We asked some of the city’s rising stars to reflect on what made a difference in their journey. We asked them to tell us about what they think the most important factor has been behind their success.

Anna Liposn | Photographer

My most important factor for my success is without a doubt the love and support of my family and friends. Word of mouth and making connections is so important in the photography industry and support system has helped get my name out there and they have also shown off my talents in the process. I think because of the connections I’ve made since I started, and even before, I have been able to get my talents and name out there. Read more>>

Rachel Johnston | Entrepreneur & Marketer

The most important factors behind my success include the following: determination & mindset, discipline, and the support of my loved ones. But HOW have these things made such an impact on my success? Let me tell you! — Determination & Mindset — Determination & mindset go hand-in-hand for me — these are what push me to keep going. When I speak something into existence, or say I am going to do something, I do it. No excuses. Read more>>

Emma Gullo | Singer/Songwriter & Performer

The two most important factors that have given me the most consistent success are drive and authenticity. I grew up admiring my dad’s work ethic, a lot of the personable values he taught me early on have been incredibly beneficial now.
My drive and ambition have been what propelled me through my younger years. I started performing in front of people when I was 12 and booking gigs at 14; it took a lot of discipline and consistency to create EGSINGS’s foundation and still find motivation for required milestones. High school for me was academics, theatre, and gigs; Read more>>

Cardell Rosser | Cinematographer & Photographer

The most important factor behind my success is believing in myself. I’ve notice when I start doubting myself, I start to make a lot of mistakes in my work, I start feeling overwhelmed due to procrastination and I lose out on opportunity to make money. Once I saw the effects of self doubt, I started praying more, daily affirmations, and writing down my goals. Over time, as I chipped alway my daily goals, my confidents began to grow, opportunities started chasing me and now I am able to support myself and my business. Read more>>

Tiffany Joi | Founder & Owner

The journey of Hemp Heals Body Shop started out when I started looking for something to help with the pain and discomfort my 70 year old Mom (at that time) was experiencing due to her knee replacement surgery. Unfortunately, the doctors had diagnosed her with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoporosis & Fibromyalgia just to name a few. As a result, my mother would be in constant excruciating pain & unable to sleep at night. Read more>>

Chesley Taylor | Entrepreneur

The most important factor behind the success of my brand is me being myself and a genuine person. The ability to be yourself is powerful because when I show up as myself, my customers can feel it. I feel that my brand is most distinguished by the way I promote my products through the love of my hobbies with roller skating and fitness. My brand is a direct reflection of how I represent myself as a woman. My success is has flown naturally as my brand has grown because being a genuine person that others can trust makes it easy for others to support you. Read more>>

Yecheilyah Ysrayl | Author, & Poet

The most important factor behind my success is my relationships with other people. Through networking with bloggers, podcasters, and other authors (combined with my work ethic), I’ve been blessed to take advantage of opportunities that took me to another level. A practical example is when someone referred me to a woman who worked with Indie Authors at the local Barnes and Noble. Those connections helped me to get my poetry book on the shelves. Read more>>

Jacobi Dolphin | Lash Artist + Lash Trainer + Lash Supplier

The most important factor behind my success is persistence. Starting a new career, mastering a new skill, entrepreneurship none of it is easy. In the beginning, I struggled, however I was persistent. I was firm in my decision to become a successful lash artist. That persistence allowed me to work through those difficult times to achieve my goal. Persistence has also allowed me to elevate in my career. Today, i Lash + Brow offers lash services, lash supplies and lash training. Read more>>

KeAsia Shy | Up & Rising Business Owner

The most important factors behind my success would be my babies, no hesitation. They were brought into my life and became the fire I needed to keep pushing forward. From the start I wanted to give them the world because I at least owed them that much. The startup of ETERNAL FLAMES was to find something I enjoyed, but could also benefit off of. With being in business a year my craft is therapy for me, it’s relaxation ( after the hard parts lol). Everytime I smell one I just feel so good inside, & my babies have been a huge motivation for me to continuing my journey as a candle business. Read more>>

Tiffany Carroll | Pro MUA & Professor

The most important factor is observable passion! I let my work speak! And this in turn make my clients speak highly about their makeup services that they received. When people see the beauty I’ve enhanced on the outside it makes them feel beautiful on the inside. I’m so passionate about every look I create! My customers leave with confidence that they wear just like the makeup! Read more>>

