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

Angela Watts | Founder & Creative Director

To be an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to take risks. If you do not embrace risk-taking, you should rethink business ownership. For me personally, I began taking risks immediately when I made the decision to pivot from my role in corporate America to launching a communications agency specializing in entertainment and lifestyle. I knew at that moment, I was responsible for my income and my responsibilities immediately increased 300%. No longer did I have a manager to answer to or a team to collaborate with. That one, yet life-changing decision has prepared me to carefully plan “strategic” moves that are intentionally aligned with my goals. Read more>>

Meredith Eble | Boutiques Owner, Fab’rik East Cobb and Fab’rik Avalon. Wife, Mom of Two Littles (3.5 and 1 Years Old)

One of my all time favorite sayings that seems to pop up when I’m feeling doubt or weakness is, ‘”It’s Impossible,” said pride. “It’s risky,” said experience. “It’s pointless,” said reason. “Give it a try,” whispered the heart.” – With this I find that I always try to follow my heart, without risk, there is no reward. Are there days that I fear failure and are there days that I feel that the world in crumbling around me? YES, especially while trying to navigate a small business during a worldwide pandemic, but no one can do it alone. Build a community and a team that are willing to take these risks with you. Find those that lift you up and keep you encouraged on the hardest of days and celebrate with you during the smallest and biggest victories!! Risk is scary, but to me not taking the risk is even scarier. As a mom and a mentor to young women I want to teach those around me to be brave, take the risk, work hard and when it gets tough, hustle harder. Read more>>

Amanda Haynes | Event Planner & Sweet Creations

You will never see or know your FULL potential until you seek it. Take the risk! Because if you don’t you’ll never know what could have come from it. I took the risk one day on a last minute event, I remember it like it was yesterday. I took the risk, but failed in so many ways. I remember driving home in disbelief BUT I was very thankful. In that very moment I was wiser & knew how to move forward. I had learned so much in what some may consider a disaster. Taking a risk has showed me that it’s okay to try. Even when your scared & if it didn’t work out the way you imagined at least it was a learning & growing opportunity. I recently took a risk in making treats. Had now idea what I was doing, but woke up one day and was like, ” I am going to try something knew “. Taking the risk in something knew helped my business stay afloat during a pandemic & during my slowest months of event planning. Read more>>

Philippe Pellerin | Real Estate Developer

Risk is a necessary consideration in life. Human instinct is intrinsically tied to how people perceive and interact with the world. Often, ones success or failure is based on their judgment and management of that risk. Taking and managing risk is an especially central consideration in Real Estate Development. Every day I make investment decisions that will play out over 2-10+ years. In my personal life, risk can be a stressful part of parenting (like hiking with my kids and freaking out about the potential for an accident) or part of a very rewarding experience, as is the case in Wheel to Wheel Racing. Most people who know me would probably suggest I am not risk averse; but that is not the whole story. I do not blindly take risk; either personally or professionally. I accept that risk exists, I analyze it from every angle and then I do everything I can to mitigate the risk Read more>>

Andres Lopez | Atlanta Wedding Photographer & Videographer

I believe risks are necessary for any type of growth. Whether it is personal (physical/mental growth) or business growth. Without risks, there is no growth – but you probably already know that. A lot of the time, risks are surrounded with fear (that’s why they’re so damn uncomfortable!) As humans, we fear the unknown, and oftentimes, we fabricate situations in our heads. We fear that “worst-case scenario”. We’ll imagine a situation in which we fail and we’ll have that situation stuck on repeat in our minds. But oftentimes, that “worst-case scenario” isn’t as bad as we make it seem. And most of the time, those situations don’t even play out! So, stop living your life in your head. I took a pretty rewarding risk about 2 years ago. I remember looking at my bank account and seeing the last $400 I had. Read more>>

Ashlee White | Artist & Entrepreneur

“Risks” have honestly been the center of my career. Any new idea comes with it, there’s always a chance that things will not fall through the way you’ve imagined. The key is to embrace risks in creative spaces. It provides you a freedom and it allows you room to love all the sides of your own creative spectrum. Risks are what makes great things, great. I personally took a huge risk in my transition into the musical world. I left a full ride scholarship to pursue music solely. It taught me things I wouldn’t have learned from an institution. It taught me to bet on myself, to take the time to learn my desires and it gave me time to fall and learn how to get back up again. My risks made me resilient. Read more>>

