How do you think about risk? What role has taking risks played in your life/career? Check out responses from hidden gems from our community below.

Maria “Marifer” Aceves | Attorney

Career-wise, I’m a big proponent of taking risks. From being at a prominent defense firm in Dallas and volunteering for depositions, jury trials and hearings as a young associate to switching over to the plaintiff’s side and working at a well-known catastrophic injury firm, I have never shied away from a challenge. I think taking those risks has really paid off professionally as I have acquired a significant amount of litigation experience in my years of practice. Another large risk that I took was starting my own firm 3 years ago. It was terrifying at the time, but it ended up being the best decision I ever made professionally and personally. I’ve been able to get even more extensive litigation experience via trying cases, deposing seasoned experts, and learning how to cultivate and manage my business. Read more>>

Dr. Josh | Veterinarian

For many people, risks in their paths are reasons to justify why taking an easier path is worth it, because it is a safer path. While this is true for some people, I think risks are opportunities to challenge ourselves and see how far we can go in life. But even more so, I think risks are the sparks that remind us that we are alive and that, individually, we are more than just another living organism. I like to think that I am unique and that the risks I decide to face are in pursue of a safety that can only be felt when I have proven to myself that I am capable of more. One of the two major risks I have faced in my life has been becoming a veterinarian and opening my own hospital, even though I come from a low income background with no direct family member that graduated from college and with English as a second language. Read more>>

JJ Nolan | Actor & Producer

As an actor, your entire existence is about taking risks. You forgo stability and instead, opt for a life of uncertainty. You can’t control the consistency with which you get to work, and there is no formula to success. There is no manual and frankly, the industry doesn’t need you. It’s a lifestyle–and not only that–the art of acting in and of itself is all about taking risks. If you don’t take risks in your performance, no one is going to remember you and no one is going to care. It’s your job to take chances, make bold choices, and most of all, to not be boring. Personally, improv has helped shape me as an artist because it has been the greatest practice in taking risks. You can’t plan in improv, and you always feel like you’re jumping out of a plane without a parachute. Sometimes you don’t stick the landing, but when you do–when you really allow yourself to be patient and let things unfold in the moment, you’re creating magic. Read more>>

Jennifer Henderson | Business(es) Owner, Artist & Gallerist

I’ve lived on risk-taking, but never really understood what that word meant at a young age. As I got older, and in my young career, I knew that risks were fairly easy to take. I never looked before I leaped, and now, looking back, I long for that sense of fearlessness. I had several crossroads in job opportunities – some I didn’t think twice about, and some took serious consideration. The ones that took longer to decide upon, I asked a few trusted people in my circle for advice. Once I knew it was the right choice, the butterflies in my stomach would fly away. I love change where many people do not. Risks always involve change, so when you make decision to take that leap forward you’re basically predicting your future. That’s what decisions are. When you look back and realize you’ve made the wrong decision, you HAVE to chalk it up as a learning tool. I’m so glad I’ve taken risks in my life and my career. I’m looking forward to seeing what future risks await me. It’s an adventure! Read more>>

Cessilye R. Smith | Founder, Director & Liberator

To be Black in America is a risk. A risk stamped on us from conception until death. So what role has risk-taking played in my life/career? Everything. Over eighteen months ago I took a risk by providing programs to the community of South Dallas through Abide Women’s Health Services. I did this without the funding, without the support, without having firm guidelines in place, and without a well thought out and detailed plan. I took a risk just in merely existing as a Black woman that is unapologetically anti-racist. I risked losing support from more conservative followers and risked rubbing people the wrong way. I risked not being taken seriously because I am no practitioner. I’ve placed a great deal of sweat equity into my work from the start, which came with much sacrifice from my family…I risked it all blowing up in my face. Risk-taking is something that is in my DNA. Read more>>

Mary Perez | Chef & Restaurant Owner

Taking a risk was the biggest concern and factor in my decision to start my own business. I had been working in non profits for 23 years, always had health insurance, 401 K, biweekly paycheck… I left it all behind when I took the risks of going out on my own as a single mom with 2 sons in high school and one in middle school. Fear, doubts, anxiety were always lingering in my mind, however, I kept on, I struggled financially for the first 3 years, refinanced my home, etc… but I made it! In my 7th year of business, I have opened a 2nd restaurant location! Enchiladas Ole’ has ranked in the Top 5 restaurants in Fort Worth since opening and USA Today ranked us #7 in the state of Texas! We have also been featured on the Food Network Channel…I say Take the Risk, Give it your all and your best! Read more>>

Denise Burkey | Owner & Small Business Entrepreneur

I think of risk as somewhat scary but definitely something that in business and in life you have to do. Today with the Covid-19 environment and the changing of times and the way we do business, the risk is HUGE! We needed to take a risk during this time to keep moving our business forward. Our risk was thinking outside the box – we closed one of our locations for 60 days and focused our energies on our other location. We captured an audience that we didn’t previously have. The waiting line to get into Trader Joe’s, three doors down from us, was lining up in front of our store each and every day!!! We had a captive audience. We propped open our front door, changed our sandwich board out front to entice people to come into our store and taste before you buy and displayed items on our barrel that has caused many photos to be taken and shared with social media, friends and family. Read more>>

Val Lewis | CEO, Founder, Author & Humanitarian

Well I was taught that you can only win by getting in the race, failure has never been an option. So getting in the ring or the race is a risk you take to win, as with anything in life. I also believe it’s important to take risks because every risk you take comes with more experience. Not only will the risk present you with new career opportunities and new perspectives, but a failure will teach you an important lesson, and a success will open the door to new possibilities. Of course, you have to be smart, being risky doesn’t mean being careless. For me when it comes to risk versus reward, its never a risk to position yourself for better. This is why I feel you should always be open to new opportunities, Embracing risk has helped me to overcome some of my greatest fears of failure. Read more>>

Ron Holifield | Servant Leadership Provocateur & CEO

The riskiest strategies are often those that appear to be the safest. For example, the single riskiest financial investment is a passbook savings account because it is the only investment guaranteed to lose buying power. If I have to choose between doing 3 things that are guaranteed to work with a 100% success rate and trying 10 things that will have a 50% failure rate, I will lean into the 50% failure rate because I will still have accomplished more than if I had taken what was masquerading as the safest strategy. I contend that the zero failure approach is riskier because while it carries with it more failure, it also carries with it more success. Ultimately, risk management is about eliminating the emotion from decision making and taking very calculated risks that are well informed and not bothered by a predictable failure rate that is simply a part of entrepreneurship. Read more>>

Louis Murad | Professional Charity Auctioneer

When we started our business in 2000, paid Charity Auctioneers were unheard of. The only auctioneers nonprofits could utilize for their events in DFW had other full time jobs and typically were volunteers. We began providing full time charity auctioneers for our events. We decided to to the risk and charge for our service, which includes consulting to increase the profits for the live auction and giving moment. People loved the partnership they had with us, and how much more money they raised because of our live auction engineering. Our professional auctioneers on stage conducting the live auction, kept the audience entertained and bidding and raised even more money! Technology has changed substantially In our field of nonprofit fundraising. Bid sheets were the way guests bid on auction items. Murad Auctions was the first company in DFW to use electronic bidding for our auctions. Read more>>