We asked some brilliant folks from the community to talk to us about how they think about risk and the role risk has play in their lives and careers.

Bailey Ward | Interior Designer

I love this question because as a naturally risk-averse person, risk has been something I have had to think about a lot and face when it came to starting and now running my business. Most of my life I have chosen to play it safe and have avoided putting myself in situations where failure was an option. But when the dream of starting Bailey Ward Interiors started to grow, I knew I had to take fear of failure head on and start taking some risks. With the encouragement of my husband and some very supportive friends, I left the corporate world and jumped headfirst into starting and growing my company. And it has been every bit worth the risk. Risk is no longer something scary to be avoided, but a chance to learn and challenge to grow. And trust me, life is a lot more fun on the other side of fear when you take the risk. Read more>>

Alex Jay, Cody Grossman & McNeill | Lead Vocals & Guitarist

I believe there’s always going to be a risk no matter what path you choose. I’ve learned to really trust my gut and I feel like the universe has a funny way of working out for you when you listen to it. At the end of the day I’m doing what I love with my best friend so I’m not really worried about failure because what we’re doing right now already feels like success. Alex: I couldn’t agree more. When we first started this band in 2014 there was a good bit of people telling me, “a reggae band? In Atlanta? Are you sure that’s what you want to do?” LOL It didn’t leave me feeling very confident to say the least but knowing I had Cody by my side and that he was just as game to chase this dream certainly helped. Read more>>

Kirsten Grace Hoge | Actor & Producer

Risk taking is essentially my entire career. You can’t be an artist without taking a risk. I take a risk every day whether that’s making a character choice in an audition or project, or deciding to launch a new creative festival. For example, I recently produced the Atlanta Theater Sprint for Ponce City Market’s Rolecall Theater, which is a 48-hour playwright festival. This was a huge risk to start a brand new inaugural writing & performing festival outdoors, PLUS during covid. The event turned out massively successful and if I wasn’t comfortable putting my neck on the line for the possibility of success in it, we would have never met numerous amazing artists here in Atlanta and we would’ve taken away an opportunity for people to create, perform and enjoy entertainment during this time. Read more>>

Tiberia Morris | Life and Personal Development Coach

Taking a risk has a natural fear attached to it. Yet, it has great rewards when you don’t allow the fear to stop you from manifesting the very desires you long to have fulfilled. Risk-taking has been the has my thumbprints all over my life and career journey. I will take a risk and IF it isn’t the right move or decision I learn from it. It has helped me to be able to help others in the area of confidence because you have to have a high level of confidence to take risks that make you uncomfortable so that you can grow. Read more>>

Reese Anderson | Writer

I am the epitome of a risk-taker. You know all the Hollywood stories we read about people who pack their lives up and move to a major city with no plan? I am that kind of risk-taker. After college, I moved to NYC with no job or real plan. Just a savings account and a friend who let me stay with them for a few months. Some people call it stupidity. That is, until it works. Then they call it a risk. I don’t mind calling it a risk because a risk that bets on myself is one I am always willing to take. Betting on myself is what led me to leave companies that didn’t value me, for better opportunities. Betting on myself encouraged me to apply for roles I wasn’t qualified for but knew I could perform. Betting on myself led me to leave a company I worked for almost six years to become a full-time writer. Taking risks is the sole reason I have obtained the success I have and continue to challenge myself. Read more>>

Art Shrian | Writer, Director, Actor & Filmmaker

I had a very successful corporate career, working in IT Consulting. Not only I was very good at my job, I liked it too. But there came a time, a few years ago, where I had to decide that do I want to do something that I like and it’s easy for me, or something that I love even though it may be hard. I decided on later. I decided to build a new career, in the entertainment industry. I have always loved acting, writing, and directing, and it was something I had always wanted to pursue. So I finally took a plunge into it. as an actor, writer, director, and filmmaker. I have never been happier or more excited. Another important thing is planning and putting the work. Taking blind risks, without any thought and preparation is futile. Most people don’t get lucky. But what is luck? Luck is ‘when opportunity meets readiness’. Read more>>

M. Neko Parham | Writer, Producer & Director

When it comes to risks, I’m a huge advocate of the adage: “Great Risks” equal “Great Rewards”. Of course that requires a heavy side-dish of wisdom to go along with it. For me, one of the greatest risk I took was when I decided to leave Los Angeles and relocate to Atlanta. I didn’t have many connections in ATL on the business side of the things. However, it was my birthplace. So, I figured that’s got to mean something. And it has. Tremendously. Fast forward 10 years later, after great success in the acting world and building one of ATLs most prosperous acting studios for youth, (TeamGreatness ATL), I found myself at the crossroads of yet another monumental risk. And yes I took it! I stopped acting cold turkey to spend two full years writing a TV series with my best friend from college, Christopher Jackson, of the uber famous “HAMILTON” creation. Read more>>

Susan | Executive Director

I’ve always been a risk taker. Most of my jobs have been jobs that I have created, either within an organization, or on my own. I have an extremely varied professional background – military service, health club management, marketing, accounting, consulting and business ownership – and the skills that I acquired in those endeavors have all played a part of my role as Executive Director of Canine CellMates. Read more>>

Tammy Noel | Creative Director & Entrepreneur

To be very honest: I am NOT a risk taker. I calculate all the pros and cons before making a business decision. I dive deep into research and may take too long making decisions. I’ve definitely missed out on some golden opportunities by taking too long to make decision. However, being this way prevents risky decisions and careless mistakes. So, I take the good with the bad. Starting TableMade in general was a risk but after a lot of research I’m glad I took that leap. Moving forward, I’d love to be less risk-averse and follow my gut more. Read more>>