Kim Hires | Leadership Burnout Coach, Speaker, Author, Host of the Leadership Antidote Podcast, Founder of the Leadership Antidote Academy

I’m genuinely myself 100% of the time. Surviving Burnout taught me the importance of not putting on masks or armor to exist in a space. Years of doing that and the armor became too heavy to take off. I burned myself out carrying the weight of expectations that didn’t even belong to me. My Clients, audience, and followers recognize that they are dealing with someone who has been where they are and understands what it takes to help them recover from Burnout. People feel that. Whether it’s a 60 second TikTok video or 60 minute keynote. They feel it. Read more>>

Martavious Gayles | Professional Actor/Sunt/ Voice over and Singer

I would say. Staying true to myself. Staying grounded. Knowing who you are. And not letting anyone else. Tell you who you are. And also caring about the right people’s opinions. Know who’s for you. Who’s in your corner. A strong support team. Goes along way. Read more>>

Jamila Antoinette | Motivational Speaker|Storyteller|Author|Content Strategist

One of the most important factors behind the success of my brand was and is still my belief in what I put out into the world. One thing that I know about people is that they can pick up on when someone is just following a trend vs following their heart. Yes, I know that trends are a “thing” now but when you become brave enough to be your own trend and believe in what you put into the earth, people who you have never met will begin to support you as if they knew you all your life because they believe in your business, brand and or content because YOU believe in your business, brand, and content. Read more>>

Anetra Watkins | CEO & Founder

The most important factor behind my success is putting in the hard work, remaining consistent, not rushing the process and staying true to not only myself but my brand as well. Building a solid foundation has its up’s and its downs but as long as I’ve stayed true to my core, continue to build from the ground up and keep trying my best. I will continue to witness the fruits of my labor. Read more>>

Johnnie Moultrie | Published Author, Activist, Mentor, Educator

Success, a way for me to measure my goals, and plans to present a phenomenal ending to what was worked so hard for. I don’t think about the now, but the future. What haven’t I accomplished yet, and what do I want to accomplish. This is what goes though my mind when someone ask me about success. I’m almost there but i’m just getting started! My process, my drive, my motivation is what I determine my success. Was the time I took to establish these concrete ideas another successful stepping stone to my desired outcome. What Black Boys Need within itself encompasses a variety of brands that span across so many platforms. Read more>>

Javel Green | Nail Technician

My most important factor behind my success is not only one factor, it’s multiple reasons. I’ve always been consistent and that has aided me so much on my journey, no matter what business you’re involved with this is the single most important factor. Read more>>

Kyrah Page | Activist and Artist

At first, I was going to say my drive or my passion but ultimately the most important factor behind my success is the support of my family. Since I have started my brand Keepin’ It Kultured, my family has always been there. They ground me, motivate me, and most importantly they pray with me. Their support has pushed me even when I couldn’t push myself. When I told my family I wanted to start a business, the first thing they said was “ok, now what?”. Read more>>

Kari Dees | Co-Owner of ToLife! Yoga and Pilates (Pilates, Kettlebells, and Stretch Therapy Teacher)

I attribute my success as a studio owner and teacher to my passion for what I do. Myself, my mother (who is my business partner), and all of our teachers truly care about our clients’ health and well-being. We are passionate about helping people get stronger and healthier, physically and mentally. We have high standards and stick to our principles, because we believe whole-heartedly in our methodology and technique. We’ve seen first-hand what Pilates and Yoga can do for people and it is life-changing. Read more>>

Jasmin , kanisha Brown , gudger | Chefs

The most important factor behind our success and brand is to be able to give back to the less fortunate we haven’t always had it to give and growing up there were times we struggled to eat because of the big families we grew up in. Food has always been expensive and Providing a affordable dinnery for everyday people who just want a home cooked meal and not have to pay a arm and a leg , Read more>>

Erica Benton | Makeup Artist /MUA

Most people think beauty is about changing the way you look but to me it’s about enhancing the natural beauty you already possess. That’s the most important thing that sets brands and professionals apart and levels success is their delivery and creativity. I believe for my brand to remain successful I must stay true myself and my uniqueness. That’s important to me because I’m in an industry where there is only so many things that can be altered but creativity is per individual . “In order to be irreplaceable once must always be different” -Coco Chanel Read more>>