Candace Doby | Speaker, Author and Courage Coach

I’ve taken some pretty big risks over the years. I quit a successful, 16-year marketing career to start my own business helping young leaders activate their courage in school, work, and beyond. I wrote and self-published a book (which will be re-released by national publisher Sourcebooks in 2022). I launched the greeting card and gift company Pep Talker. I’ve traveled around the world, mostly solo, as a Black woman. I even tried out for the Carolina Panthers TopCats dance team without having formal dance experience. (I made it to the final round). My work on courage has taught me that taking risks, small and large, is critical for the person who wants to fully realize their potential. You won’t always win, but you will always grow. Read more>>

Mobs Robertson | Content Creator & Managing Editor at Butter.ATL

Risk-taking is probably the biggest consistent factor that’s shaped my career. To be clear, I never chose a degree or graduated with a master plan for my work – I pretty much rode the waves that came to me. (Not to mention the waves I tried to surf but couldn’t quite catch.) In college, I was an advertising major (influenced by a season of Mad Men) and had started art classes to fill extra time in my schedule. I’d just decided to downgrade my art courseload from a major to a minor and continue just as an advertising major for financial, time management, and stress management reasons. At UGA, you have to apply to get into the art school (which I’d already done) and then apply to a focus area from there. I’d applied to photography and gotten accepted, and I was finishing up the graphic design class whose final served as the application for interested students. Read more>>

W. James Moore | Attorney

You’ve probably heard the term “calculated risk”. There is no such thing as a calculated risk. When you are 31 years old, expecting your first child and you leave your good government job to pursue starting your own law firm, nothing is calculated. Most people think that risk takers are without fear. No. Risk takers move regardless of fear or apprehension. My law partner, Marc D. Hawthorne and I set out nearly 30 years ago in the face of uncertainty to build a law practice. We had no money. We had no blue print for establishing a law practice. Nor did we have any clients. We had a dream. We were motivated, not only by the desire to succeed, but also by the risk of failure. Today, our law practice is one of the longest tenured African American owned law firms in the state. With great risks come great rewards. Read more>>

Emma Kaufman | Life & Leadership Coach

Say it with me: WE LOVE RISKS!! Taking risks is such a key factor in your future success, whether you own a business or are paving your way in corporate. It’s funny how the one thing you aren’t necessarily taught in school has the power to completely TRANSFORM your life! The way I like to think about risks is: your entire life is one big experiment, so if you aren’t exploring, leading with curiosity or TAKING RISKS, then what EXACTLY are you doing?! While our society may try to paint a certain “pathway” to achieve stability and success, there’s actually no “right” or “wrong” way to do things, only YOUR way. Think of taking risks as allowing yourself to sit with uncomfortable emotions & get to the root of what you REALLY want in life. The reason why risks feel so scary is because you are forced to step BEYOND what you currently believe is possible for yourself. Read more>>

Rebecca Brizi | Management Consultant

Risk is a natural part of life. Absorbing this realization was a liberating moment for me. I’ll start with the idea that risk is subjective. At 18 I left my family in Switzerland to come to the United States for college. I had spent plenty of holidays in the U.S., and this had been my plan all along. It didn’t feel like risk, just part of the plan. To some of my friends it seemed like a huge decision. It is all about our own habits and decision making patterns. One of my earliest lessons about risk in business was this refrain of “Starting your own business is so risky”. I started working in a startup after the dot.com boom but still in early days of startups. It struck me that the risk of entrepreneurship vs employment was different, but not less or more. As an employee, one is at risk of upsetting the wrong person, losing their one single client (their employer). Read more>>

Jasmine Felton | Content Creator & Podcast Host

Risks are something that you have to take when running a business. One of two things are going to happen; you’re either going to win or lose. If you win, great! If you lose, apply what you learned and try again. To be truthfully honest, some of my greatest accomplishments have came from me just taking a chance!. Read more>>

