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.

Red Carpet Shelley | Caribbean Media/Radio Personality

The most important factor behind my success and that of my brand is my Caribbean heritage. I am first generation Caribbean American. My mother and father came to the United States as immigrants and their hard work and love of God was the leading factor in my success. I saw my father work multiple jobs when necessary and watched my mother go to work sometimes in tattered shoes to give her children dance, tennis and music lessons, vacations and more. This taught me the value of working hard. About a decade after migrating to the United States, my parents achieved the American dream and purchased their first home. All of these factors, laid the foundation for my future success. Read more>>

Kim Roberts-Henderson | LCSW & Founder Woman Unbreakable

The most important factor behind my success and the success in my brand is my faith. I believe that I was born with a purpose, for a purpose, on purpose! Everyday that I wake up I set my intentions to walk and move in my purpose. Read more>>

Julie Abes | Owner, Batter Cookie Dough Counter

My families support. I could not be where I am today with 2 stores, a catering & wholesale company without the love and support of my entire family. They encouraged me when I wanted to take a risk in opening Atlanta’s first edible cookie dough shop, they help whenever I ask, and constantly are there to listen and scoop when needed. They motivate me to be a better business owner and are always willing to work a shift or change a light bulb I can’ t reach. My husband, being the experienced one in the restaurant business, is always available for advice and to problem solve. My father in law is fabulous at fixing anything needing repair and my mom even works a shift or runs deliveries. Of course, our 2 college age children are the best in every way- always picking up shifts when they are home, helping with catering, and talking up the business whenever they can. I couldn’t do any of this without their love and support. Read more>>

Donna Garcia | Lens-Based Artist

Rather than believing that I had to start with a big idea or plan, I have made a methodical series of smaller gambles about what might be a good direction, through which I have been able to learn critical information from a lot of little failures and from small, but significant wins. This has allowed me to always be prepared to accept a variety of opportunity. I also take every opportunity seriously, regardless of how big or small it may seem on the surface. Read more>>

Ottavia Tay Lang | Certified Sound Therapist, Reiki Master, Mindfulness Coach and Tarot Reader

The most important factor I believe behind the success of my brand is that I’m authentic and down to earth. I respond and interact with all of my clients as if they are my best friend. I’m successful at what I do because I test everything out on myself first. I believe in what I market because it has proven time and time again to work for me. I only promote what I believe in and I love exposing others to the magick. Read more>>

Sharon Shapiro | Visual Artist/Painter

I’d have to say tenacity; I’m nothing if not tenacious, and I think that has evolved from being stubborn. I was a stubborn and empathetic child, and as it turns out, those two traits are necessary to be a successful artist. Read more>>

Andy Gonzales | Chef-Partner Steinbeck’s & The Companion

I am not the most talented person to ever put on an apron. That has been fairly obvious from the outset of my career. My work ethic has carried me through lots of difficult situations, People must be willing to sacrifice their time and put in effort to achieve their goals. Talent is not enough. Read more>>

Meg Venkatesh | Freelance Designer

What is the most important factor behind your success / the success of your brand? Defining (and redefining) myself, in all my successes, faults, and quirks and building a brand off of that is where I know my success comes from. The most important factor behind my success is establishing the fullness of who i am and what I can offer and staying true to that as I grow my business. I am finally at the point in my career where clients come to me for the specific design and feel I create….and also for my ability to deliver on more than just one thing. The biggest thing is to not shy away from myself, or get lost in the trends. I simply take what I like and leave the rest. Time and time again, past clients tell me that one thing they love about working with me is how true and authentic both the work and the play are. Building confidence has definitely taken me time, I didn’t just come out of the gate feeling like I do now with the network and the base of projects. I used to think that pursuing many things was a setback. Bouncing from interior design to social media marketing to showing up to the set of any photoshoot I could get on. Read more>>

Robin Schick | Co-Founder of CalyRoad Creamery

I believe the three most important factors to the success of the CalyRoad brand has been commitment to quality, safe manufacturing and customer service. Inherent in all those commitments is the ability had to create a impart a uniqueness or originality to our products and services. Read more>>

Azure | Artist

The most important factor behind my success and the success of my brand, would be self- belief. In order to achieve success, you already have to believe that you are successful. Always have trust and have faith in yourself first. If you don’t believe in yourself and your brand then no one else will. Read more>>

Ty The Master Barber | Shop Owner and Master Barber

The foundation of my success is the Most High God through the blood of Jesus Christ. Even though life was hard at times, I always trusted in my Heavenly Father and through that trust God always delivered. Whether it is through my wife, my kids, my grandmother, my uncle, my aunt, my friends,, people in my community and church, coaches, teachers or divine intervention. God has always provided for me and it’s to Him I give all the glory. Read more>>

Kristi Starnes | Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

There is a lot of information out there about “niches” and so on. I work with all different types of people, ages, vocations, gender, sexuality, etc. I think what has made my practice so successful so fast is my authenticity. That’s my brand. I use what I know- friendliness, genuine compassion, non judgment, creativity, and humor. Instead of trying to be an idea of a “psychotherapist”, or copy someone else, I took a chance and decided that the easiest and most effective thing to do would be to be myself. Clients have noticed these traits, and have commented on them, and It puts people at ease- normalizing the experience of seeing a therapist. I’m a person too, so I get it, and I’m rooting for you. Read more>>