Kimberly Slaikeu, PhD | Owner & Founder

This may not be a popular opinion, but I really feel like risk is the step-sister or black sheep of the family that gets a bad rap. Truth be told, we take risks every day that we are breathing , so to live a life of risk avoidance is literally impossible. When we choose to love someone it’s risky. Becoming a parent? Risky. Deciding to work for someone else other than yourself? Still risky. There is no area of life where we can make choices and risk not show up. I think from the entrepreneurial standpoint, the impact just looks, and feels, bigger. There needs to be a narrative shift around risk to minimize the Boogie Monster effects we often allow it to play in our lives. As an entrepreneur, I’m becoming more comfortable with changing my own mindset around risk(s)—this has not always been easy. It is a muscle that needs to be conditioned. Read more>>

Brandy Nagel | Entrepreneur Educator & Faculty Researcher

I have taken many small risks – or what felt like small risks to me – and very few big risks. Once I know what the risks are, and I make my decision, and then I don’t worry about the risk. I minimize risk by taking small steps at first, and educate myself about the possible outcomes. Worry is not productive after the decision is made. Read more>>

Kendal S. Turner | Author, Master Storyteller & Motivational Speaker

I believe in order for anyone to be successful in whatever craft or career they are pursuing, they must be able to think outside of the box, be willing to be uncomfortable and not afraid to take risk. I have always been a risk taker. The biggest risk I took was moving to Atlanta after being laid off from my job of 12 years. I moved to a place where I didn’t know anyone and made a name for myself performing poetry on many stages. Read more>>

Hannah Guest | Owner & Lead Designer

In moderation, risk can push you out of your “safety zone”, but there is a fine line of accepting some risk and taking on too much. Not going to lie, I struggle with that line in my business all the time. So far though, every time I’ve leaped, it’s made PIVOTAL moments in my business that I will never take for granted. With any business owner, a certain level of risk is taken on with each client, with each employee, with each recommendation of another business and so on. At some point you get used to these mundane-level risks, but the bigger ones are where the true danger or success lies, whichever way you look at it, you know how the saying goes “half full” or “half empty”. For example, last year I took the leap in a lease for a storefront. I was already paying so much in storage for all of my items and well, doing florals in your home isn’t quite conducive to a marriage. Read more>>

Taji White | Financial Strategist

I believe that taking risks are necessary. With out risk there is no innovation. Taking risks in some cases help to distinguish the leaders from others. Yet, when your put in a position to take a major risk, it’s important to make sure it’s calculated and that you have a contingency plan. I can recall several times in my career that I had to step out on faith and make a risky decision. Leaving my corporate job to focus fully on my Financial Firm, and other businesses was probably one of the riskiest decisions I’ve made in my life and I’m glad I did it. Read more>>

Timothy Richardson | Filmmaker & Cinematographer

Taking risk has been the foundation to my journey I would say. That feeling of fearing what could come from a big decision eventually transformed into confirmation that I was headed the right way. Starting Untraditional Films during a pandemic I would say is one of the biggest risk I’ve taken to date and also the most liberating one. Everyday I try to challenge myself to take risk creatively to keep discovering the layers I possess as an artist. Read more>>

Erbriyon Barrett | Artist, Photographer & Creative

I see risk as unanswered opportunity especially with what I do your always gonna be in a position where you have to risk something in hopes of a positive outcome most of that is investing in yourself financially when you have that last dollar….. I had invest a good amount of my savings to hold my own show for my second year of art basel renting out a space and a wall to have my own mural not knowing the outcome I didn’t really wanna live with that what if mindset if I never went through with it but I’m glad I did good or bad I love investing in myself to build my confidence in what it do Read more>>

Donovan Corneetz | Voice Actor

I think risk is a necessity for reaching success. Risk sets you apart from the talkers and lazy people. Risk shows that you’re willing to take chances on yourself and to have the confidence to believe it will work in your favor. I’ve had to take many risks in my career, in order to reach where I am today. Starting a career in entertainment, while living in NC (not a media powerhouse by any means) meant that I was going to have to go out and create opportunities in places that were fertile ground. Early in my career, I had to take trips to conferences, networking events, and other similar things, so that I could be around decision-makers that I didn’t have access to at home. Read more>>

Main Event | Rapper & Songwriter

Risk taking is a must! In life, in your career and just with everything you do you have to take risks. You have to think outside the box and do whatever it takes to accomplish your goals. You can’t be timid when it comes to pursuing you dreams. I think understanding that some risks may come with failure is key but also knowing that failure really isn’t failure until you completely quit and give up. Read more>>

Alesia White | Domestic Survivors Advocate

When it comes to risk for me it means to step out of my comfort zone knowing what things or people that I would have to leave behind. The role that it has played in my life was a good one but also tuff because I had to do and say some things that were deep within my soul. I had to tell some things that people said you better not say anything this is just between us if you tell something bad would happen. It was the biggest risk that I had to take but I vowed that this type of thing should not happen to anyone in my family or anyone else. Read more>>

Natasha Lynn | Salon Boss Entrepreneur

I believe everyone is a natural born risk taker. It’s just that through childhood we are programmed to be safe. Risk taking has played a huge role in every area of my life. I definitely would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for my adventurous leaps. I took risks like getting married at 19, starting my own business at 20, moving from one part of the U.S. to the other, starting a new life with a family of 6 from scratch, and recently changing career paths in the midst of a pandemic. Taking these kind of leaps of faith has opened many of opportunities for myself and my family. Read more>>