Erin Hassan | Owner of Hemlock Salon & Apothecary

I’d have to say I always look at risk without fear. Looking at pros and cons, but above all I tend to have the ‘go for it’ attitude mainly because I’m willing to work and learn. Ever since I was young, If I was interested I was willing to read and learn everything about it. I have found throughout my life it has worked out well taking risks weather it be military since I couldn’t go to college, moving across the US with no money, having kids, opening a wellness salon. Always a learning experience and ever changing but that’s what I enjoy most about life. Read more>>

Joshua Wade | Entrepreneur, Actor, Author

I think risk-taking is very important while pursuing your life and career. Each day is not promised and it can feel like taking risks are a scary part of life, especially while pursuing a career in entrepreneurship, but you will never know how far you can go if you don’t. While pursuing a career in entertainment it is necessary for me to steps outside of my comfort zone to move forward. I do my very best to calculate my risk as much as possible but in the end, I have to trust my heart and learn to live with all of my decisions. Whether they end up being the best decision or not. Risk-taking has played a huge role in my entrepreneurial journey because without it, I have learned it is very easy to become stagnant. You feel like you are moving forward but in theory when you are shuffling from left to right. I believe everyone in life is a risk-taker. Regarding business, some of us take bigger risks than others but in the end, whether you took a risk to stay or to move forward we all have to live with the decisions we make. Read more>>

Emondre Johnson | Photographer/Videograper

Taking risks plays a huge role in my life. I think taking risk is needed in most cases when it comes to you chasing your dreams. For me, I’d rather not have that “what if I did it” thought after not taking the risk. Read more>>

Alexia “Lexy” Ford | Professional Organizer, Packer, Unpacker & Cleaner

I come from a family that is very fearful of taking risks. To add to it, I’m a Virgo, a perfectionist, and a planner so risk taking was something I always feared until a friend stated I was scared of everything. That stung because I realized he was oh so right. From that day on, I vowed to conquer new things and to not allow fear to hold me back or stop me from living. I have since quit my corporate high paying job with amazing benefits and my second job of 15 years to launch Passion Organizing. I honestly felt paralyzed with fear. Despite being the scariest decision, it was one of the best I’ve ever made for my life and my happiness. I moved from Ohio to Georgia with only about 3 months’ worth of savings and have managed to do way more than survive for almost a year. I’ve stated since my arrival that I have no regrets. I am the happiest I’ve ever been thanks to taking those risks that I so feared. All in all, risk taking has inherently negative connotations that we all should try to overcome. Read more>>

Marcia Washington | Entrepreneur & Owner of MyNovaJ

I believe that anything that I’ve ever truly wanted in life required taking a risk. It’s a part of the process of life and I refuse to sit on the sidelines because I’m too scared to take a chance. I’ve found that the word “risk” tends to have a heavy or negative feeling attached to it, as if it’s a bad thing. When I think back on my life I’ve taken many risks. Risks with jobs, relationships, investments, etc. Starting my business was a risk and here I am, still alive and happy that I did it. That’s the thing about taking risks, it may not work out exactly how I expected but I always found myself in a much better space than where I initially started. Entrepreneurship is all about risk taking. Many may look at it as possibly resulting in a potential loss, but I believe there is always something gained regardless of whether the desired success was accomplished. Taking the risk is just the first step but it’s really about the journey. Read more>>

Abria Green | Wine Educator/Consultant

I believe taking risk is important. It has played a huge role in my career today. When I first started, I didn’t know anyone personally who was a wine educator and consultant, today I have gained mentors and friends in the industry. I have been blessed with so many opportunities because people took a chance on me. I believe taking risk can uncover so many things about you that you didn’t even know. Read more>>

Dejalyn Armour | Recording Artist , Writer , Event Planner

Risk taking is a necessity when dealing with the arts ! There has been so many times I’ve doubted myself ,my next moves in life , & my art. You have to be able to go out on a limb for yourself , explore & expand. I honestly feel like risk taking is about stepping outside your box, but remaining in a solid structure ! This technique, I feel, will always keep me versatile and universal.. timeless. Read more>>

