in a negative way. I sometimes think that way as well (after all, I’m human) but for the most part, I embrace it. I feel as though people’s fear of losing or failing makes it harder for them to experience new things. My fear of complacency, however, outweighs my fear of failing. And I think that is why it is easier for me to continue taking risks. Every major decision that I’ve made thus far, has essentially been a major risk. I went to college a thousand miles away from home with no family around and almost got kicked out my first semester (good ole financial aid blues). I’ve quit jobs with no real backup plans and then made long distance moves TWICE. I’ve taken a chance on myself and shared my art with others even when I didn’t feel it was my best work. I’ve explored numerous creative outlets to determine the best fit for my artistic career, Some worked out, some didn’t. But I never would have known what works and what doesn’t if I only thought about them. Read more>>

CJ Cannon | Content Creator

When dealing with risk you have to get over the fear of the unknown, and go 110%. When we push ourselves thats when we learn from the wins and losses to better our life/career. Taking risks has played a huge part in my career when I decided to move to Denver for a year for an internship which allowed me to step out of my comfort zone to be able to build those connections. Read more>>