Jasmine Suazo | Chief Firing Officer – Girl, Fire Your Boss Podcast

The #1 factor behind my success is my unyielding obsession to reach my fullest potential in life. Because of this obsession, I don’t focus on what anyone else around me is doing. Every morning that I wake up, it’s me vs. me. I’m always looking under my achievements to see how I can improve, how I can recreate myself, and how I can become a better student of my brand. Read more>>

T.C. Womack | Personal Trainer & Real Estate Investor

The most important factor behind my success is the willingness to do what others won’t do. What does that mean? That means working the hours that many don’t wanna work. That means late nights and early mornings. That means some saturday nights are spent in the office. Willingness to do that will always set me apart because I don’t get tired Read more>>

Eileen Corse | Artist/Creative

I think my style is the reason for my success. I struggled with what that exactly should be. It took a few years, and when I stopped fighting it, my natural style evolved. My style is unique and recognizable. People can tell that the painting was done by me, which is what all artists strive for. Read more>>

Dr. Lydia Murphy | Dr. M| Owner of Thirst T Trapp LLC

The most important factor behind my success and the success of my brand is perseverance. You have to possess that true passion that pushes you forward when you have nothing left to give. Those days when engagement is low and customers are no where to be found, I find myself in a place of reflection. It is easy to be discouraged in those low moments but, when I look back over all the strides I have made in this short period of time, I am more than encouraged to keep going. If I continue to bet on myself, I will continue to win big. Seeing my success, others can’t help but bet on me too! Read more>>

Lacey Sombar Curtis | Product & Interiors Photographer

In two words: Dedication and Trust. Over the years I have had to learn to trust in myself, that I am talented and that I can run a successful business to support myself and my family. If you don’t believe in yourself you end up stifling your growth and lack of self confidence only brings stagnancy and work that you don’t want. Quite honestly my husband has supported my passion of photography and has voiced his pride in me which has bounced around in my head when I didn’t feel it myself. It takes experience and time to further your success. My drive and dedication is what started my journey but trusting in God, myself, and having the support of my family is what has kept me going. Read more>>

Domonique Janaya | Fashion Designer, Sewing Instructor, and Creative Brand Strategist

Maya Angelou once said, “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” By no common stretch of the imagination do I feel that my brand has reached it’s pinnacle but I can honestly say that I not only like what I do. I love what I do. I’ve plundered through many business models, types, endeavors and so forth but fashion designing is truly where I thrive. No matter how long my nights get or how early my mornings can be, Read more>>

Johnny Barns | Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

They key to any success is hard work. There is no shortcuts or elevators in life that give us an easy path. Success is earned only by the relentless efforts that we put towards our dreams and goals. This is not to say that failure doesnt happen. You have to acknowledge that with anything you try, you will fail. It goes hand in hand. The more you fail is the more you learn ways to hold on to your success. If you gain success too soon before you learn the failures, then there will be a failure out there designed to take you down. The more failures you endure is the more ways you learn to hold on to your success. Success and failure go hand in hand. Read more>>

Mykeisha Ross | Candidate for Mayor/ Thought Leader/ Generational Curse Breaker Coach

I am Mykeisha Ross, a fearless, relentless, African American Queen. I am a gift, on a mission to help the world overcome the fear of breaking generational curses, barriers and cycles. The success behind my Brand, Mykeisha Ross and Company, LLC. I was once homeless, wrongfully incarcerated, impoverished, abused, betrayed, and I still get rejected. However, I had to become someone else, in order to become successful. I came from nothing/failure and now I can say I am Enough. I am a fighter, and survivor of life. Read more>>

Joe Friszolowski | Founder & Chief Dream Officer

At Mercy Drops Dream Center, the most important factor behind our success is that we find the forgotten in our community. Just who is The Forgotten? For MDDC, we include individuals and families experiencing homelessness, veterans, under-resourced neighborhoods & foster care intervention in that category. We all at MDDC understand and have experienced “being forgotten,” It is not a great place to be. Therefore we are driven every day to seek out and make sure those in our community are not forgotten. Read more>>