Toni Rogers | Teacherpreneur

I have been in education for 14 years and unfortunately there is no such thing as bonuses, commission and yearly raises in education. If you want to make more money, as a teacher, you either have to coach a sport, sponsor a club or create more debt by earning another a degree. Around year 12, I started getting the feeling of needing more out of my life than just being a teacher and just being a mom/momager. So, it became clear that in order for me to evolve and claim my “more;” I had to create my own way. Now, let me be as transparent as possible, I didn’t act on this feeling immediately. I mean this required me to step completely out of my comfort zone and bet on myself; and I was not trying to do either of those things. But the word “more” kept getting thrown at me from all angles; church, family, friends, people I had just met (I know that was God!) even my students, until it was all I could think about. Read more>>

Daija Bastian | Founder of RawPwrr

I believe risk are meant to be taken, without risk there is no reward. Taking risk has played a major part in my personal development and the growth of my company. If I wouldn’t have taken the risk of quitting my job back in July, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. Read more>>

Eugenia Lartey-Attigah, LPC | Author & Licensed

I would say risk taking was the essential force towards me starting my career. In 2009, I kept having this desire to go back to school. This feeling would not leave me alone. I was working two part time retail jobs and I was struggling financially, emotionally, and physically. However, I heard God’s audible voice say “ Quit your jobs and go to school “. My whole life all I have known is working. I had to take a risk and fully trust God’s plan and his provision concerning my destiny. In this present moment, I am grateful that I did not allow fear to rob me of my career and purpose. Read more>>

JO GIPSON | Realtor, Associate Broker

Risk taking is simply decision making. Many years ago, I left a lucrative, comfortable corporate job to start my first business. It required that I leverage every asset I owned which meant I was risking every dollar I’d ever saved. On the surface that sounds risky, but I had the encouragement of those closest to me. I researched every “what if” I could imagine and relied on a small pool of people who had successfully started business before me. I knew my family wouldn’t let me go homeless (and believe me, that’s a big safety net). I worried and spent too many nights sleepless, and then, I signed the bank loan and signed on all of the responsibility.Then… nothing bad happened. The business succeeded through ups and downs. I have now had three businesses under my belt and the biggest lesson regarding risk is, “What looks like a giant precipice in front of you that requires a huge leap of faith, is really a small step – just a step in the right direction. Read more>>

Jordan Alexa | Creative Writing Editor & Developer | Content Creator

As someone who is a planner by nature, hearing the words “risk-taking” is much like being cursed out for me. However, I had to realize that no one has ever gotten anywhere they desired to be without taking any risks. A lot of times, people play it safe because of fear of the unknown that comes with taking a risk. But I had to realize that whether I choose to stay comfortable or take a leap of faith, I’m risking something regardless. Either I go full speed into building a vision and risk the stability of the life I’ve known, or I can remain complacent and risk the life I’ve always dreamed about. The act of taking risks has shown up in my life and career recently, and it’s the most I’ve ever done. This year I decided to finally start my own creative writing editing & development business, and it’s one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I can tell you that no amount of schooling, masterclasses, degrees, nor experience can prepare you for the leap of putting yourself out there and starting your own business. Read more>>

Scotty “SB” Bollinger | Vehicle Wrap & Branding Specialist

Risk is something that is, in my opinion, something that is absolutely necessary in both business and creative growth. Without it, you will find yourself getting complacent and stagnant in your journey. Risk has always been something that I have been comfortable with taking both in my professional and personal life. It is an opportunity to push beyond what you originally thought was possible. When taking any risk, you have two outcomes; you either succeed and move forward or you don’t quite hit the mark you were shooting for and can learn from the experience to be able to recalculate and try again. Read more>>

