TV, Movies, and culture in general sometimes paints a narrow, specific image of what success is, but we know from our conversations with some of the best and brightest that success can mean vastly different things to different people.

Michelle Norris and Forrest Aguar | Photographer & Art Direction Team

Our strong aesthetic direction really helped us to make it to where we are today. We committed to the look and feel of the work early on, regardless of it is what genre of photography it fell into. Through that we made a name for ourselves and gave a recognizable imagery that clients knew to come to us for. Read more>>

Talya Parker | Cybersecurity Architect & Cyber Diversity Influencer

My professional success is attributed to my need to satisfy my curiosity. I am always eager to learn more and I’m absolutely okay with not being the smartest person in the room. That feeling can be intimidating to some and it usually brings on the imposter syndrome. However, for me, that translates into an area where there is room for growth. Read more>>

Adenike Miles-Sorinmade | Law Student

The most important factors behind my success are God and perseverance. God gives me the strength to push forward and overcome all of the obstacles that come with being a law student but also all the obstacles that come with being a Black woman in this field. Less than 2 percent of Black women are attorneys. That statistic alone helps me understand that what I’m doing is bigger than myself. I’m fighting for the recognition and understanding of intersectionality to combat the marginalization of Black women as it pertains to the feminist movement, a “seat at the table” to increase minority representation in these professional spaces, and a chance for Black people to use me as a resource in their own success. Knowing that I have a job to do and knowing that God is with me every step of the way is the success of my brand. Read more>>

Regina Weir | Event Venue Owner

Family has been so integral to my success and the success of my business. From the beginning my parents helped out tremendously and honestly, without them we wouldn’t have been able to start. Then after I opened, I had a lot of help from my husband but it wasn’t until he joined full time did the business really feel solid. Being a family business, I think people can sense how much we value the milestone events that are celebrated at the Factory. We become really invested in our clients lives that we try to do as much as we can to alleviate the pressures that these large moments can put on you. We truly see everyone that has an event at the Factory as part of our family and our main goal is to make our clients feel that way leading up to their event and even after. Read more>>

Paige Marlow | Professional Organizer

The word success is described as attaining a favorable or desired outcome. This word and its definition can be determined by several measures depending on the situation. Some would say that success in business is measured by the bottom line or amount of profit a company has during a specific amount of time while others may look at a certain number of clients or increase in revenue year over year. While all of these are important aspects in keeping a business viable that is not the way I measure success. STRAIGHTEN UP by Paige is a small single owner company providing high end organization services to an exclusive clientele. Almost all of the business is referral or repeat customers. Therefore the success of my business is measured by customer satisfaction. Read more>>

Stokely Weinberg | Founding Partner, Stokesman Luxury Homes

At Stokesman Luxury Homes, we choose just a handful of projects each year to ensure that we can focus on even the smallest details of every home. We have to turn away many more projects than we take on but ultimately it allows us to meet an unmatched level of craftsmanship and attention to detail. Additionally, it keeps stress at a minimum and makes for a much more fun and rewarding work environment. Read more>>

Erica Clahar | Founder & Executive Director

I would say the most important factor behind my success and that of the Umi Feeds brand is the people. I am powered by the people! It is through their support that this work is done. The people have supported me, cheered for me, fundraised for me, donated time, food, and resources. I am a community steward and my contribution is food. The goal of Umi Feeds is to empower people to get involved and do something! The reason I think people support Umi Feeds is that they see I am consistent and that I am truly spreading love through food. Read more>>

Justin Miller | Co-Founder and CEO, CARE for AIDS

FOCUS – CARE for AIDS has maintained a singular focus for the past 12 years – empower people in East Africa to live a life beyond AIDS. There have been tempting distractions at every turn: care for orphans, drill a well, run an advocacy campaign, etc. All good things but ultimately not our best. We’ve replicated our model 68 times, and we learn more with every new center we open. The need around HIV/AIDS is far greater than we could address in a lifetime, so it would be short-sighted to diversify, and therefore diminish, our efforts. Similarly, we are working hard to educate and engage donors in the US, so we want our message to be consistent and clear. I’ve always believed that a life of impact is marked by a long obedience in the same direction. I hope CARE for AIDS will be remembered in the same way. Read more>>