Averri Simone | CEO, Black Women Moguls & Brand Strategist

I find this question very ironic because my life and business have been defined by taking risks. I thrive on growing and evolving to improve my mindset and expertise. And a lot of that growth had to do with investing in myself with the proper tools, classes and making sure that I was in the right place at the right time. Yes, I got scared; sometimes, I still do. Many times, I did not have the resources I needed to accomplish my goals. But, I had two choices. I could either wait on perfect conditions and delay my purpose. Or figure it out and take a risk. My decision? I decided to bet on myself. Often, we wait on everything to be perfect, but there is no such thing as the ideal time to start. I told myself if you’re not willing to bet on you, how do you expect someone else to do the same for you? Therefore, I made sure that I did whatever it took to get to where I wanted to be. Read more>>

Lisa Landry | Owner of Award Winning Lifestyle Store, Living & Giving

I think risk taking is essential for any self employed business owner. If your’e hoping to be successful you have to be prepared for the risks and challenges that come with it. The whole idea of making decisions that can change your destiny forever is scary. I put my career, personal finances and even my mental health at risk when I started back in the retail business 15 years ago. Sacraficing my own personal capital , trusting employees and spending countless unpaid hours working to build a successful business is an enourmous risk for anyone. Owning your own business is a massive lifestyle change and it can be frightfully draining . It’s difficult to maintain a work/life balance and most of us don’t begin to consider the mental and physical toll that comes along with the risk/reward factors of owning a business. I never consider risk without reward. Read more>>

Dorian Morgan | Kennesaw,GA

Risk Taking so this plays a big part on how I moved from Kennesaw ,GA to Los Angeles ,CA. so I was on probation over some weed in CLAYTON COUNTY idk why I was even over there. Basically everything wasnt working out car situation probation being an hr away and both parents kicked me out. the day/night my Dad kicked me out I called my uber to work that morning 5am he lives in alpharetta ga and I Worked at the Atlanta Cheese cake company in Kennesaw,GA. when i left his house All I had was my one bag he gave me to put my stuff in in my I was like damn i might have to sleep on the street tonight but i knew 1 person this girl Vanna Bandz that fucks with fauni and 3400 so I asked her to ask her mom could I stay for 1 week before I left for LA because I was over everything she said yes thankfully and my last work check all together I had $780 I spent $200 on a 1 way to LA and I had $580 left to my name. Read more>>

Taylor Nicole | Lifestyle Influencer & Digital Marketing Specialist

I think about risk more of an opportunity you haven’t taken yet with an unsure outcome. The word “risk” makes it sound a lot scarier than it should. Taking risks has been a positive role in my life. Of course, every now and then the outcome isn’t what you want but the majority of risks I’ve taken haven been for the best. Read more>>

Anzlie | Artist

Don’t settle for ‘the way things are’ if you don’t want a conventional lifestyle. I could never be someone with a meaningless 9 to 5 who hates their job just because they think that’s the way things have to be. Without taking risks I would live an unfulfilled life of fear and wasted potential. You may fail, but you may succeed, and you would’ve never known and learned without taking risks. Read more>>

Bianca M. Forde | Former Federal Prosecutor | Global Ethics & Compliance Executive | Author | Advocate | Activist

The three biggest moments of my career have been defined by risk. In 2010, as a junior associate, my corporate law employer asked that I leave New York City and move to Dubai, UAE—7000 miles away—to serve a client. I said yes. In 2015, I received an offer to join the ranks of federal prosecution—an offer that required me to enter yet another unfamiliar space, and to leave the perks of my law firm practice behind. I said yes. In 2021, the Universe gifted me with a vision—not just any vision; one that could transform criminal justice, but not without highlighting one of the most painful periods of my life. Again, I said yes. In each instance, I challenged myself to take the risk; to choose the unknown over the familiar, and to abandon playing it safe. I did so, despite my fear, anxiety, and trepidation, because playing it safe has never appealed to me. “Safe” has never cured disease, birthed innovation, nor disrupted the status quo; and playing it safe does not create a legacy. Read more>>

N. Faulkner | Model, Entrepreneur, and Creative

I look at risk taking as stepping out on faith and walking right into the unknown. While this unknown may be scary it is better than being stuck in the norm and that itself is boring as hell. For someone who doesn’t see themselves as fearless, it humbles me to say that my entire life and career up until this point was built on taking risk. It’s hard not question ones decision in or after the risk was taken, but when you don’t take risk you hold yourself back from something that could be an incredible success or a valuable lesson. Taking risk has helped me live more authentically and it has given me courage to face anything that comes my way good or bad. It’s shaped me into the woman I am today. Read more>>