Patrick Hamilton | Fine Arts Event Coordinator

The Monroe County Fine Arts Center opened its doors for regular use in 2017. Within three short years, our Fine Arts Center has become an arts education hub for Monroe County and surrounding communities. In addition to supporting our schools’ arts programs, our center presents a wide variety of professional concerts and community events. As we build our reputation and recognition across the state, the primary factor that has contributed to our success is our student impact. Monroe County Schools produce some of the most talented and dedicated students in the state. Our Fine Arts Center is utilized for student rehearsals and performances roughly 170 out of 180 days of school. In addition to school-related activities, our students are consistently involved in our professional events as well. Our entire mission revolves heavily on arts education opportunities. Read more>>

Andrew Lee | Film Director

In the world of filmmaking, there is an abundance of directors that want to be the next big thing. The next Spielberg, the next Scorsese, the next Hitchcock, etc. but none of these directors started in the industry with the mindset to want to be the next big name in Hollywood; they just wanted to make good movies. Being authentic as an artist is what made these legends so successful and this is exactly what drives my brand. Read more>>

Najla Arrington | Licensed Cosmetologist, Skincare Curator, Beauty Bar Owner

The most import factor is how many people I get to inspire and impact. I come from a background of not much, average ( divorced ) family no one graduated from college, no one made it out of the “hood” no role model of success within my immediate circle. It’s discouraging at times but I remember being 13 and telling myself that I will be greater, I’ve came across many obstacles and bounced back soooo many times you wouldn’t believe but, resilience is what keeps me pushing forward. I am determined to leave a legacy behind for my children and the community that I connect with most ( at risk women and children of color ) I was an at risk child that went in and out of juvenile detention and that turned into being an at risk young adult. I always felt that if I’d had positive direction in those years my choices would have been much more beneficial to me. Read more>>

Ama Nneka Annoh | CEO of Unfading Beauties Inc & Financial Technology Analyst

The most important factor behind my evolving success is my relationship with God. Though my family, friends, supporters, etc. are extremely important, my relationship with God through Jesus Christ has been the most consistent and rewarding factor to my well being all around. When I went through a depressive season, the word of God brought me peace; when I seek personal growth, answered prayers continuously increases my capabilities, when situations become intimidating, the hope and solid understanding of my capabilities through Christ Jesus comforts me. Most importantly, people are but just that, people. We grow, we evolve, we change. People, success, and even love can be temporary, but the love from God has been and will continue to be everlasting. Read more>>

Valerie Failla | Founder, Via Failla PR & Events

Experience.  Experience from both the public relations agency side–and experience from the client side. One early example of this factor lies in a story from my first public relations job when I was eighteen. I was working as a PR coordinator at a large showroom in the Childrenswear Center on West 33rd Street in Manhattan. The PR Director gave me cash for purchasing lunches and coffees during a scheduled, catalog photo shoot in Washington Square Park.  
 At the end of a long, exhausting, shoot day, the PR Director asked me for the receipts from my purchases so she could hand them in to the client for reimbursement. I didn’t have them. My hands were so full that day I hadn’t kept any of the receipts and I didn’t even know they had to be turned in. Read more>>

Amy Nichols | Event Designer

In my opinion what makes a brand successful is staying true to who you are and what you do best. Don’t try to be everyone else, and don’t try to please everyone. If you follow your heart and continue to produce a product that you were proud of then your company will be successful. I have always believed that if you stay true to yourself the right clients will find you! You are the brand and you are what sets your company apart from others that do the same thing. Be you! Read more>>

Dub Bulloh | American Rapper

I Believe the most Important factor behind my success is my willingness to learn new things. In the Music Industry things change very fast and you must study what came before you and also learn what is happen now all while keeping an eye on the future. I want to learn from everyone I can because it adds so much value to your brand. Read more>>

Steven Carse | Co-Founder

Constantly considering and nurturing our company culture. It has evolved dramatically over the years, but it is the one thing that keeps our brand fresh and authentic. We insist on people bringing their full selves to work, and try our best to celebrate them. Read more>>