Jermaine Greaves | Event Planner Actor and Activist

I would say that taking risk has bought out the best in me in my career as an event planner actor and a disablity rights activist. In Taking risk, you learn how to make moves that benefit you in the long run. In taking risk creatively I learn what kind of things I can do with my ability and skillset and how those skills can overall benefit me In the long run. I started event planning In 2009 as the only event planning in nyc i has to throw events to prove i was just as good as other event planners i work in afropunk and the Brooklyn music festival to gain experience and I plan different parties and events throughout nyc and the 5 boroughs. As a professional actor my start in acting has to be school plays in elementary and middle school were I would sing or dance I was usually the only one in a wheelchair performing and on stage. Read more>>

Emily Pearse | Actor and Storyteller

Risk taking is something that is hard to avoid for anyone who chooses to follow their dream. It is often the reason that so many choose not to, ultimately. The risk or fear of failing is too great for some to justify the gamble. What I have come to realize is that risk taking is an unavoidable part of the human experience. It is at every turn, big and small. That means that we risk failure when we pursue anything and everything. Career, love, adventure – there are countless ways we take risks every day. Looking at it this way – if we can fail doing something we DON’T love, why wouldn’t you risk failing in pursuit of something that you DO love? Why wouldn’t you follow your heart and pursue that dream career or dream life? I think some people were of the opinion that “putting all my eggs in one basket” by getting my initial degree in theater performance was unwise. Read more>>

Brandon Smallwood | Music producer/Business Owner

I learned early that risk were part of life and you had a choice to either be brave and take the risk or not depending on what the situation was later on as I got older I learned that if it feels right take the risk because it’s usually the right thing to do so I decided to take a risk on myself I made it my goal to become an official artist that had music on all streaming services I was going to do the independent route and I was going to do it on my own everything I did from finding a distribution company to getting my artist name certified was walking into unknown territory for me every step was a risk especially when it came to put in my own money behind my ideas and this year when I file my taxes I paid in officially as a business for the first time while paying taxes aren’t fun I did it with a smile on my face. Read more>>

Trish Brown | Stylist and Creative Director

I personally view risk as a necessity when it comes to life in general. I love taking calculated risks because I’ve always been a very methodical person. Although, I am a creative I am still extremely analytical. I’ve never been someone who just dreams without formulating a plan to attack the goals I’ve been dreaming about. To me, risk is the only way to grow. Staying in your comfort zone may be comfortable, but it is unlikely to help you grow and I cannot stand being stagnant. I always use risk to push me and each time I go outside of m comfort zone, it gets easier and easier to take the next risk with less fear. Everyone has fears, its just a matter of if you’re going to let those fears stop you, or will you use them to push you?. Read more>>

Stacy Davis | Realtor

I don’t stand at the end of a diving board with my eyes closed and jump into the swimming pool. I first make sure there’s water; then if I look like a fool on the diving board, at least I know I’ll eventually be cradled and the only harm will be to my ego. That type of calculated risk is the risk I took when I left a nice salary, cushy office, and great benefits to sell real estate full time about 6 years ago. Up to that point, I’d spent about 6 years selling real estate part-time while I was also a health care lawyer. Some of my friends and family understood that I could only show houses on the weekends or evenings, but as the real estate market bounced back and clients wanted to see houses faster, I knew I either needed to get out of the game completely and refer these clients to full-time agents, or I needed to become a full-time agent myself. The risk of leaving a great job, standing on the metaphorical diving board with your eyes closed, unsure if there’s water in the pool to cradle you when you jump – is indeed scary. Read more>>

Ka’rrē | Artist/Creator

I think risk is such a vital part of your life and career but, can also be detrimental. It all comes down to trusting yourself and having a genuine connection with yourself and God. If your just out here taking risks for looks (attention) and doing it because others are telling you too is not good risks. You have follow your own path, listen to your inner voice, and trust it. And that has made a serious impact on my career and life. Read more>>